News & Developments


Prosecutorial Accountability

Feb 22, 2024

Texas Prisoner Faces Execution Despite Doubts About His Guilt and Refusal of Courts to Assess New Evidence

Ivan Cantu is sched­uled to be exe­cut­ed on February 28, 2024, although Texas courts have refused to con­sid­er new evi­dence in his case that may prove he was wrong­ful­ly con­vict­ed. Mr. Cantu was sen­tenced to death in Collin County for the mur­der of his cousin and his cousin’s fiancée in November 2000. Texas sched­uled an exe­cu­tion date for Mr. Cantu in April 2023, but a last-minute appeal describ­ing new evi­dence of false wit­ness tes­ti­mo­ny pro­vid­ed grounds for a stay of exe­cu­tion. However, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (TCCA) overturned…

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Innocence

Feb 21, 2024

City of Tampa Agrees to Pay Exoneree Robert DuBoise $14 Million in Wrongful Conviction Settlement

Florida death-row exoneree Robert DuBoise (pic­tured) will receive $14 mil­lion from the city of Tampa as com­pen­sa­tion for the 37 years he was incar­cer­at­ed for a rape and mur­der he did not com­mit. On February 15, 2024, the Tampa City Council unan­i­mous­ly vot­ed to approve the set­tle­ment. The set­tle­ment resolved a 2021 suit Mr. DuBoise filed against the City of Tampa, four Tampa police offi­cers, and the foren­sic odon­tol­o­gist who tes­ti­fied against him. The suit alleged that the offi­cers and odon­tol­o­gist con­spired to present fab­ri­cat­ed evi­dence against Mr. DuBoise and…

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Prosecutorial Accountability

Feb 20, 2024

Op-Ed: Law Professor Stephen Bright Encourages SCOTUS to Review egregious racial discrimination” in Georgia Death Row Prisoner’s Case

In a February 14, 2024 op-ed pub­lished in the Washington Post, the long­time defense lawyer, for­mer direc­tor of the Southern Center for Human Rights, and law pro­fes­sor Stephen Bright high­lights the con­tin­ued ille­gal exclu­sion of Black jurors in vio­la­tion of Batson v. Kennedy (1986). The op-ed titled, Struck from a jury for being Black? It still hap­pens all too often,” uses the case of Georgia death-sen­tenced pris­on­er Warren King, whose peti­tion the U.S. Supreme Court is expect­ed to review on February 23, as the lat­est exam­ple of the per­sis­tent prac­tice. The…

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Conditions on Death Row

Feb 15, 2024

Discussions with DPIC Podcast: Shedding Light on Underreported Stories of Incarceration and Death Row — conversation with Keri Blakinger

In this month’s episode of Discussions with DPIC, Managing Director Anne Holsinger speaks with Keri Blakinger, a jour­nal­ist at the Los Angeles Times and for­mer reporter for the Marshall Project — a non­prof­it news orga­ni­za­tion focused on the U.S. crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem. At the Marshall Project, Ms. Blakinger wrote sto­ries about the human beings in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem — a focus that is still a pri­or­i­ty in her report­ing with the Los Angeles Times.

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Feb 14, 2024

Utah Court Rules Prisoner Suffering from Dementia Requires a Competency Assessment Following the State’s Request for Execution

On February 13, 2024, the 3rd District Court of Salt Lake City, Utah ruled that evi­dence pre­sent­ed by Ralph Menzies’ attor­neys of his demen­tia and cog­ni­tive decline requires a for­mal assess­ment of his com­pe­ten­cy to face exe­cu­tion by fir­ing squad. With its deci­sion, the court also vacat­ed a hear­ing sched­uled for February 23, at which the state of Utah intend­ed to request an exe­cu­tion war­rant for Mr. Menzies. As explained in his request for a com­pe­ten­cy hear­ing, Mr. Menzies has been diag­nosed with a major neu­rocog­ni­tive dis­or­der known as vascular…

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Clemency

Feb 13, 2024

Idaho Supreme Court Denies Stay of Execution to State’s Longest Serving Death Row Prisoner Ahead of Feb 28 Execution Date

On February 9, 2024, the Idaho Supreme Court unan­i­mous­ly dis­missed two state appeals for 73-year-old Thomas Creech, there­by deny­ing his requests for a stay of exe­cu­tion. Mr. Creech, who has been on death row for more than 40 years, has also request­ed a new clemen­cy hear­ing. He is sched­uled to be exe­cut­ed by lethal injec­tion on February 28, which would be Idaho’s first exe­cu­tion since 2012

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International

Feb 12, 2024

Robert Badinter, Former French Justice Minister, and Death Penalty Abolitionist, Dies at 95

Robert Badinter, a fierce defend­er of human rights, defense lawyer, and for­mer French jus­tice min­is­ter who led the effort to abol­ish the death penal­ty in his coun­try, died on February 9, 2024. Mr. Badinter influ­enced many legal changes, includ­ing laws that decrim­i­nal­ized homo­sex­u­al­i­ty, improved prison con­di­tions, and advo­cat­ed for his own par­tic­u­lar con­cept of jus­tice. As a defense lawyer, Mr. Badinter wit­nessed the exe­cu­tion of one of his clients, and vivid­ly recalled the hor­rors involved with the use of the guil­lo­tine. In 1981, one of his first offi­cial actions as…

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Feb 09, 2024

Black History Month Profile Series: Ernie Chambers

This month, DPIC cel­e­brates Black History Month with week­ly pro­files of notable Black Americans whose work affect­ed the mod­ern death penal­ty era. The first in the series is retired Nebraska state sen­a­tor Ernie Chambers. 

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