DPIC Special Reports


Jun 16, 2023

Doomed to Repeat: The Legacy of Race in Tennessee’s Contemporary Death Penalty

The his­tor­i­cal use of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment in Tennessee shows a clear con­nec­tion between the extra­ju­di­cial lynch­ings of the 1800s and 1900s and the state sanc­tioned death penal­ty prac­tices of today. As one lynch­ing expert notes, “[l]ocal tra­di­tions, sit­u­a­tions, and per­son­al­i­ties must be con­sid­ered in any attempt to explain pat­terns of lynch­ing.…” This empha­sis on local­i­ty par­al­lels mod­ern death penal­ty trends in Tennessee — as well as the rest of the nation — where­in death sen­tenc­ing is heav­i­ly depen­dent on local cul­ture, pros­e­cu­tors, and per­cep­tions. An impor­tant lega­cy from the lynch­ing era and ear­ly executions…

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Oct 14, 2022

Deeply Rooted: How Racial History Informs Oklahoma’s Death Penalty

Oklahoma’s death penal­ty is at a cross­roads. On August 25, 2022, Oklahoma exe­cut­ed the first per­son in a series of 25 exe­cu­tions set to occur near­ly every month through 2024. The pro­ject­ed increase in exe­cu­tions in Oklahoma comes while the death penal­ty is in decline nation­wide; 2021 had the fewest exe­cu­tions since 1988. Furthermore, Oklahoma’s planned exe­cu­tions are sched­uled to move for­ward despite evi­dence that there are seri­ous prob­lems with Oklahoma’s death penal­ty that the state has done lit­tle to address.

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Feb 18, 2021

DPIC Special Report: The Innocence Epidemic

In 1993, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights con­duct­ed hear­ings on what was then a rel­a­tive­ly unknown ques­tion: How sig­nif­i­cant was the risk that inno­cent peo­ple were being wrong­ful­ly con­vict­ed and sen­tenced to death in the United States. After tak­ing tes­ti­mo­ny from four exonerees who had been wrong­ful­ly con­demned to death row, Representative Don Edwards, the sub­com­mit­tee chair­man, asked the Death Penalty Information Center to research the issue and com­pile infor­ma­tion on how fre­quent­ly these mis­car­riages of jus­tice were occur­ring and what were the rea­sons why.

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Oct 23, 2020

DPIC Analysis: Use or Threat of Death Penalty Implicated in 19 Exoneration Cases in 2019

The use or threat of the death penal­ty was a fac­tor in more than 13% of exon­er­a­tions across the United States in 2019 and near­ly 95% of those cas­es involved some form of major mis­con­duct, a Death Penalty Information Center analy­sis of data from the National Registry of Exonerations has revealed. The DPIC review found that the death penal­ty played a role in at least 19 of the 143 exon­er­a­tions in 2019 (13.3%) list­ed in the Registry’s annu­al exon­er­a­tions report, result­ing in near­ly 500 years lost to wrong­ful incar­cer­a­tion. Based…

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