Publications & Testimony

Items: 11 — 20

May 31, 2024

Discussions with DPIC Podcast: Lamont Hunter on His Wrongful Conviction and Release

In this month’s episode of Discussions with DPIC, Managing Director Anne Holsinger speaks with Lamont Hunter (pic­tured), a for­mer Ohio death-sen­tenced pris­on­er who was wrong­ful­ly con­vict­ed of caus­ing the death of his three-year-old son. After near­ly 18 years of incar­cer­a­tion, Mr. Hunter was released from Ohio’s death row on June 15, 2023, after plead­ing guilty to less­er charges in exchange for his free­dom. Since his release, Mr. Hunter has spo­ken wide­ly about his expe­ri­ence with the…

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May 30, 2024

Amnesty International Global Report (2023): Lowest Number of Countries Carried Out Highest Number of Recorded Executions in Nearly a Decade, Driven by Iran (74% of Total)

According to Amnesty International’s annu­al death penal­ty report for 2023, 16 coun­tries car­ried out the 1,153 known exe­cu­tions last year, con­sti­tut­ing the low­est num­ber of exe­cut­ing coun­tries on record with the orga­ni­za­tion but the high­est record­ed exe­cu­tion num­bers since 2015. The 31% glob­al increase in record­ed exe­cu­tions is attrib­ut­able to the 48% rise in exe­cu­tions in Iran (at least 853 exe­cu­tions), which account­ed for 74% of record­ed exe­cu­tions world­wide. Saudi Arabia came in sec­ond with…

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May 29, 2024

Recent Decisions in Capital Cases Reflect Growing Understanding of How Serious Mental Illness Affects Behavior and Culpability

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the impact of men­tal ill­ness is keen­ly felt on death row: at least two in five peo­ple exe­cut­ed have a doc­u­ment­ed seri­ous men­tal ill­ness, and research sug­gests that many more death-sen­tenced pris­on­ers are undi­ag­nosed. A nation­al major­i­ty, 60% of Americans, oppos­es exe­cut­ing peo­ple with seri­ous men­tal ill­ness. In the past two decades, sci­ence and med­i­cine have con­tributed to a much bet­ter under­stand­ing of how seri­ous men­tal ill­ness, which refers to…

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May 28, 2024

Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals Categorically Bars Review of Racial Bias in Capital Jury Selection

On May 3, 2024, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals announced its deci­sion in the case of Christopher Henderson, a death-sen­tenced man who had been tried by an all-white jury in Madison County, Alabama, where the pop­u­la­tion is 24.6% Black. Prosecutors in his cap­i­tal tri­al used peremp­to­ry strikes to remove six of the 10 qual­i­fied Black poten­tial jurors and all remain­ing jurors of col­or. Mr. Henderson’s coun­sel from the Equal Justice Initiative iden­ti­fied evi­dence that the prosecutor’s…

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May 24, 2024

Article of Interest: Retired Supervising Detective Says There Was No Crime in Robert Roberson’s Case

In a May 23, 2024 op-ed pub­lished in The Dallas Morning News, Brian Wharton, the retired super­vis­ing detec­tive in Robert Roberson’s case, urged Anderson County District Attorney Allyson Mitchell to reex­am­ine the case and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to reex­am­ine a pend­ing motion on Mr. Roberson’s inno­cence claims, which have pre­vi­ous­ly been denied. It would be a ter­ri­ble lega­cy for all of us to be asso­ci­at­ed with exe­cut­ing an inno­cent man based on a rush to judg­ment and…

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May 22, 2024

Family of Youngest Person Executed in Pennsylvania History Sues County for His Wrongful Conviction and Execution 93 Years Ago

Susie Williams Carter was just a baby when her 16-year-old broth­er, Alexander McClay Williams, was con­vict­ed of mur­der and exe­cut­ed in Pennsylvania in 1931. Over 90 years lat­er, Ms. Carter, now 94, con­tin­ues her family’s deter­mi­na­tion to clear her brother’s name. In June 2022, a Delaware County, Pennsylvania judge agreed that law enforce­ment had dis­re­gard­ed evi­dence and coerced Mr. Williams into sign­ing mul­ti­ple false con­fes­sions. All charges against Mr. Williams were posthu­mous­ly dismissed…

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May 21, 2024

Alabama District Attorney Files Amicus Brief in Support of New Trial for Toforest Johnson

On May 20, 2024, Jefferson County, Alabama District Attorney Danny Carr asked a cir­cuit judge to grant a new tri­al to Toforest Johnson (cen­ter), an Alabama death row pris­on­er whose con­vic­tion DA Carr believes is fun­da­men­tal­ly unre­li­able.” This extra­or­di­nary request is the lat­est in a series of appeals for Mr. Johnson, who was sen­tenced to death in 1998 for the 1995 mur­der of Jefferson County Deputy Sheriff William Hardy but has always main­tained his inno­cence. A thor­ough review and…

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May 17, 2024

Tennessee Authorizes Death Penalty for Child Sexual Assault in Direct Challenge to Supreme Court Precedent

On May 9, Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee signed a bill autho­riz­ing the death penal­ty for aggra­vat­ed rape of a child, fol­low­ing Florida’s pas­sage of a sim­i­lar law last year. Both laws con­tra­dict long­stand­ing Supreme Court prece­dent hold­ing the death penal­ty uncon­sti­tu­tion­al for non-homi­cide crimes. Tennessee’s law takes effect on July 1. The state has had a death penal­ty mora­to­ri­um in place since May 2022 after Governor Lee learned that state offi­cials had failed to test exe­cu­tion drugs for…

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May 16, 2024

New DPIC Report Traces Ohio’s History of Racial Violence to the Modern Use of Capital Punishment in the State

On Tuesday, the Death Penalty Information Center released a new report that con­nects Ohio’s racial his­to­ry to the mod­ern use of the death penal­ty in the state. Broken Promises: How a History of Racial Violence and Bias Shaped Ohio’s Death Penalty doc­u­ments how racial dis­crim­i­na­tion is the through­line that runs from the state’s found­ing to its appli­ca­tion of cap­i­tal punishment…

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