News and Updates

Botched Lethal Injection Executions Reignite Death Penalty Debate

Credit: AP
In 2014, there were four botched executions, including one at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla.
By: Wade Goodwyn
Tuesday, January 6, 2015

This past year, the number of inmates executed in America was the lowest in two decades at 35, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

US executes fewer prisoners, but deaths are more brutal: report

An increase in botched executions highlights a year that had a sharp drop of state-sanctioned deaths

Credit: Pat Sullivan/AP
By: Ed Pilkington
The Guardian
Thursday, December 18, 2014

When students of the US death penalty look back on the year 2014 they are likely to remember it as one of the most grotesque on record, punctuated by a series of botched executions in which prisoners writhed, gasped and groaned for lengthy periods on the gurney.

Texs Denies DNA Testing in Death Row Case of Rodney Reed

Credit: Jan Janner/American-Statesman
By: Jordan Smith
The Intercept
Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Texas judge on Tuesday ruled that no additional DNA testing is warranted in the case of condemned inmate Rodney Reed, sentenced to die for the 1996 murder of 19-year-old Stacey Stites.

Is Texas Getting Ready to Kill an Innocent Man?

Credit: Jana Birchum
Rodney Reed's parents
By: Jordan Smith
The Intercept
Thursday, November 20, 2014

On a late October night in 2007, 20-year-old Connie Lear was playing cards and drinking with friends at an apartment complex just outside Austin, Texas, when she caught her fiance playing footsie under the table with another woman. Lear stormed out; her fiance followed her to the parking lot, where they got into a shouting match. Neighbors called the police.

A hell-raiser against injustice

Credit: Noreen McNulty
Darby Tillis (right) with Gloria Johnson, the mother of pardoned former death row inmate Montell Johnson
By: Noreen McNulty
Socialist Worker
Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Darby Tillis defies an easy tribute. A dear friend, confidant and mentor to many. An activist and hell-raiser against injustice. A minister and street preacher, a friend to strangers. A father, brother, uncle, cousin, husband. A musician and mean harmonica player. A wisecracker, storyteller and word-crafter.

I worked for the Campaign to End the Death Penalty's national office in the early 2000s. I had met Darby a few years earlier, running the streets of Philadelphia to protest the death sentence and imprisonment of Mumia Abu-Jamal. While working for the CEDP, Darby was a frequent visitor to our office in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. As the office administrator, I worked side by side with Darby, and he became a mentor and friend.

On the passing of Darby Tillis - a true warrior for justice!

By: Campaign to End the Death Penalty
Monday, November 10, 2014

Good morning folks,

It is with sadness that we must tell you of the passing of Darby Tilllis - our friend and comrade in the struggle for abolition of the death penalty. Darby served on the board of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty for almost two decades and his contributions to the struggle for justice and against racism are boundless. For those that can attend, we will let folks know of any plans for services and other memorials for Darby. 

Rodney Reed appeal rejected by U.S. Supreme Court

By: Chuck Lindell
Austin American Statesman
Monday, November 3, 2014

Shameful news out of the Supreme Court this morning! Rodney Reed is innocent! We must continue to fight for JUSTICE FOR RODNEY REED!

Fresh doubts over a Texas execution

New evidence revives concerns that a man was wrongly put to death in 2004

Cameron Todd Willingham in 2004 just before his execution. Willingham refused to plead guilty in return for a life sentence and maintained his innocence until the day he was put to death.
By: Maurice Possley
The Washington Post
Monday, August 4, 2014

Opponents of the death penalty have long focused on questionable evidence used against Willingham, believing that his case could be the first to show conclusively that an innocent man was put to death in the modern era of capital punishment. As the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty in Kansas in 2006, Justice Antonin Scalia declared that the opposition could not cite “a single case — not one — in which it is clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit.”

Still seeking justice for Rodney Reed

By: Cindy Beringer
Socialist Worker
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The family and supporters of Texas death row prisoner Rodney Reed left a July 24 rally at the Bastrop County Courthouse with buoyed hopes and renewed optimism that justice is possible for this innocent man.