News & Developments


Nov 28, 2023

Discussions with DPIC: Gender and the Death Penalty with Sandra Babcock

In this month’s Discussions with DPIC, Managing Director Anne Holsinger speaks with Sandra Babcock (pic­tured), Clinical Professor at Cornell Law School, Faculty Director, and founder of the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide. Ms. Babcock’s clin­ic cur­rent­ly rep­re­sents death sen­tenced women in the United States, Malawi, and Tanzania and is focused on pro­vid­ing defense teams in reten­tion­ist coun­tries with train­ing and con­sul­ta­tion in order to pro­vide the best pos­si­ble legal rep­re­sen­ta­tion for indi­vid­u­als fac­ing sen­tences of death. The Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide also pro­duces research highlighting…

Read More

Sentencing Alternatives

Nov 27, 2023

Florida Judge Imposes Life Sentence for Joshua McClellan, Overriding Non-Unanimous Jury Recommendation for Death

On November 20, Florida Circuit Judge Heidi Davis sen­tenced Joshua McClellan to life in prison after a non-unan­i­mous jury returned a rec­om­men­da­tion of death in September by a 10 – 2 vote. Judge Davis not­ed the mit­i­ga­tion evi­dence pre­sent­ed by Mr. McClellan’s defense, includ­ing men­tal health eval­u­a­tions and tes­ti­mo­ny regard­ing his trau­mat­ic upbring­ing, as an expla­na­tion for her deci­sion. Mr. McClellan was one of the first defen­dants to receive a non-unan­i­mous death rec­om­men­da­tion under a new law signed ear­li­er this year by Governor and pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ron DeSantis, allow­ing death sen­tences when…

Read More


Nov 21, 2023

Following Series of Denials, Louisiana Board to Hold Administrative Hearings on Clemency for at Least Two Additional Death Row Prisoners

The Louisiana Board of Pardons and Committee on Parole will con­sid­er at least two addi­tion­al appli­ca­tions for clemen­cy on November 27, fol­low­ing a tumul­tuous year in which near­ly all Louisiana death row pris­on­ers sought clemen­cy in response to out­go­ing Governor John Bel Edwards voic­ing his per­son­al oppo­si­tion to the death penal­ty. Under the Louisiana Constitution, Governor Edwards can­not grant clemen­cy with­out a rec­om­men­da­tion from the Board; he asked the Board to set hear­ings so that he could ful­fill his author­i­ty and duty to con­sid­er these appli­ca­tions.” However, amidst oppo­si­tion from…

Read More


Nov 20, 2023

U.S. Army Overturns the Convictions of 110 Black Soldiers in the 1917 Camp Logan Rebellion to Redress the Unfair Trials that Resulted in the Execution of 19

On November 13, 2023, offi­cials announced that the U.S. Army had over­turned the con­vic­tions of 110 Black sol­diers of the 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, who were charged with mutiny in con­nec­tion with the racial vio­lence that occurred dur­ing the 1917 Camp Logan rebel­lion. Nineteen Black sol­diers were hanged fol­low­ing the court-mar­tial rul­ing on December 11, 1917, which was the largest exe­cu­tion of mil­i­tary sol­diers in his­to­ry. In her state­ment, Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth stat­ed, “…these sol­diers were wrong­ly treat­ed because of their race and were not given…

Read More

Human Rights

Nov 16, 2023

After Due Process Disaster,” Texas Death Row Prisoner Whose Appeal Was Lost is Resentenced and Eligible for Parole

A death-sen­tenced pris­on­er whose appeal was lost for thir­ty years was resen­tenced to life with parole on November 14, 2023, when the Harris County, Texas District Attorney’s office said it is no longer pur­su­ing the death penal­ty. Syed Rabbani, a Bangladeshi nation­al, has been on death row since 1988 for a fatal Houston shoot­ing. Mr. Rabbani filed his appeal in 1994, but it remained pend­ing in the Harris County Court sys­tem until 2022, when the Harris County District Clerk’s Office redis­cov­ered the fil­ing among 100+ oth­er for­got­ten’ cas­es. Although severely…

Read More

Prosecutorial Accountability

Nov 15, 2023

Randomness and Prosecutorial Misconduct in Death Penalty Cases Highlighted in South Carolina

A recent arti­cle in the Post and Courier details research into the rea­sons why 18 death sen­tences have been over­turned in South Carolina, find­ing one of the main rea­sons to be pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al mis­con­duct. Research found that 11 of the 18 pris­on­ers received new sen­tences because of pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al mis­con­duct, while the oth­er sev­en received new sen­tences after the deci­sion in Atkins v. Virginia because they had intel­lec­tu­al disability.

Read More


Nov 14, 2023

$9.1 million wrongful conviction settlement for Pennsylvania death row exoneree Walter Ogrod

Death-row exoneree Walter Ogrod’s fed­er­al law­suit against the City of Philadelphia and mem­bers of the Philadelphia Police Department was set­tled for $9.1 mil­lion on November 3, 2023. Mr. Ogrod, who was exon­er­at­ed in 2020 after 23 years on death row, was ini­tial­ly con­vict­ed in 1996 based on a coerced con­fes­sion and false tes­ti­mo­ny from jail­house infor­mants in a case fur­ther taint­ed by police and pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al mis­con­duct and inad­e­quate legal rep­re­sen­ta­tion at tri­al. In a state­ment con­firm­ing the set­tle­ment, offi­cials said The city remains com­mit­ted to trans­paren­cy in the pur­suit of…

Read More

Executions Overview

Nov 13, 2023

Alabama Schedules A Second Execution for Kenneth Smith, Using Nitrogen Gas for the First Time in U.S. History

On November 8, 2023, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey sched­uled an exe­cu­tion date for Kenneth Smith, mark­ing the first attempt by a U.S. state to use nitro­gen gas in an exe­cu­tion. Mr. Smith was con­vict­ed of the 1988 mur­der-for-hire death of Elizabeth Sennett in Jefferson County, Alabama and has been on death row for near­ly 34 years. Following the state Supreme Court’s 6 – 2 deci­sion green­light­ing Attorney General Steve Marshall’s request for an exe­cu­tion war­rant, Gov. Ivey set a 32-hour exe­cu­tion date time­frame begin­ning on January 25, 2024. Alabama pre­vi­ous­ly attempt­ed to…

Read More