News and Updates

Study: Military death sentence more likely for minorities


Credit: G.L. Kohuth
Catherine Grosso, associate professor of law.
Michigan State University
Friday, February 17, 2012

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Skin color plays a role in deciding whether to execute military criminals, according to a new study by a Michigan State University law professor who found minorities in the military are twice as likely as whites to be sentenced to death.

Catherine Grosso, associate professor at the MSU College of Law, and the late David Baldus, the Joseph B. Tye Professor at the University of Iowa College of Law, studied military prosecutions in all potentially death-eligible murders from 1984 to 2005.


Va. legislature considers expanding death penalty

By: Michael Bodine
newsleader.com
Friday, February 17, 2012

RICHMOND – The Virginia House of Delegates has advanced a bill that would make a broader range of criminals eligible for the death penalty.

House Bill 389, proposed by Delegate Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock, would redefine the “triggerman” rule in murder cases. The term “triggerman” refers strictly to the direct perpetrators of homicide, according to the current state law.


Florida set to execute man for 1980 murder

By: Michael Peltier
Reuters
Wednesday, February 15, 2012

(Reuters) - Florida is scheduled on Wednesday to execute a 65-year-old man who has spent more than three decades on death row for the murder of a woman he met at a bar.

Robert Waterhouse is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection at 6 p.m. local time at the Florida State Prison in Raiford. He would be the fourth inmate executed in the United States this year.

He was sentenced to die for the January 1980 murder of Deborah Kammerer, a 29-year-old St. Petersburg woman who encountered Waterhouse at a bar in the Tampa Bay area.


Paul Pfeifer, Ohio Judge, Rejects Death Penalty Law He Wrote


Credit: Associated Press
Justice Paul Pfeifer
By: Andrew Welsh-Huggins
Huffington Post
Wednesday, February 15, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As a young state senator 30 years ago, Paul Pfeifer helped write Ohio's death penalty law. Today, as the senior member of the state Supreme Court, he's trying to eliminate it.


Conn. lawmakers push anew for death penalty repeal

Activists from the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty began lobbying efforts on opening day of the legislative session

By: Shannon Young
PoliceOne.com
Tuesday, February 14, 2012

HARTFORD, Conn. — Some state lawmakers are reviving a push to end Connecticut's death penalty, hoping for an easier road this year following the conclusion of two widely publicized trials for a brutal 2007 triple slaying.

While the only survivor of the Cheshire home invasion personally lobbied legislators last year to keep the death penalty, at least one state senator who was swayed by Dr. William Petit says he is now ready to vote for repeal.

"Last year was not an appropriate time to discuss (repeal)," said Sen. Andrew Maynard, a Stonington Democrat.


Texas executions threatened as stocks of death penalty drug run low

Most prolific judicial killing state in America has only enough sedative for six more executions – and could run out by June


Credit: Linda Nylind for the Guardian
Texas has only enough quantities of pentobarbital to serve in six more executions.
By: Ed Pilkington
The Guardian
Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Texas, the powerhouse of the death penalty in America which last year executed more than twice the number of prisoners than any other state, is running out of supplies of lethal drugs and may be incapable of carrying out further death sentences beyond June.


The Framing of Kevin Cooper, on San Quentin’s Death Row

An interview with J. Patrick O’Connor


Kevin Cooper
By: Hans Bennett
Prison Radio
Friday, February 10, 2012

In this interview, author J. Patrick O’Connor discusses his newly released book Scapegoat: The Chino Hills Murders and The Framing of Kevin Cooperexplaining why he is convinced of Kevin Cooper’s innocence.


Ramarley Graham: NYPD Slays Unarmed Black Teen as Outrage over Targeting of People of Color Grows

Democracy Now!
Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The New York City Police Department is under mounting criticism after police shot dead an unarmed teenager inside his own home. Eighteen-year-old Ramarley Graham was shot at close range in his parents’ apartment in the Bronx after being chased into the house by narcotics detectives. Police said they found marijuana in the home and think Graham may have been trying to flush some down the toilet. The NYPD is coming under criticism not only for shooting Graham, but also for its broader stop-and-frisk policy, which critics say disproportionately targets people of color.


Death row inmate's case before Fla. Supreme Court

By: James L. Rosica
The Miami Herald
Tuesday, February 7, 2012

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A man set to be executed next week should be spared because of newly discovered evidence, his attorney told the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Robert Waterhouse, 65, was sent to death row for the rape and murder of a 29-year-old woman in St. Petersburg in January 1980. Gov. Rick Scott already has signed a death warrant and Waterhouse is scheduled to be put to death next Wednesday.


Death penalty case puts racism on trial in North Carolina


Marcus Robinson was found guilty of killing Erik Tornblom
By: Kate Dailey
BBC News Magazine
Tuesday, February 7, 2012

In North Carolina, the Racial Justice Act seeks to remedy years of inequity on death row. But can racism be regulated?

In 1991, 18-year-old Marcus Reymond Robinson and a friend convinced Erik Tornblom, 17, to give them a ride home from a gas station.