News and Updates

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.

Anniversary Message from Leonard Peltier

By: Leonard Peltier
Monday, February 6, 2012

Today marks the 36th year that Leonard Peltier has been wrongfully imprisoned. Below are some words that he wrote about this devastating anniversary.

Race and Death Penalty Juries

By: Editorial
The New York Times
Sunday, February 5, 2012

North Carolina courageously passed the Racial Justice Act in 2009, making it the first state in the country to give death row inmates a chance to have their sentences changed to life without parole based on proof that race played a significant role in determining punishment.

Wrongfully Imprisoned 29 Years, Stanley Wrice Wins Second Chance

David Protess, Director, Chicago Innocence Project
By: David Protess
Huffington Post
Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rhythmically bouncing a faded orange basketball with his right hand, Stanley Wrice drives past a defender half his age, dribbles left and stops on a dime. Freezing a muscular youth in his tracks, Wrice pulls up and lofts the ball towards the rusted cylinder. Floating fifteen feet, the ball's arc is true. Nothing but net.

The N.Y.P.D. Clamps Down on Jazz

Joseph “Jazz” Hayden speaks to New York 1 during the Courthouse Protests.
By: Liliana Segura
The Brooklyn Rail
Thursday, February 2, 2012

At 8:45 a.m. on a frigid January morning, the protesters are warming up:

“Mic Check!” “Mic Check!

“Mic Check!” “Mic Check!

Outside the New York Criminal Court Building on Centre Street a crowd of about 50 huddles behind a row of metal barricades as a few N.Y.P.D. officers look on. A red sign reads “WE ARE IN A POLICE STATE.” Next up is Kassandra Frederique of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA); her breath visible as she speaks, a chilly cameraman from NY1 a few feet away.

The Torture of Mumia Abu-Jamal Continues off Death Row

Supporters Demand Transfer to General Population

By: Hans Bennett of Prison Radio
Op Ed News
Friday, January 27, 2012

On December 7, following the US Supreme Court's refusal to consider the Philadelphia District Attorney's final avenue of appeal, current DA Seth Williams announced that he would no longer be seeking a death sentence for the world-renowned death row journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal--on death r

Former death row inmate Joe D'Ambrosio, finally free, speaks out

By: Regina Brett
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Attempted murder. That's what Joe D'Ambrosio wants the prosecutors to be charged with.

He says the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office tried to kill him by withholding 10 pieces of evidence at his trial, evidence that could have led to a not-guilty verdict.

The case for a second chance

Robert Gattis
By: Marlene Martin
Socialist Worker
Tuesday, January 17, 2012

We are so overjoyed to report that Delaware Governor Jack Markell just granted clemency to Robert Gattis, who was scheduled to be killed in just a few days. Thanks so much to everyone who signed the petition and supported Robert, his mother Barbara Lewis and the rest of their family. The Delaware chapter of the CEDP, including Barbara, worked hard over the last few years to win this victory. 

Death sentence overturned

Man who has spent 20 years on death row could be freed

Jermaine Wright was convicted in 1992 in the killing of a clerk at a liquor store on Gov. Printz Boulevard.
By: Sean O'Sullivan
Delaware Online
Wednesday, January 4, 2012


WILMINGTON -- The second-longest-serving inmate on Delaware's death row may be free on bail as soon as next week.

 At a brief hearing Tuesday that left prosecutors speechless, Superior Court Judge John A. Parkins Jr. overturned the conviction and death sentence of Jermaine Wright for the January 1991 slaying of liquor store clerk Phillip Seifert. 

The racial bias of the US death penalty

Credit: Dave Martin/AP
Holman prison's lethal injection chamber, in Atmore, Alabama
By: David A. Love
The Guardian
Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The application of the US death penalty is unfair, arbitrary and racially biased. Whether a defendant receives a death sentence depends not on the merits of the case, so much as on his or her skin colour – and the race of the victim – and the county in which the murder case was prosecuted. Two recent news items in the US provide some illustrative context.