The Death Penalty in Black and White: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides

by Richard C. Dieter, Esq. Executive Director, Death Penalty Information Center June 1998 It is tempting to pretend that minorities on death row share a fate in no way connected to our own, that our treatment of them sounds no echoes beyond the chambers in which they die. Such an illusion is ultimately corrosive, for the reverberations of injustice are not so easily confined. -Justice William Brennan (1987)

Reno Troubled by Death Penalty Statistics

Reno Troubled by Death Penalty Statistics NEW YORK TIMES

September 12, 2000

Reno Troubled by Death Penalty Statistics


Saying she was "sorely troubled" by stark racial disparities in the federal death penalty, Attorney General Janet Reno today ordered United States attorneys to help explain why capital punishment is not applied uniformly across ethnic groups.

"We must ensure that all defendants who come into our system are treated in a fair and just manner," Ms. Reno said in announcing the results of

Technical Errors Can Kill

Technical Errors Can Kill The National Law Journal

September 4, 2000

Technical Errors Can Kill

Special to The National Law Journal

EARLIER THIS summer, we published a study of the death penalty in this country. Our findings were disturbing and have provoked strong reactions. Two months later, it is time to look at some of those reactions, clarify misunderstandings and underline our central claim that the death penalty system is deeply flawed.

Fixing the Death Penalty

Fixing the Death Penalty CHICAGO TRIBUNE December 29, 2000
Page 1A

Fixing the Death Penalty


Nearly 1 year ago, Gov. George Ryan took a hard look at capital punishment in Illinois and was deeply unnerved by what he saw. His decision last January to declare an indefinite moratorium on the death penalty stands as one of the most courageous acts taken by an Illinois governor, in part because Ryan spent his political career ardently supporting capital punishment.

The moratorium followed a startling series of death row exonerations,

State's Record in Death Cases Cause for Study

State's record in death cases cause for study The Tallahassee Democrat

State's record in death cases cause for study

December 14, 2001

If an automaker led the industry in recalls, then spun the bad news as proof of excellent self-regulation, consumers would be skeptical. The automaker might deserve kudos for its efforts to rectify problems, but the high recall rate still would indicate a serious problem. A responsible company would identify the deficiency before so many recalls were required.

That's why it's so difficult to understand the reasoning

Failure in Fairness

Failure in fairness The News and Observer
(Raleigh, NC)

September 23, 2000

Failure in fairness


In recent years, the evidence has grown steadily in North Carolina and the nation that administration of the death penalty is seriously flawed. Indeed, after completing an intensive six-month study, The Charlotte Observer recently concluded that North Carolina's death penalty system "is so tainted with mistakes, unfairness and incompetence that it risks executing innocent people while sparing some of the most vicious killers."

Among Killers, Searching For the Worst of the Worst

Among Killers, Searching For the Worst of the Worst WASHINGTON POST

December 3, 2000
Sunday, Final Edition

Among Killers, Searching For the Worst of the Worst


From 1986 to 1999, I wandered with extraordinary freedom inside Lorton Central prison, questioning more than a hundred street criminals, mostly murderers, to find out why they killed and to try to figure out what punishment they deserve. It was a perfect observatory for me: As a criminal law professor

Virginia Needs a Moratorium on the Death Penalty

Virginia needs a moratorium on the death penalty Roanoke Times

January 31, 2002
Del. Vincent F. Callahan Jr., R-McLean*

Virginia needs a moratorium on the death penalty

In the past, I have been a strong advocate of the death penalty. I voted in favor of the resumption of capital punishment in 1977, and I have supported additional provisions expanding the categories of criminal actions for which the death penalty may be imposed.

However, I have now become one of those who believe that we must take