What's New

NEW VOICES: Prosecutor Withdraws from Death Penalty Case

Posted: June 11, 2004
A Kentucky prosecutor raised religious objections to the death penalty in asking to step aside in the case of two men charged with murder. J. Stewart Schneider, the commonwealth's attorney in Boyd County in northeastern Kentucky, said Thursday he filed his motion to withdraw from the case after reflections at a religious retreat. Schneider also is a minister with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).


NEW RESOURCES: Three New Items Of Interest

Posted: June 10, 2004
Three new items have been added to DPIC's Web site, including a summary of a new report from The Sentencing Project, the complete results of a recent North Carolina poll, and an updated "Special Resources from DPIC" Web page:

1. A summary of important facts from The Sentencing Project’s new report: “The Meaning of ‘Life’: Long Prison Sentences in Context.” For example,

Death Penalty Fading Away in Europe and Central Asia

Posted: June 9, 2004
In a unanimous vote that will soon add their nation to a lengthy list of countries around the world that have either halted executions or abandoned capital punishment altogether, the lower house of Tajikistan’s Parliament has adopted a moratorium on the death penalty. Passage by the upper house and the signature of the President are reportedly assured. The Tajik moratorium will leave Uzbekistan as the only republic in Central Asia that continues to carry out executions. Experts on Central Asia believe that

NEW RESOURCE: Catholic Views on the Death Penalty

Posted: June 8, 2004
Professor emeritus James J. Megivern of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington examines the shift in Roman Catholic Church teaching regarding capital punishment in “Judge Noonan, Church Change, and the Death Penalty,” published by the University of St. Thomas Law Journal. In the article, Megivern outlines Judge John T. Noonan’s remarks on this issue and provides additional insight about the historical milestones that have occurred as the Church began to issue public calls for an end to executions, including the post-World War II

PUBLIC OPINION: Support for Death Penalty Remains Lower

Posted: June 7, 2004
A May 2004 poll by the political consulting firm of Ayres McHenry and Associates found that 66% of respondents support capital punishment for murder, a figure that reflects the lower support for the death penalty found in several polls taken in 2003. (Ayres McHenry and Associates, May 2004) In 2003, polling results published by Gallup Poll, ABC News, and the Pew Research Center all measured support for capital punishment at 64%, significantly below the public’s support for capital punishment in

JUVENILE DEATH PENALTY: Psychiatrists Say Teen Brains Still Developing

Posted: June 4, 2004
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments in Roper v. Simmons regarding the death penalty for juvenile offenders, researchers have found critical evidence that the brain continues to change dramatically during adolescence. This research may help explain the impulsive, often irrational behavior seen in some teenagers. “Kids may know the difference between right and wrong, but that does not stop them from doing dumb and dangerous things that they would never think of doing as adults,” stated David Fassler, a child psychiatrist and professor of

Arizona Prosecutor Disbarred for Eliciting False Testimony in Death Penalty Case

Posted: June 3, 2004
The Arizona Supreme Court has ordered that former Pima County prosecutor Kenneth Peasley be disbarred for knowingly eliciting false testimony in a capital murder case. After studying the results of a review conducted by its Disciplinary Commission, the Supreme Court noted that the use of false testimony in the trial of two men accused in a 1992 triple-murder case “could not have been more harmful to the justice system.” In their unanimous decision, the Justices stated, “A prosecutor who deliberately presents false testimony, especially in a capital case, has caused incalculable injury

Gallup Poll Finds Decreased Support for Death Penalty When Compared with Life Sentence

Posted: June 2, 2004
A May 2004 Gallup Poll found that a growing number of Americans support a sentence of life without parole rather than the death penalty for those convicted of murder. Gallup found that 46% of respondents favor life imprisonment over the death penalty, up from 44% in May 2003. During that same time frame, support for capital punishment as an alternative fell from 53% to 50%. The poll also revealed a growing skepticism that the death penalty deters crime, with 62% of those polled saying that it is not a deterrent.


Posted: May 27, 2004
Gordon “Randy” Steidl is scheduled to be freed from an Illinois prison today (May 28th), 17 years after he was wrongly convicted and sentenced to die for the 1986 murders of Dyke and Karen Rhoads. He will be the nation’s 114th death row inmate to be exonerated and the 18th freed in Illinois. The case against Steidl has long drawn criticism from journalists such as Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune, and investigators familiar with the facts of the crime. An Illinois State Police investigation in

NEW RESOURCE: “Death Penalty – Beyond Abolition”

Posted: May 27, 2004
“Death Penalty – Beyond Abolition” details the path to abolition of the death penalty in Europe, the only region in the world where capital punishment has been almost completely eradicated. The book also examines how this development has impacted other nations around the world. With articles focusing on issues such as working with murder victims’ families and finding appropriate alternatives to the death penalty, the book examines the pioneering role that the Council of Europe has played in eliminating the death penalty through a series of enacted protocols