Items: 131 — 140

Aug 06, 2010

EDITORIALS: Implications of Texas Execution Based on Flawed Science

A recent edi­to­r­i­al in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram raised ques­tions about Texas’ entire death penal­ty sys­tem, giv­en the pre­lim­i­nary find­ing by the Texas Forensic Science Commission that arson experts relied on out­dat­ed and flawed sci­ence dur­ing their inves­ti­ga­tion of a death penal­ty case. Cameron Willingham was exe­cut­ed in 2004 for set­ting a fire that killed his three daugh­ters in 1991 based on this faulty research. Now it appears that the fire may not have been delib­er­ate at all. The Commission did not com­ment on whether the reliance on flawed science…

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Jul 21, 2010

Five Myths About the Death Penalty

David Garland, a pro­fes­sor of law and soci­ol­o­gy at New York University, recent­ly addressed some com­mon myths regard­ing the death penal­ty in America. In an op-ed in the Washington Post, Garland pro­vid­ed infor­ma­tion chal­leng­ing the com­mon wis­dom about cap­i­tal punishment:

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Jun 30, 2010

EDITORIALS: Forget the Death Penalty”

On June 24, the Democrat Herald (Oregon) fea­tured an edi­to­r­i­al about Randy Lee Guzek, who was recent­ly sen­tenced to death for the fourth time for mur­ders com­mit­ted in 1987. The Oregon Supreme Court over­turned his three pre­vi­ous death sen­tences on var­i­ous grounds. The edi­to­r­i­al ques­tioned whether such a death penal­ty process made any sense. If the pro­ce­dures are so dif­fi­cult that Oregon tri­al courts can­not get them right in three tries, maybe there is some­thing wrong with the pro­ce­dures and the sys­tem.” In 26 years, Oregon has exe­cut­ed two defendants,…

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Jun 24, 2010

EDITORIALS: Congress Must Rewrite the Law Governing Lawyers for Poor Death-Row Inmates”

The Washington Post recent­ly pub­lished an edi­to­r­i­al call­ing for Congress to rewrite the part of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 that gov­erns legal rep­re­sen­ta­tion for indi­gent death-penal­ty defen­dants. The law allows a fast-track for fed­er­al appeals of state cap­i­tal con­vic­tions pro­vid­ed states guar­an­tee and pay for a sys­tem of legal rep­re­sen­ta­tion that cov­ers all cap­i­tal defen­dants . Originally, the pro­gram had to be cer­ti­fied by the fed­er­al courts. In 2006, Congress changed the law, giv­ing the U.S. Attorney General the author­i­ty to cer­ti­fy a state that…

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Jun 01, 2010

EDITORIALS: Murder Victim’s Family Helps Case Settle with Life Sentence

When the stu­dent body pres­i­dent of the University of North Carolina, Eve Marie Carson, was mur­dered in 2008, both the state and the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment ini­ti­at­ed death penal­ty pros­e­cu­tions against one of the defen­dants. However, many of Ms. Carson’s fam­i­ly and friends were con­vinced that she opposed the death penal­ty and would not want it sought in her case. Family mem­bers were influ­en­tial in the recent deci­sion by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to accept a plea of guilty from defen­dant Demario Atwater in exchange for a sen­tence of life…

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May 11, 2010

The Angolite: A Prison Magazine’s Inside View on Choosing Execution

A recent issue of the award-win­ning prison news mag­a­zine, The Angolite, fea­tured a sto­ry by inmate Lane Nelson about Gerald Bordelon, the first per­son to be exe­cut­ed in Louisiana since 2002. Bordelon expe­dit­ed his own exe­cu­tion by choos­ing to waive his appeals, includ­ing his direct appeal, which was pre­vi­ous­ly thought to be a manda­to­ry part of the state’s death penal­ty process. Bordelon vol­un­teered for exe­cu­tion after he was found guilty of rap­ing and mur­der­ing his 12-year-old step­daugh­ter. The choice to waive his appeals was met with strong dis­agree­ment from his…

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May 03, 2010

Justice Stevens as Legal Innovator

Below is an essay for our thir­ty-day series on John Paul Stevens by James Liebman, the Simon H. Rifkind Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. Liebman was a clerk for Justice Stevens dur­ing the 1978 Term and has since argued sev­er­al cap­i­tal and habeas cor­pus cas­es before the Supreme Court.

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Apr 19, 2010

EDITORIAL: Death Penalty Neither Just Nor Moral”

A recent edi­to­r­i­al in the Salt Lake Tribune calls for Utahns and their elect­ed lead­ers to con­sid­er aban­don­ing the death penal­ty cit­ing that state-spon­sored killing of a human being, no mat­ter how heinous the crime, is per­mit­ted by a sys­tem that has been proven beyond doubt to be inher­ent­ly capri­cious, unfair and shock­ing­ly fal­li­ble.” The edi­to­r­i­al also point­ed to the declin­ing use of the death penal­ty nation­wide, with an all-time high of 328 death sen­tences in 1994 com­pared to 106 death sen­tences in 2009, a down­ward trend dri­ven by the…

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Apr 05, 2010

EDITORIALS: Dollars and Death”

A recent edi­to­r­i­al in the Philadelphia Inquirer cit­ed the high costs of Pennsylvanias death penal­ty as a key rea­son for sup­port­ing an abo­li­tion bill that was pro­posed last month by a state sen­a­tor. According to the edi­to­r­i­al, the state could sig­nif­i­cant­ly cut spend­ing by elim­i­nat­ing the death penal­ty and the lengthy court pro­ceed­ings that accom­pa­ny it. Taxpayers would also save by not hav­ing to main­tain the state’s high-secu­ri­ty death row, which cur­rent­ly hous­es 220 inmates. According to the edi­to­r­i­al, Pennsylvania has reached the point where the right moral course -…

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Mar 29, 2010

NEW VOICES: Death penalty hurts – not helps – families of murder victims”

Kathleen Garcia, a vic­tims’ advo­cate and expert on trau­mat­ic grief, recent­ly shared her opin­ions on the death penal­ty in New Hampshire, a state that is study­ing the issue through its Commission on Capital Punishment. Garcia, a mem­ber of New Jersey’s Death Penalty Study Commission, wrote, Make no mis­take – I am a con­ser­v­a­tive, a vic­tims’ advo­cate and a death penal­ty sup­port­er. But my real life expe­ri­ence has taught me that as long as the death penal­ty is on the books in any form, it will con­tin­ue to harm sur­vivors. For…

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