Publications & Testimony

Testimony and Statements on the Death Penalty



For testimony by former Executive Director Robert Dunham and former Executive Director Richard C. Dieter, please visit our page DPIC Testimony.







Apr 18, 2024

United States Provides Binding Assurances to the United Kingdom that Julian Assange Will Not Face the Death Penalty If Extradited

On April 16, 2024, the Biden Administration pro­vid­ed assur­ances to the United Kingdom that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is fac­ing extra­di­tion to the United States on espi­onage charges, would not face the death penal­ty. A hear­ing is now sched­uled in London on May 20 to eval­u­ate the assur­ances and decide whether Mr. Assange has any remain­ing legal recourse. A few weeks ear­li­er, the High Court in London grant­ed Mr. Assange a reprieve from extra­di­tion, agree­ing to grant him an appeal if the United States was unable to pro­vide assur­ances that…

Read More

Apr 17, 2024

Justices Sotomayor and Jackson Issue Dissents Over Supreme Court’s Refusal to Review Two Capital Misconduct Cases

On Monday, April 15, Justices Ketanji Brown Jackson and Sonia Sotomayor issued dis­sents over the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the peti­tions of two death-sen­tenced pris­on­ers who alleged offi­cial mis­con­duct in their cas­es. In the first case, Dillion Compton alleged that Texas pros­e­cu­tors ille­gal­ly used thir­teen of their fif­teen peremp­to­ry strikes to remove female prospec­tive jurors because of their gen­der. In the sec­ond case, Kurt Michaels argued that California police offi­cers unlaw­ful­ly con­tin­ued to ques­tion him after he invoked his Miranda rights, lead­ing Mr. Michaels to even­tu­al­ly con­fess, and his confession…

Read More

Apr 16, 2024

Trial Judge Signs Agreed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, Recommending Melissa Lucio’s Conviction and Death Sentence Be Overturned

On April 12, 2024, Judge Arturo Nelson signed an Agreed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law sub­mit­ted by the pros­e­cu­tion and defense stat­ing that Melissa Lucio (pic­tured) was not giv­en access to favor­able infor­ma­tion in the prosecution’s pos­ses­sion at the time of tri­al. The acknowl­edge­ment of this con­sti­tu­tion­al error result­ed in Judge Nelson’s rec­om­men­da­tion to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (TCCA) that Ms. Lucio’s con­vic­tion and death sen­tence be over­turned. The rul­ing marks the lat­est chap­ter in a saga that saw Ms. Lucio nar­row­ly avoid an exe­cu­tion date…

Read More

Apr 15, 2024

Wilbert Rideau, former Louisiana Death-Sentenced Prisoner, is Honored for Extraordinary Journalism During 44 Years at Angola Prison

On April 12, 2024, Long Island University cel­e­brat­ed the 2023 George Polk Awards in Journalism, hon­or­ing inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ists and rec­og­niz­ing six­teen for­mer win­ners, includ­ing for­mer­ly death-sen­tenced pris­on­er Wilbert Rideau. Mr. Rideau spent forty-four years incar­cer­at­ed in Louisiana’s Angola State Penitentiary where he cre­at­ed The Lifer, one of the first Black prison peri­od­i­cals. Sentenced to death in 1961 at age nine­teen, Mr. Rideau spent twelve years on death row before the United States Supreme Court’s deci­sion in Furman v. Georgia (1972), which struck down Louisiana’s cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment scheme. Mr. Rideau was…

Read More

Apr 12, 2024

John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight” Criticizes Execution Secrecy Laws and Sketchy” Procurement of Pentobarbital by Federal Government

During the April 7, 2024, episode of Last Week Tonight,” host John Oliver focused on grim devel­op­ments” in the death penal­ty since his last seg­ment cov­er­ing lethal injec­tion in 2019. Since then, 91 peo­ple have been exe­cut­ed, includ­ing 13 fed­er­al pris­on­ers dur­ing for­mer President Donald Trump’s admin­is­tra­tion. Our fed­er­al and state gov­ern­ments have con­tin­ued to pur­sue ques­tion­ably legal and def­i­nite­ly hor­ri­fy­ing ways, that, again, I would argue they shouldn’t be doing at all,” Mr. Oliver assert­ed. He explained that the increased dif­fi­cul­ty in obtain­ing drugs required for lethal injec­tion has…

Read More

Apr 11, 2024

Rare Agreement Between District Attorney and Defense Counsel Acknowledge Prosecutorial Misconduct and Need for New Trial for Melissa Lucio

On April 5, 2024, Cameron County District Attorney Luis Saenz and Innocence Project attor­ney Vanessa Potkin released a joint state­ment regard­ing Melissa Lucio’s case, which has been pend­ing addi­tion­al review for almost two years. On January 11, 2023, the par­ties sub­mit­ted an Agreed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law stat­ing that the defense was not giv­en access to favor­able infor­ma­tion in the prosecution’s pos­ses­sion at tri­al, an error that they agree should enti­tle Ms. Lucio to a new tri­al. Under Texas pro­ce­dure the tri­al court must make a recommendation…

Read More

Apr 10, 2024

Lawsuit Filed at the California Supreme Court Alleges Racist Application of the Death Penalty Violates the State Constitution

On April 9, 2024, the California Office of the State Public Defender, along with sev­er­al civ­il rights groups, filed an extra­or­di­nary writ peti­tion at the California Supreme Court argu­ing that the state’s cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment sys­tem vio­lates the state’s Constitution because of its racial­ly biased imple­men­ta­tion. In 2021, the California Committee on Revision of the Penal Code con­firmed that racial bias is entrenched in the state’s death penal­ty sys­tem. The California Constitution does not per­mit a two-tiered sys­tem of jus­tice where the most severe sen­tence the state has on its books…

Read More

Apr 09, 2024

Santa Clara, California County District Attorney Requests Resentencing for County’s Entire Death Row

On April 5, 2024, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen filed peti­tions ask­ing the coun­ty supe­ri­or court to resen­tence 15 death-sen­tenced men from his coun­ty to sen­tences of life in prison with­out the pos­si­bil­i­ty for parole. These peti­tions were filed four years after DA Rosen announced his office would no longer seek the death penal­ty, a deci­sion part­ly in response to nation­wide calls for crim­i­nal legal reform fol­low­ing the mur­der of George Floyd. At the time, DA Rosen said that Mr. Floyd’s death had changed our coun­try and our…

Read More

Apr 08, 2024

Ohio’s Attorney General’s Report Describes Death Penalty as Enormously Expensive” and Broken” in 2023 Capital Crimes Report

At a time when faith in society’s insti­tu­tions is at an all-time low, the fail­ure of the cap­i­tal-pun­ish­ment sys­tem could be Exhibit A,” con­cludes the annu­al Capital Crimes Report issued by by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. The Report high­lights numer­ous prob­lems with its bro­ken” cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment sys­tem, includ­ing the enor­mous­ly expen­sive” cost. 

Read More

Apr 05, 2024

Missouri’s First Execution of 2024 Scheduled for Man Whose Trial Lawyers Had Conflicts of Interest and Who Has Unprecedented Support for Clemency

Brian Dorsey (pic­tured), a Missouri death row pris­on­er sched­uled for exe­cu­tion on April 9, 2024, has gar­nered wide­spread sup­port for clemen­cy from more than 70 cor­rec­tions offi­cials, a for­mer Missouri Supreme Court Judge, mul­ti­ple jurors, Democratic and Republican state leg­is­la­tors, faith lead­ers, and his fam­i­ly mem­bers — sev­er­al of whom are relat­ed to the vic­tims, Sarah and Ben Bonnie — all of whom have called on Governor Mike Parson to com­mute his sen­tence to life in prison with­out the pos­si­bil­i­ty of parole. Noteworthy among these sup­port­ers is a group of…

Read More