News and Updates

Death penalty panel calls for massive overhaul

Credit: Handout/Reuters
The death chamber is seen through the steel bars from the viewing room at the federal penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas
By: Meredith Clark
Wednesday, May 7, 2014

 A bipartisan panel led by a Republican and a Democrat, who together oversaw more than 50 executions, called today for an end to the lethal drug cocktail that was used in the botched execution in Oklahoma.

Bad drugs, veins and policy: Oklahoma fits a pattern of botched US executions

Clayton Lockett joins the 7% of American lethal injections gone bad. If you're looking for a reason to abolish the death penalty, the evidence is right there on the gurney

Credit: Linda Nylind for the Guardian
The drug pentobarbital before being used in a lethal injection procedure in Georgia.
By: Austin Sarat, Robert Henry Weaver and Heather Richard
The Guardian
Friday, May 2, 2014

"How enviable a quiet death by lethal injection," Justice Antonin Scaliaonce proclaimed, as he contrasted the demise of a condemned murderer with that of his victim.

More Innocent People on Death Row Than Estimated

Credit: Jerry Cabluck—Sygma/Corbis
Walls Unit in Huntsville prison where lethal injections are carried out on inmates in Huntsville, Texas.
By: David Von Drehle
Time Magazine
Monday, April 28, 2014

New research finds that almost four percent of U.S. capital punishment sentences are wrongful convictions, almost double the number of people set free, meaning around 120 of the roughly 3,000 inmates on death row in America are not guilty.

The United States may be putting more innocent people to death than previously thought. According to a sweeping new statistical analysis made public today, the rate of wrongful death sentences in the U.S. is probably much higher than experts have estimated.

Authors of the study say that their “conservative estimate of the proportion of erroneous convictions” is 4.1 percent, or approximately twice the number actually exonerated and set free from death row. This could mean that approximately 120 of the roughly 3,000 inmates on death row in America might not be guilty, while additional scores of wrongfully convicted inmates are serving life in prison after their death sentences were reduced over technical legal errors.

Justice for Louis Castro Perez!

By: Lily Hughes
Campaign to End the Death Penalty
Monday, March 17, 2014

The 5th Circuit Court has released an opinion denying relief to innocent Texas death row prisoner Louis Castro Perez. Many folks will be familiar with the case through Louis' sister, Delia Perez Meyer, who sits on the board of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty.

A Letter From Ray Jasper, Who Is About to Be Executed

By: Hamilton Nolan
Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Texas death row inmate Ray Jasper is scheduled to be put to death on March 19. He has written us a letter that, he acknowledges, "could be my final statement on earth." It is well worth your time.

Mexican Edgar Tamayo executed in Texas despite last-minute pleas

Tamayo, 46, executed in the face of political pressure from the Mexican government and the US state department

Credit: Richard Carson/Reuters
Protestors urge Texan authorities not to execute Edgar Tamayo
By: Tom Dart
The Guardian
Thursday, January 23, 2014

Texas executed a Mexican citizen on Wednesday night despite an international outcry and warnings that his death could damage relations between the US and Mexico.

Death Watch: Reed Appeal Rejected at 5th Circuit

Lawyers consider next move

Rodney Reed
By: Jordan Smith
The Austin Chronicle
Friday, January 17, 2014

Just over a month after it considered oral arguments in the case, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Jan. 10 rejected the latest appeal from Rodney Reed, on death row for the rape and murder of Stacey Stites.

We are all Troy Davis

By: Review by Lily Hughes
International Socialist Review
Friday, January 17, 2014


Troy Davis was an innocent man killed by the State of Georgia on September 21, 2012, after spending over twenty years on death row and facing four separate execution dates. His case sparked a worldwide movement to save his life. 

Chilling Testimony Of Death Row Executioners Casts Dark Shadow Over Entire System

By: Laura Dimon
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

At some point for Fred Allen, something snapped. He’d done one too many. He broke.

Rodney Reed appeal denied by the 5th Circuit - JUSTICE FOR RODNEY REED!

Rodney Reed
By: Lily Hughes
Monday, January 13, 2014

On late last Friday the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down its ruling in the case of Texas death row prisoner Rodney Reed. The court denied relief, upholding an earlier ruling by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.