U.S. Death Penalty

New Film Highlights the Gross Injustices of the West Memphis Three Case

New Film Highlights the Gross Injustices of the West Memphis Three Case

By Anna Arceneaux, Staff Attorney, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 3:44pm
In June 1993, Damien Echols, 18, Jason Baldwin, 16, and Jessie Misskelley, 17, who would come to be known as the “West Memphis Three,” were wrongfully arrested for the murders of three young boys in the small Arkansas town of West Memphis, just across the Tennessee border.
Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

Breaking the Addiction to Incarceration: Weekly Highlights

By Alex Stamm, ACLU Center for Justice at 10:43am

Today, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. With over 2.3 million men and women living behind bars, our imprisonment rate is the highest it’s ever been in U.S. history. And yet, our criminal justice system…

A Tale of Three States: Executing the Mentally Disabled

A Tale of Three States: Executing the Mentally Disabled

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 3:54pm

Georgia: On Monday, the State of Georgia stands ready to strap Warren Hill to a gurney, place IV lines in his arms, and pump his body with poison until he dies.  Warren Hill has an IQ of 70, and is intellectually disabled (mentally retarded).…

Ohio Governor John Kasich Stops Second Consecutive Execution

Ohio Governor John Kasich Stops Second Consecutive Execution

By Mike Brickner, ACLU of Ohio at 4:44pm

In the second time in as many months, Governor John Kasich has intervened to stop an execution. Today, he commuted John Jeffrey Eley’s sentence to life without the possibility of parole. Eley was scheduled to be executed on July 26.

Feds Should Stop Forcing Death Penalty on Rhode Island

Feds Should Stop Forcing Death Penalty on Rhode Island

By Steven Brown, ACLU of Rhode Island at 4:18pm

A man named John Gordon was hanged by the state of Rhode Island in 1845. The concern about the fairness of his execution was so great that seven years later, Rhode Island became the second state in the country to abolish the death penalty. No person…

Shaking Off the Shackles of State-Sponsored Killing

Shaking Off the Shackles of State-Sponsored Killing

By Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 11:38am

Hooray for Maryland! Expressing concerns about the risk of deadly error, the exorbitant and ever-increasing cost, racial bias and the unending torment of murder victims' family members, today Maryland Governor, Martin O'Malley, signed into law repeal…

Court Rejects Attempts to Devalue Life of the Accused in South Texas Capital Case

Court Rejects Attempts to Devalue Life of the Accused in South Texas Capital Case

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:58am

"A life in Cameron County [Texas] is worth just the same as a life in other parts of the United States."

This pointed sentence came in Judge Elia Corenjo Lopez's 63-page order this week, in which she recommended that former death-row prisoner…

How Do I Explain to my Six Year-Old Son What Kind of a Society Plans to Execute an Intellectually Disabled Man? [UPDATED]

How Do I Explain to my Six Year-Old Son What Kind of a Society Plans to Execute an Intellectually Disabled Man? [UPDATED]

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 12:09pm

Breaking Update, 2:30pm, February 14th: State doctors reversed an earlier finding and officially declared today that Warren Hill has mild mental retardation, placing Mr. Hill in the category of citizens protected from capital punishment by the 2002…

Child Predators, Cheating Prosecutors and Terry Williams: How Pennsylvania Is Poised to Execute a Victim of Horrific Sexual Violence Despite the State’s Own Bad Acts

Child Predators, Cheating Prosecutors and Terry Williams: How Pennsylvania Is Poised to Execute a Victim of Horrific Sexual Violence Despite the State’s Own Bad Acts

By Tanya Greene, Advocacy and Policy Counsel, ACLU at 12:52pm

Here we go again – but, wait, this is Pennsylvania, not Texas or Florida, which have been known to execute individuals despite evidence supporting innocence and/or horrifying trauma histories and major mental health and intellectual deficits. …

Historic Racial Justice Act Faces Repeal

By Sarah Preston, ACLU of North Carolina at 12:02pm

This week, rather than acknowledge a growing mountain of evidence of racial bias in death penalty proceedings, especially in the selection of capital juries, the North Carolina House of Representatives chose to essentially gut the Racial Justice Act…

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