Items: 51 — 60

Nov 13, 2013

EDITORIALS: New Hampshire’s Concord Monitor Calls for Death Penalty Repeal

The Concord Monitor of New Hampshire called for repeal of the state’s death penal­ty in a recent edi­to­r­i­al. The paper con­trast­ed the case of Michael Addison, the state’s only death row inmate, to that of John Brooks, who was con­vict­ed of hir­ing three hit­men to kill a handy­man, whom Brooks believed had stolen from him. Brooks received a sen­tence of life with­out parole. The Monitor not­ed, Brooks was rich and white; Addison was poor and black.… Addison’s vic­tim had the full force of New Hampshire law enforce­ment watch­ing every twist…

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Oct 24, 2013

EDITORIALS: Possible Innocence Case Deserves DNA Testing

A recent edi­to­r­i­al in the Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio) called for DNA test­ing in the death penal­ty case of Tyrone Noling. Noling has been on death row for 17 years. His con­vic­tion was based large­ly on the tes­ti­mo­ny of three friends who have since recant­ed their sto­ries, claim­ing they were coerced by the pros­e­cu­tion. No phys­i­cal evi­dence linked Noling to the crime, and he has passed a poly­graph test. Noling is request­ing the test­ing of addi­tion­al evi­dence that could final­ly prove he was not involved in the crime. The editors…

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Oct 17, 2013

OP-ED: Changes are long overdue for Texas’ clemency process”

Michael Morton (pic­tured), who was released after 25 years in prison for a crime he did not com­mit, and Barry Scheck, co-direc­tor of the Innocence Project, called for reforms in Texas’s clemen­cy process. In a recent op-ed in the Houston Chronicle, Morton and Scheck high­light­ed the case of Cameron Willingham, who was exe­cut­ed in 2004 despite seri­ous doubts about his guilt. According to the authors, it is now under­stood that inves­ti­ga­tors who believed that Willingham com­mit­ted arson were mis­tak­en. They also not­ed that a recent inves­ti­ga­tion uncov­ered that a recantation…

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Oct 09, 2013

EDITORIALS: Wyoming Paper Recommends Life Sentences for Sake of Victims

Wyomings Casper Star-Tribune recent­ly point­ed out why many fam­i­lies of mur­der vic­tims favor life-with­out-parole sen­tences over the death penal­ty . “[I]t may be a sur­prise that many fam­i­lies of mur­der vic­tims pre­fer the life with­out parole sen­tence, sim­ply because it puts the killer away for­ev­er with­out the decades-long court appeals that can accom­pa­ny a death sen­tence,” the paper wrote. The edi­to­r­i­al not­ed that there is only one per­son on the state’s death row, and he is there for a crime com­mit­ted 25 years ago. Attention to the case often focuses…

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Sep 30, 2013

EDITORIALS: Boston Globe Recommends No Death Penalty For Marathon Bomber

A recent Boston Globe edi­to­r­i­al called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder not to seek the death penal­ty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man accused of car­ry­ing out the bomb­ing at the Boston Marathon. The edi­tors said the lengthy death-penal­ty process would put the spot­light on the defen­dant to the detri­ment of the vic­tims: Years of pro­ceed­ings, and their poten­tial cul­mi­na­tion in a death sen­tence, would also give Tsarnaev what he and his broth­er appar­ent­ly sought: pub­lic­i­ty and noto­ri­ety. Much bet­ter to let Tsarnaev slip into obscu­ri­ty in a fed­er­al prison…

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Sep 06, 2013

INNOCENCE: The Role of Journalists in Freeing An Innocent Man

The for­tu­itous inves­ti­ga­tion of a case by per­sis­tent jour­nal­ists, rather than the work­ings of the lim­it­ed appel­late process, has led to the exon­er­a­tion of a num­ber of inno­cent indi­vid­u­als. Maurice Possley (l.), a for­mer reporter for the Chicago Tribune, recent­ly wrote how he and fel­low-jour­nal­ist Steve Mills (r.) helped free Daniel Taylor (c.) in Illinois, where he had spent more than 20 years in prison. In 2001, the reporters pub­lished a sto­ry expos­ing the false and coerced con­fes­sion that led to Taylor’s con­vic­tion, but it would be more than a…

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Aug 27, 2013

EDITORIALS: Ohio Paper Calls for Transparency and Caution in Selecting Execution Process

As Ohio pre­pares to change its exe­cu­tion process in October, the Toledo Blade called on the state to stop the secre­cy sur­round­ing the selec­tion of an alter­na­tive to cur­rent lethal injec­tion drugs. The edi­tors wrote, No state should pro­ceed with sched­uled exe­cu­tions until the drug, or mul­tidrug cock­tail, it plans to use has been proven to be humane and effi­cient. The process of chang­ing how peo­ple are exe­cut­ed in Ohio should unfold with far more trans­paren­cy than the state Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has shown so far.” The editorial…

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Aug 08, 2013

False Confessions and Threats of the Death Penalty

A recent arti­cle in The Atlantic by Marc Bookman (pic­tured) shows how threats of the death penal­ty can con­tribute to false con­fes­sions. The piece recounts a Pennsylvania mur­der case in which two defen­dants, Russell Weinberger and Felix Rodriguez, admit­ted to a mur­der they did not com­mit, lead­ing to their impris­on­ment for over 21 years. Rodriguez described his inter­ro­ga­tion: First they showed me pic­tures of the dead guy. I start­ed to cry. I said I did­n’t do that. That’s when they slapped me on the back of my head, said They…

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Jul 15, 2013

The Writ of Habeas Corpus and the Warren Hill Case

UPDATE: Warren Hill was grant­ed a stay of exe­cu­tion by a Georgia court just hours before his sched­uled exe­cu­tion on July 15. A hear­ing is sched­uled for July 18 to con­sid­er chal­lenges to a new state law that shields the iden­ti­ty of the lethal injec­tion drug’s man­u­fac­tur­er and the pre­scrib­ing physi­cian from the pub­lic. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 15, 2013). As a peti­tion on behalf of Georgia death row inmate Warren Hill awaits con­sid­er­a­tion by the U.S. Supreme Court, the role of habeas cor­pus in pro­tect­ing defen­dants’ fun­da­men­tal rights has…

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Jul 01, 2013

NEW VOICES: Texas Paper Changes Its Death Penalty Position

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram announced a change in its stance on the death penal­ty in a recent edi­to­r­i­al mark­ing the 500th exe­cu­tion in Texas. While the news­pa­per had pre­vi­ous­ly endorsed a mora­to­ri­um on exe­cu­tions, it now sup­ports the abo­li­tion of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment. The edi­tors said that moral grounds alone are enough to war­rant end­ing the death penal­ty, but they also cit­ed a vari­ety of prob­lems in Texas’s use of the death penal­ty, includ­ing geo­graph­i­cal and racial dis­par­i­ties in sen­tenc­ing, and the state’s embarass­ing record of wrong­ful con­vic­tion.” The paper pointed…

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