News and Updates

State urges judge to deny Troy Davis claim

Troy Davis
By: Jan Skutch
Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lawyers for convicted murderer Troy Anthony Davis made "a strategic decision" not to call two witnesses at last month's federal court hearing and should not be allowed to use their choice to re-open the evidence, attorneys for the state argued Wednesday.

Davis' attorneys have worked for 15 years to gather evidence to prove his innocence and had plenty of time during two days of testimony before U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. to present their case, the state contends in its 13-page filing.

"They chose only to call 'the most important witnesses,'" attorneys with the Georgia Attorney General's office argued. "(Davis) still seeks to claim that he has not been afforded his day in court."

Burge's pension intact until November

Pension board says it can't consider stopping monthly payments until then

By: Becky Schlikerman, Tribune reporter
Chicago Tribune
Thursday, July 29, 2010

Former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge will continue to collect his pension until at least November, despite being found guilty of perjury last month for lying about alleged torture in a civil lawsuit, officials with the police pension board said Thursday.

The board's regular monthly meeting drew more than a dozen people, including victims of alleged police abuse who are not happy that Burge is still drawing $3,768 a month for his years on the force.

"It's a black eye to the taxpayers," said Mark Clements, an alleged victim of Burge's officers who was released from prison in 2009 after 28 years behind bars.

David Kugler, an attorney for the board, said nothing can be done about Burge's pension until he is sentenced on Nov. 5.

Standing with Mumia Abu-Jamal

Thursday, July 29, 2010

**please forward widely— and sign on to the growing list of supporters!

Standing With Mumia

Save Frederick Bell, Mississippi death row prisoner

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Frederick Bell Mississippi death row.

Hi all,

I have received some very distressing e-mails from the sister of Frederick and the mom of his children. Both are pleading for the outside world to help save Frederick. Both family members are, as you would imagine, frantic with worry.

At the moment, Frederick's Lawyers have until August the 26th the file a writ of certiorari. His lawyers plans to file this writ, around a week early, to ensure it is with the court by the 26th. Should this writ be denied then the court is liable to issue an execution date. The chances are the date would be around early to mid November.

EMAJ Statement on the "Secret Memo" and U.S. Abolitionist Movements

Monday, July 26, 2010

The group Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal (EMAJ) has released the following statement in opposition to the "secret memo" by a few leading U.S. abolitionists seeking to distance the anti-death penalty movement from Mumia's case. EMAJ convincingly argues why Mumia's case should be a part of efforts to abolish the death penalty.

Hiding From the Death Penalty

By: Craig Haney
The Huffington Post
Monday, July 26, 2010

Last month, Utah prison officials took a death row prisoner named Ronnie Gardner to a specially designed room, strapped him tightly into a chair, and draped a black hood over his head. By a prearranged signal, a group of five volunteer executioners aimed their Winchester rifles at a target placed over his heart, and opened fire.

Study finds victim's race can skew death sentences in N.C.

By: Anne Blythe
The (Raleigh) News & Observer
Friday, July 23, 2010

Someone accused of killing a white person in North Carolina is nearly three times as likely to get the death penalty than someone accused of killing a black person, according to a study released Thursday by two researchers who looked at death sentences over a 28-year period.

The findings come as many in North Carolina are focusing on the death penalty and race. Death-row inmates have only a few more weeks to file challenges to their sentences under the Racial Justice Act approved by the legislature last year.

Poll finds strong California support for death penalty
Thursday, July 22, 2010

SACRAMENTO — A new poll finds that 70 percent of Californians favor the death penalty.

The Field Poll released today shows support for executions has increased after a slight dip over the last decade.

Support is still lower than in the mid-1980s, when the death penalty was favored by as much as 83 percent of voters.

Executions resumed in California in 1977 after they were halted by the U.S. Supreme Court. There have been no executions in California since 2006 because of legal challenges to the lethal-injection procedures.

More than 700 inmates remain on death row.

The telephone survey of 1,390 registered voters was conducted June 22 to July 5. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

Alleged torture victim sues Daley, Burge

Federal lawsuit contends Michael Tillman was tortured during a 1986 Chicago police interrogation and coerced confession

Credit: Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune / July 22, 2010
Michael Tillman becomes emotional listening to his daughter Eboni Williams recall how she underwent years of surgery and therapy for cerebral palsy while her father was in prison. Tillman was freed in January after spending more than 23 years in prison after being coerced into confessing to a 1986 rape and murder.
By: Matthew Walberg, Tribune reporter
Chicago Tribune
Thursday, July 22, 2010

Exactly 24 years ago Thursday, Michael Tillman says, he was beaten, burned, smothered and threatened with death in a police interview room as Calumet Area detectives working for then-Chicago Police Lt. Jon Burge tried to coerce him to confess to the rape and murder of a South Side woman.

Tillman's eyes welled with tears as he sat with his daughter and sister while his attorneys announced the filing of a federal lawsuit against Burge, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and other Chicago police detectives alleging that they conspired to cover up the torture and abuse of Tillman and others.

Crime and punishment in America: Rough justice

America locks up too many people, some for acts that should not even be criminal

The Economist
Thursday, July 22, 2010

IN 2000 four Americans were charged with importing lobster tails in plastic bags rather than cardboard boxes, in violation of a Honduran regulation that Honduras no longer enforces. They had fallen foul of the Lacey Act, which bars Americans from breaking foreign rules when hunting or fishing. The original intent was to prevent Americans from, say, poaching elephants in Kenya. But it has been interpreted to mean that they must abide by every footling wildlife regulation on Earth. The lobstermen had no idea they were breaking the law. Yet three of them got eight years apiece. Two are still in jail.