Items: 101 — 110

Jan 09, 2012

DPIC IN THE NEWS: Media Coverage of Year End Report

Over 400 media out­lets around the coun­try report­ed on DPIC’s recent 2011 Year-End Report. Coverage includ­ed sto­ries on the dra­mat­ic drop in death sen­tences, the decline in exe­cu­tions, and few­er states hav­ing the death penal­ty. Articles appeared in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, Reuters, USA Today, CNN, TIME, and many oth­er papers. National broad­cast out­lets such as NBC’s Nightly News, National Public Radio’s Morning Editiion, and CBS Radio ran pieces, and the head­line news was not­ed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Other…

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Dec 01, 2011

EDITORIALS: An Intolerable Burden of Proof”

An edi­to­r­i­al in the New York Times crit­i­cized a recent rul­ing by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, uphold­ing the heavy bur­den Georgia places on offend­ers with intel­lec­tu­al dis­abil­i­ties. In order to be exempt from the death penal­ty, defen­dants must prove beyond a rea­son­able doubt” that they are men­tal­ly retard­ed. The U.S. Supreme Court held in 2002 that such defen­dants can­not receive the death penal­ty, but the Court left the pro­ce­dures for deter­min­ing this sta­tus to the states. According to the edi­to­r­i­al, Georgia is the only state…

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Nov 28, 2011

EDITORIALS: Calls for Florida to Revamp Its Untrustworthy Death Penalty System

The Orlando Sentinel in Florida recent­ly called on the state to change the unusu­al way in which it arrives at death sen­tences, rec­om­mend­ing instead unan­i­mous jury deci­sions for a death sen­tence, the pre­vail­ing prac­tice in the vast major­i­ty of states. In June, a fed­er­al judge declared Florida’s death penal­ty uncon­sti­tu­tion­al because it only requires a sim­ple major­i­ty to decide whether aggra­vat­ing fac­tors exist and to rec­om­mend a death sen­tence to the pre­sid­ing judge. In 2005, for­mer Florida Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero urged leg­is­la­tors to make a sim­i­lar change and…

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Nov 23, 2011

EDITORIALS: Praise for Oregon Governor’s Action Halting Executions

The Register Guard (Eugene, Oregon) praised Governor John Kitzhaber’s recent announce­ment halt­ing all exe­cu­tions, call­ing his con­clu­sion that the death penal­ty is moral­ly wrong and unjust­ly admin­is­tered” to be right on both counts.” In their edi­to­r­i­al, the paper not­ed that the gov­er­nor’s actions are in line with oth­er devel­op­ments in the U.S. and inter­na­tion­al­ly: Kitzhaber’s announce­ment came as the tide is turn­ing against the death penal­ty. Earlier this year, Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn abol­ished it in a state that since 1977 had wrong­ly con­demned at least 20 peo­ple to death.…

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Nov 01, 2011

EDITORIALS: Indiana’s Death Penalty Too Costly and Applied Unfairly”

In a recent edi­to­r­i­al in the Fort Wayne, Indiana, Journal Gazette, the paper wel­comed the pro­pos­al by the state’s Attorney General to recon­sid­er the death penal­ty in light of its enor­mous costs. At a Criminal Justice Summit held at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller asked state offi­cials to look at the death penal­ty from a prac­ti­cal per­spec­tive. He cit­ed a recent cap­i­tal tri­al in Warrick County that cost $500,000 in defense attor­ney fees alone. The costs can’t be borne by small­er coun­ties,” the paper quoted…

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Oct 05, 2011

OP-ED: Mario Cuomo Calls Capital Punishment Corrosive to Society

In a recent op-ed in the New York Daily News, for­mer New York Governor Mario Cuomo called the death penal­ty a seri­ous moral prob­lem” that is cor­ro­sive” to a demo­c­ra­t­ic cit­i­zen­ry. He said many of the prob­lems of the death penal­ty – inef­fec­tive­ness as a deter­rent, unfair­ness, and the risk of exe­cut­ing the inno­cent – are inevitable: These imper­fec­tions — as well as the hor­ri­ble and irre­versible injus­tice they can pro­duce — are inevitable. In this coun­try, a defen­dant is con­vict­ed on proof beyond a rea­son­able doubt — not proof that can be known…

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Sep 27, 2011

EDITORIALS: New York Times: An Indefensible Punishment”

The lead edi­to­r­i­al in the New York Times on September 26 called for an end to the death penal­ty because, the edi­tors said, it can­not be made to com­ply with the U.S. Constitution. The edi­toral reviewed the 35-year his­to­ry since the death penal­ty was rein­stat­ed in 1976 and con­clud­ed, The death penal­ty is grotesque and immoral and should be repealed.” The paper point­ed to the recent case of Troy Davis, who was exe­cut­ed on September 21 in Georgia, and to the con­tin­u­ing arbi­trari­ness in the way the death penal­ty is…

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Sep 15, 2011

Florida’s Death Penalty Marked by Arbitrary Decisions

Mike Thomas, colum­nist for the Orlando Sentinel in Florida, recent­ly exam­ined the arbi­trari­ness of the state’s death penal­ty sys­tem. There is no rhyme or rea­son here,” he wrote. A gov­er­nor’s deci­sion on whose death war­rant to sign, as well as a judge’s deci­sion on which appeal to accept, are about as arbi­trary as a pros­e­cu­tor’s deci­sion to pur­sue the death penal­ty. We spend an esti­mat­ed $51 mil­lion annu­al­ly on this non­sense, and for our invest­ment we haven’t exe­cut­ed any­one going on a year and a half.” Thomas exam­ined recent murder…

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Sep 01, 2011

STUDIES: Significant Racial Disparities Found in Military Death Penalty

A soon-to-be-pub­lished study has found sig­nif­i­cant racial dis­par­i­ties in the U.S. mil­i­tary’s death penal­ty. The study, which will be pub­lished in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, found that minori­ties in the mil­i­tary are twice as like­ly to be sen­tenced to death as whites accused of sim­i­lar crimes. The study exam­ined all 105 poten­tial cap­i­tal cas­es since the mil­i­tary death penal­ty was rein­stat­ed in 1984. Of the 16 death sen­tences hand­ed down in that time, 10 were of minor­i­ty defen­dants. The authors did not attribute the dis­par­i­ties to intentional…

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Aug 23, 2011

How Preconceptions and Bias May Have Led to Wrongful Convictions of West Memphis Three

In a recent op-ed in the L.A. Times, Professor Jennifer L. Mnookin (pic­tured) of the UCLA Law School pro­vid­ed an analy­sis of how pre­con­cep­tions and bias­es toward the uncon­ven­tion­al sus­pects known as the West Memphis Three may have led to their wrong­ful con­vic­tions and a death sen­tence in Arkansas in 1994. Because of the gris­ly nature of the mur­ders, inves­ti­ga­tors decid­ed ear­ly on that it was prob­a­bly relat­ed to satan­ic cult rit­u­als. This the­o­ry point­ed them to Damien Echols, who was a self-described Wiccan with an unusu­al taste in clothes…

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