News and Updates

Calif. borrows from budget to build new death row.

Associated Press
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Despite California's $19 billion budget deficit, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration said Wednesday it will borrow nearly $65 million from the state's cash-strapped general fund to begin building a new 1,152-bed death row at San Quentin State Prison.

In the Rearview Mirror, Oklahoma and Death Row

Credit: Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
James Fisher with Charlotte Morrison, a senior lawyer for the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit group, in Montgomery, Ala.
New York Times
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You can never come back, ever. If you plead guilty to that long-ago murder in Oklahoma City, you will be released from prison, where you have spent most of the last 27 years on death row. But once free, you will be banished from Oklahoma. O.K.?

O.K., said James Fisher, trading his black-and-white-striped prison top for a blue-and-white-striped dress shirt. Then, without shackles or escort, he stepped into the late afternoon of a state that once wanted him dead and now just wanted him gone.

First, though, Mr. Fisher’s lawyers and supporters thought that the end to his Hitchcockian case, a study in the cost of appalling legal representation, warranted at least dinner. So they took him to Earl’s Rib Palace for the celebratory opposite of a last meal.

Hillary Clinton to Iran: stop using death penalty so much

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday expressed concern about the case of a Iranian woman sentenced to death for adultery. Only China uses the death penalty more.

Credit: Amnesty International/AP
This undated image made available by Amnesty International in London shows Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a mother of two who is facing the punishment of stoning to death in Iran, on charges of adultery. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has condemned what Iranian human rights activists say is expanding use of execution in Iran.
By: Howard LaFranchi, Staff writer
Christian Science Monitor
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday added her voice to the growing international chorus condemning what Iranian human rights activists say is expanding use of execution as almost routine punishment in Iran.

The high-profile case Secretary Clinton cited in a statement is that of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman who was handed a sentence of death by stoning after she was found guilty of adultery.

Death Row Inmate's Team Fights to Save Case

By: Alyson M. Palmer
Monday, August 9, 2010

Lawyers for Troy Davis are fighting to fix the damage caused by their failure to call at a recent hearing the man they say committed the murder for which Davis has been sentenced to die.

The problem occurred in June, during an event Davis' supporters had fought for years to achieve: an evidentiary hearing at which Davis could press his claims that he did not kill Savannah, Ga., police officer Mark Allen MacPhail.

Courtesy of an unusual order from the U.S. Supreme Court, they received that opportunity before U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr.

Unusual Alliance Protests Execution

Credit: Ohio State Public Defenders Office, via Associated Press
Kevin Keith is scheduled to be executed in Ohio next month.
New York Times
Monday, August 9, 2010

CINCINNATI — An unlikely array of Republicans and Democrats, attorneys general and federal and state judges and prosecutors has lined up to fight the execution of a death row inmate many believe to be innocent.

Dozens of former officials have joined death penalty opponents to appeal to Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio, a Democrat, to spare the life of the inmate, Kevin Keith. They say emerging evidence of investigative errors, inadequate defense and the existence of another suspect merit a pardon or at least a new trial.

The diverse group, including some who generally support the death penalty, is scheduled to appear at a news conference at the Statehouse in Columbus on Tuesday, ahead of a clemency hearing on Wednesday.

Racial disparity remains wide in death sentences

Credit: Paul Stephen
Rick Miller (left), Jennifer Shires and Kevin Peters with the Capital Defender's Office in New Hanover County.b
By: Veronica Gonzalez
Sunday, August 8, 2010

In a system where justice is supposed to be blind, murder defendants accused of killing white victims are nearly three times as likely to be sentenced to death in North Carolina than if the victim was black.

In cases considered for capital punishment or that result in a death sentence in New Hanover County, the odds are even higher – six times as likely, said Raleigh attorney Sharon Smith citing a study done by two Michigan State University researchers.

The findings are documented in two new studies that many of the state's 159 death row prisoners are expected to cite in an effort to show racial bias affected their cases.

Interview with Darby Tillis, Exonerated Death Row Prisoner
Sunday, August 8, 2010

The television network RT talks with Darby Tillis, Illinois' first exonerated death row prisoner. Darby is a talented musician, entertainer and activist. He has been speaking out against the death penalty since his release in 1987 and is a long-standing member of the CEDP.


Illinois man freed after DNA from killings points to ex-Marine in Virginia

By: Maria Glod
The Washington Post
Thursday, August 5, 2010

An Illinois man who had been charged with fatally stabbing two young girls was freed Wednesday after DNA evidence linked the slayings to an ex-Marine accused of attacking women in Northern Virginia.

Jerry Hobbs, 39, spent the past five years in jail awaiting trial on capital murder charges in the 2005 slayings of his daughter, Laura, 8, and her friend Krystal Tobias, 9, in Zion, Ill. But Lake County prosecutors, who previously said they would seek the death penalty, dropped all charges Wednesday. It was a little more than a month after genetic evidence gathered at the crime scene was matched with a sample that had been entered in the national DNA databank.

In support of Mumia: Puerto Rican Coalition Against the Death Penalty statement

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Statement of the Puerto Rican Coalition Against the Death Penalty regarding the Campaign for Mumia Abu Jamal and the Fourth World Congress Against the Death Penalty

During the last weeks, some abolitionist organizations and activists have approached us to ask for our position in the matter of Mumia Abu Jamal and the communication issued by some abolitionist organizations in the United States regarding the role of his campaign in the Fourth World Congress celebrated last February in Geneva.