What's New

NEW RESOURCE: Tennesee Study Finds Death Penalty Costly, Ineffective

Posted: July 22, 2004
A new report released by the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury recommended changes to the state’s costly death penalty and called into question its effectiveness in preventing crime.  The Office of Research noted that it lacked sufficient data to accurately account for the total cost of capital trials, stating that “because cost and time records were not maintained, the Office of Research was unable to determine the total, comprehensive cost of the death penalty in Tennessee.”   Although noting that, “no reliable data exists

National, International Leaders Urge Supreme Court to Ban Execution of Juvenile Offenders

Posted: July 19, 2004
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev, medical experts, and 48 nations are among those who filed friend-of-the-court briefs on Monday (July 19) urging the U.S. Supreme Court to end the juvenile death penalty. The Court is scheduled to hear arguments this fall in Roper v. Simmons, a case that will determine the constitutionality of executing juvenile offenders. The U.S. is one of only a handful of nations around the world that continues to permit the execution of juvenile

NEW VOICES: League Of Women Voters Cautions Against "Quick Fix" for NY's Death Penalty

Posted: July 16, 2004

The New York League of Women Voters has urged state lawmakers not to attempt a "quick fix" solution to the state's flawed death penalty law. "We now have a unique opportunity to re-examine the use of the death penalty in New York," said Marcia Merrins, president of the League of Women Voters. In June 2004, the New York Court of Appeals declared the state's death penalty unconstitutional. The League of Women's Voter's, which plans to host a series of capital punishment forums throughout New York in the coming months, believes that the ruling


NBC to Air Award-Winning Documentary "Deadline" on July 30

Posted: July 15, 2004

The award-winning documentary "Deadline," which takes viewers directly into the emotional and legal storm surrounding former Illinois Governor George Ryan's extraordinary decision to commute the death sentences of all those on death row, will air on NBC during a special 2-hour "Dateline" program at 8 p.m. on July 30th. The Big Mouth Productions documentary has gained widespread critical acclaim and it was featured at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. During filming, the program's producers had unprecented access


NEW RESOURCE: Study Finds High Risk of Error in Eyewitness Identification

Posted: July 14, 2004
A study conducted by the U.S. Navy and Yale University found that eyewitness testimony is often largely inaccurate, even when victims get a long look at violent criminals, and police and juries may be giving this evidence too much credibility. After a unique study of 509 Navy and Marine officers undergoing high-level and low-level stress during elite hostage survival training at Fort Bragg, N.C., researchers discovered that few of the participating top officers could accurately identify their "interrogators" and "guards" during a line-up conducted

European Union Urges Iraq Not to Reinstate Death Penalty

Posted: July 13, 2004
European Union foreign ministers have urged Iraq's interim government not to reinstate capital punishment as it continues to develop the nation's justice system. "The European Union reconfirms its opposition to the death penalty in all cases," the ministers said in a draft statement to Iraq Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari. "The message has been very clear . . . We have this policy, and we will maintain this policy," said Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot at a news conference with Zebari. The European

NEW RESOURCES: DPIC Offers Useful Web Resources

Posted: July 12, 2004
The Death Penalty Information Center has new Web resources to assist educators and those following recent court developments related to capital punishment:

1) DPIC's revised Educational Curriculum on the Death Penalty is an excellent tool for TEACHERS planning to involve their students in the upcoming national focus on juveniles and the death penalty. See also DPIC's Web page on Roper v. Simmons and an

POSSIBLE INNOCENCE: New Evidence Throws Doubt on an Ohio Death Penalty Case

Posted: July 9, 2004
In an editorial entitled "Too Many Questions" that followed a two-part news series examining new information that casts doubt on the guilt of Ohio death row inmate John Spirko, the Mansfield News Journal of Ohio called for a re-examination of Spirko's case before the state allows an execution to go forward. A federal judge in the same case has said he has considerable doubts about the lawfulness of the case against Spirko. The editorial noted:

It's not often we call for careful reconsideration of the criminal case

NEW RESOURCE: Death Row Numbers Continue to Decline

Posted: July 8, 2004
The latest edition of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund's quarterly publication "Death Row USA" is now available on DPIC's Web site. The April 2004 report reveals a continuing decline in the number of individuals on death row in the United States. The current population of 3,487 is 17 less than the 3,504 individuals reported in January 2004 and 210 fewer than the 3,697 reported in October 2002. "Death Row USA" provides a comprehensive look at the nation's death row population, including a complete listing of those serving death

NEW VOICES: Murder Victims' Family Members Join Call for North Carolina Death Penalty Moratorium

Posted: July 7, 2004
In a letter to the North Carolina House of Representatives, 21 family members of murder victims voiced their concerns about the state's error-ridden death penalty system and urged members to pass legislation that would impose a two-year moratorium on executions while a study is conducted. "We are troubled by cases in which inadequate representation or prosecutorial misconduct led to innocent people being sent to our North Carolina Death Row. We are troubled by the ongoing evidence that our death penalty system is