News and Updates

State Senate Committee Hears Proposal to End the Death Penalty

By: Kenny Colston
89.3 WFPL News
Thursday, March 1, 2012

For the first time in Kentucky, a legislative committee is considering a move to abolish the death penalty. The bill received a hearing in a Senate committee today.

Senate Bill 63 would abolish capital punishment in the commonwealth, a move few other states have accomplished by statute.

The bill has the support of the American Bar Association based on a report the group released last summer detailing numerous problems with Kentucky’s capital punishment system.


End death penalty measure likely to be on November ballot


Credit: John Green
Volunteers carry boxes of signed petitions to the Department of Elections at City Hall in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, March 1, 2012.
By: Howard Mintz
San Jose Mercury News
Thursday, March 1, 2012

California's voters in November will have their first opportunity in more than three decades to consider whether to scrap the death penalty and clear the largest death row in the nation's history.

Reviving one of the state's most contentious political issues, backers of a proposed ballot initiative to abolish the death penalty announced Thursday that they had more than enough signatures to put the explosive question on the November ballot. They gathered more than 800,000 signatures, 300,000 more than required, and only technical glitches would prevent a campaign that will reopen the debate over whether California should execute its most heinous murderers.


State considers voting against death penalty

Maryland has only used execution five times since 1977

By: Jim Bach
Diamondback Online
Tuesday, February 28, 2012

For several years, state lawmakers have proposed repealing the death penalty — an issue that will once again be brought up this session but has yet to make it to a full body vote in the state's General Assembly.


Bill seeks to repeal capital punishment in Missouri

The bill would also order re-sentencing of current death row inmates.

By: Jeremy Truitt
The Maneater
Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A new House bill being brought forth by Rep. Penny Hubbard, D-District 58, seeks to repeal the death penalty in Missouri as well as allow re-sentencing for all inmates currently on death row in the state.


High Court Won't Hear Death Row Inmate's Evidence of Innocence

By: Bob Drummond
San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, February 27, 2012

Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to consider stopping the execution of Larry Ray Swearingen, a Texas death row inmate who says newly uncovered evidence proves his innocence.

Swearingen's lawyers had asked the high court to decide for the first time whether executing an innocent person constitutes cruel and unusual punishment under the Constitution.

Lower federal courts declined to intervene in Swearingen's case in part because, as the law now stands, even uncontested scientific proof of innocence isn't a valid reason for a federal judge to stop an execution.


Another Death Row Debacle: The Case Against Thomas Arthur

In Alabama, a death row prisoner could be exonerated by a DNA test. Why are the courts preventing this from happening -- especially when another man has already confessed to the crime?


Credit: AP
Thomas Arthur
By: Andrew Cohen
The Atlantic
Monday, February 27, 2012

Another month, another man on death row, another excruciating case that illustrates just some of the ways in which America's death penalty regime is unconstitutionally broken. This time, the venue is Alabama. This time, the murder that generated the sentence took place 30 years ago. And this time, there is an execution date of March 29, 2012, for Thomas Arthur, a man who has always maintained his innocence. He also has the unwelcome distinction of being one of the few prisoners in the DNA-testing era to be this close to capital punishment after someone else confessed under oath to the crime.


Death penalty repeal bill to resurface in legislature

By: JC Reindl
The Day
Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hartford - A bill that would repeal the death penalty is moving forward in the legislature.

The General Assembly's Judiciary Committee voted 23 to 15 Wednesday to raise the repeal bill for this year's short session.


Bradley Manning, Solitary Confinement and Occupy 4 Prisoners


By: Bill Quigley
Common Dreams
Thursday, February 23, 2012

Today US Army Private Bradley Manning is to be formally charged with numerous crimes at Fort Meade, Maryland.   Manning, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by members of the Icelandic Parliament, is charged with releasing hundreds of thousands of documents exposing secrets of the US government to the whistleblower website Wikileaks. These documents exposed lies, corruption and crimes by the US and other countries.  The Bradley Manning defense team points out accurately that much of what was published by Wikileaks was either not actually secret or should not have been secret.


Dallas DA seeks death penalty review


Credit: LM Otero/Associated Press
Craig Watkins wants to ensure penalty is done fairly.
By: Nomaan Merchant
Austin American-Statesman
Thursday, February 23, 2012

DALLAS — The district attorney leading an aggressive push to free wrongly imprisoned inmates, in a county where more than two dozen wrongful convictions have been overturned, is calling for a review of the capital punishment system in the nation's busiest death penalty state.

Craig Watkins' tenure as Dallas County's top prosecutor has earned him a national reputation. Now, as Watkins publicly acknowledges that his great-grandfather was executed in Texas almost 80 years ago, he called on state lawmakers to review death penalty procedures to ensure the punishment is fairly administered.

"I think it's a legitimate question to have, to ask: 'Have we executed someone that didn't commit the crime?'" Watkins said in an interview with The Associated Press.


Triggerman bill killed by Senate panel


By: Larry O'Dell
Wavy-TV 10
Thursday, February 23, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) - For the fifth year in a row, the Virginia General Assembly has rejected legislation to expand the state's death penalty law.

The Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted 8-6, with one abstention, on Wednesday to kill a proposal to allow the death penalty for accomplices who share a murderer's intent to kill. The bill would have revised Virginia's "triggerman rule," which in most cases allows capital punishment only for the person who does the actual killing.