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NEW VOICES: Prosecutor Urges DNA Testing to Ensure Accuracy

In an op-ed that appeared in the Los Angeles Times on the day Indiana death row inmate Darnell Williams received a stay of execution to allow testing of crucial DNA evidence that could save his life, the prosecutor from the case, Thomas Vanes, expressed second thoughts about seeking the death penalty. He wrote:

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Illinois Prohibits Doctors and Nurses from Participation in Executions

Legislation to bar doctors and nurses from participating in executions was recently signed into law by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich on July 24, 2003.

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NEW VOICES: Time Magazine Spotlights Texas District Attorney

A recent article in Time looks at the career of Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle. The article traces Earle's evolving opinion on the death penalty since he was first elected D.A. in Texas in 1976, the year the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty. Among other concerns, questions of innocence have caused Earle to grow increasingly skeptical about the death penalty. The article notes:

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Judge Imposes Life Sentence for Victims' Sake

Baltimore County Judge Dana M. Levitz recently sentenced a man convicted of murder to two life terms without parole, in part because of its possible effects on the victims' families. Levitz said, "The devastating effect that this unending litigation has on the innocent families of the victims is incalculable. By imposing a death sentence, I ensure that the victim's families will be subjected to many more years of appeals." Family members also noted that the decision gave them the peace of mind they have been searching for.

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NYC Mayor Restates Concerns About Innocence, Opposition to the Death Penalty

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican, reiterated his opposition to capital punishment. Bloomberg noted, "The death penalty I've always had a problem with, because too many times in the past you've seen innocent people incarcerated and, tragically, every once in a while they've been executed. And until you can show me that the process never would ever convict somebody that later on we find out was innocent of a crime, murder is murder no matter who does it, and I think we as a society can afford to incarcerate people." (New York Times, July 31, 2003).

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NEW RESOURCE: Amnesty International Report Examines Execution of Juvenile Offenders

A new report by Amnesty International, "The Exclusion of Child Offenders from the Death Penalty Under General International Law," examines the evidence supporting the conclusion that the use of the death penalty against juvenile offenders is prohibited under customary international law. The practice is already prohibited by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. William F. Schulz, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, notes that the U.S.

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NEW RESOURCE: The Angolite features Victims, Filmmakers

In addition to articles about juvenile justice and murder victims' family members, the latest edition of The Angolite - a prison news magazine published by Angola Prison in Louisiana - features a section on filmmaking within prison walls. Angola Prison has hosted dozens of film crews over the years, and has been the shooting site for award-winning films such as "Dead Man Walking," "Monster's Ball," and "The Farm." (The Angolite, November/December 2002) See Resources.

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NEW VOICES: Bali Bombing Victim McCartney Calls for Life Sentence

Jason McCartney, a survivor of the 2002 terrorist bombing of a Bali nightclub and a former Australian football player, said a lifetime sentence in an Indonesian jail would be a harsh enough punishment for the men who plotted the attack. "At first, I probably thought with my initial anger that (the death penalty) is the way to go," said McCartney. "It's varied a bit. Sometimes I wonder if that's an easy way out for them, the death penalty...It's a hard one." McCartney, who sustained serious injuries in the attack, now serves as an advocate for Bali survivors and victims.

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