News and Updates

Now, abolish the death penalty

By: Kathleen M. Mullin
Friday, April 27, 2012

Last week’s landmark legal ruling which found that racial discrimination had tainted the death penalty trial of Marcus Robinson resulted in Robinson’s being spared execution and being resentenced to life imprisonment. At long last, the ruling itself recognized the overwhelmingly pervasive and prejudicial role that race plays in the administration of justice, which is certainly not blind.

Shifts seen in support for death penalty

By: Kevin Johnson
The Washington Post
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WASHINGTON — The campaign to abolish the death penalty has been freshly invigorated this month in a series of actions that supporters say represents increasing evidence that America may be losing its taste for capital punishment.

Connecticut abolishes death penalty

By: Ebong Udoma
The Chicago Tribune
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

HARTFORD, Connecticut (Reuters) - The governor of Connecticut on Wednesday signed into law a repeal of the death penalty, making it the fifth state in recent years to abandon capital punishment.

Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the legislation without fanfare behind closed doors, saying in a statement it was "a moment for sober reflection, not celebration."

Prosecutor Misconduct & the Obama Administration

By: Linn Washington, Jr.
Counter Punch
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

One of the issues driving protesters participating in the April 24, 2012 Occupy The Justice Department demonstration is an issue that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder knows well: prosecutorial misconduct.

Holder knows this misconduct issue well because he has criticized it during congressional testimony, in fact as recently as March 2012 when he was commenting on a special prosecutor’s report castigating the wrongdoing of federal prosecutors.

Racial Bias in Death Penalty Cases: A North Carolina Test

A judge gives life to an extraordinary new law designed to remedy the state's long history of prejudice in capital trials.

The execution chamber at Central prison in Raleigh, N.C
By: Andrew Cohen
The Atlantic
Monday, April 23, 2012

If we still want to have a sound and sober national conversation about race and justice, if we still are eager to use a single case as a totem for what we perceive to be wrong or unjust about the criminal justice system, perhaps we all would be better served by paying attention to what's happening in North Carolina to a man named Marcus Robinson than we are by paying attention to what's happening in Florida to a man named George Zimmerman.

Life, death and race

How color-blind is justice, especially in capital cases?

By: James R. Acker
Times Union
Saturday, April 21, 2012

Twenty-five years ago today, on April 22, 1987, the Supreme Court decided McCleskey vs.

North Carolina judge vacates death penalty under racial justice law

Convicted murderer Marcus Reymond Robinson has his sentence changed to life without parole in a blistering ruling that accuses state prosecutors of systematic discrimination.

Credit: Shawn Rocco/Raleigh News & Observer
Shirley Burns, center, hugs her friendy after Cumberland County Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Greg Weeks found that racial bias played a role in the trial and death row sentencing of Burns' son inmate Marcus Robinson.
By: David Zucchino
The Chicago Tribune
Saturday, April 21, 2012

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — In a landmark ruling, a North Carolina judge on Friday vacated the death penalty of a black man convicted of murder, saying prosecutors across the state had engaged in deliberate and systematic racial discrimination when striking black potential jurors in death penalty cases.

The ruling was the first under North Carolina's Racial Justice Act, passed in 2009, which allows judges to reduce death sentences to life in prison without parole when defendants can prove racial bias in jury selection. Prosecutors had fought the act, the nation's only such law, calling it a back-door attempt to overturn the death penalty.

Wrongful Convictions, Wrongful Bias

By: Cassandra Stubbs
American Civil Liberties Union
Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 22 marks the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in McCleskey v.

Amnesty International: Decades of Solitary Confinement at Louisiana’s Angola Prison Amounts to Torture

By: Everette Thompson, Robert King, and Melinda Tuhus
Between the Lines
Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Interviews with Everette Thompson, southeast regional director of Amnesty USA, and Robert King, one of the Angola 3, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

Lethal Injection As the Death Penalty's Last Stand

By: David A. Love
Huffington Post
Monday, April 16, 2012

Are we witnessing the beginning of the end of the death penalty in America? All of it might come down to a basic issue of supply.

So, what do you do if you are a hangman who runs out of rope? To put it in more conventional terms, suppose you are a state that executes people by lethal injection, but you're running out of the lethal chemicals used to put people down like animals.