Publications & Testimony

Items: 11 — 20

Feb 07, 2024

Worldwide Wednesday International Roundup: China, Ghana, Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia, United States, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe

The January 25, 2024 exe­cu­tion of Kenneth Smith in the state of Alabama with nitro­gen gas received wide­spread inter­na­tion­al con­dem­na­tion. The European Union reit­er­at­ed its com­mit­ment to abol­ish­ing the death penal­ty and called the exe­cu­tion method a par­tic­u­lar­ly cru­el and unusu­al pun­ish­ment.” The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, stat­ed: I deeply regret the exe­cu­tion of Kenneth Eugene Smith in Alabama despite seri­ous con­cerns that this nov­el and untest­ed method of suf­fo­ca­tion may amount to tor­ture, cru­el, inhu­man or degrad­ing treat­ment.” A January 30 state­ment by four United…

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Feb 06, 2024

South Carolina Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Constitutionality of Electrocution and Firing Squad, Considers Scope of Secrecy Law

On February 6, 2024, the South Carolina Supreme Court heard oral argu­ments in Owens v. Stirling, a case in which death-sen­tenced pris­on­ers chal­lenged the state’s elec­tro­cu­tion and fir­ing squad exe­cu­tion meth­ods as uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. A South Carolina tri­al court had pre­vi­ous­ly held an exten­sive evi­den­tiary hear­ing and issued an injunc­tion against use of those meth­ods based on the state’s con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­hi­bi­tion against cru­el,” unusu­al,” or cor­po­ral” pun­ish­ments. For almost 90 min­utes the par­ties dis­cussed the expert tes­ti­mo­ny and evi­dence con­sid­ered by the dis­trict court, while also spend­ing sub­stan­tial time debat­ing the…

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Feb 05, 2024

Two Death Row Exonerees Passed Away in January 2024

Two of the 196 peo­ple who have been exon­er­at­ed from death row in the U.S. died in a two-week span in January 2024. Their cas­es high­light the human costs of wrong­ful con­vic­tions and the chal­lenges faced by exonerees. Clifford Williams, Jr. (pic­tured, left), who was wrong­ful­ly incar­cer­at­ed for 42 years in Florida, died January 11, less than five years after he was freed. Michael Graham, Jr. (pic­tured, below), who spent 14 years on death row in Louisiana before being exon­er­at­ed in 2000, died January 24.

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Feb 02, 2024

Ohio Officials Divided on Death Penalty as Attorney General Pushes New Bill to Legalize Nitrogen Hypoxia for Executions

On Tuesday, January 30, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced new leg­is­la­tion to autho­rize the use of nitro­gen gas in exe­cu­tions in the state. Joined by sev­er­al Republican state rep­re­sen­ta­tives and Louis Tobin of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, AG Yost said that he is seek­ing to kick­start” Ohio’s death penal­ty after a six-year pause in exe­cu­tions due to dif­fi­cul­ties obtain­ing lethal injec­tion drugs. The sta­tus quo is unac­cept­able,” he said. According to the text of the pro­posed bill, H.B. 392, a pris­on­er could elect lethal injec­tion or nitro­gen hypoxia…

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Jan 31, 2024

Examining the Implications of Uncontested Prosecutor Elections in Ohio

In a new arti­cle from Bolts, jour­nal­ist Daniel Nichanian writes about the dearth of can­di­dates in Ohio’s coun­ty pros­e­cu­tor elec­tions. Of the 27 coun­ties with more than 100,000 res­i­dents in Ohio, 70 per­cent drew just one can­di­date” to run for elec­tion or reelec­tion as coun­ty pros­e­cu­tor. Only 15 of Ohio’s 88 pros­e­cu­tor elec­tions this year drew mul­ti­ple can­di­dates by the December dead­line, accord­ing to Bolts’ research: This means that the vast major­i­ty of the state’s pros­e­cut­ing attor­neys are run­ning unop­posed this year; Bolts has con­firmed that no more than one can­di­date has…

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Jan 30, 2024

Louisiana Supreme Court Grants New Trial Based on Prosecutorial Misconduct while New Governor Landry Moves to Expand Methods of Execution and Restart Executions

On January 26, 2024, the Louisiana Supreme Court grant­ed a new tri­al to death-sen­tenced pris­on­er Darrell Robinson based on egre­gious pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al mis­con­duct. The Court held that Mr. Robinson did not receive a fair tri­al, or a ver­dict wor­thy of con­fi­dence.” Mr. Robinson’s quest to prove his inno­cence advances at the same time that Governor Jeff Landry seeks to expand the state’s meth­ods of exe­cu­tion and restart exe­cu­tions. During a tumul­tuous 2023 in which out­go­ing Governor John Bel Edwards sup­port­ed clemen­cy review for Louisiana’s entire death row, only to be blocked…

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Jan 29, 2024

Lawyers for 65-Year-Old Prisoner with Vascular Dementia Say He is Incompetent to be Executed Days After Utah Requests Execution Date and Use of Firing Squad

On January 23, 2024, attor­neys for Utah death-sen­tenced pris­on­er Ralph Menzies, who has been diag­nosed with a major neu­rocog­ni­tive dis­or­der known as vas­cu­lar demen­tia, filed a peti­tion in state court alleg­ing he is incom­pe­tent to be exe­cut­ed. Mr. Menzies, who uses a walk­er to nav­i­gate the pris­ons, has been on Utah’s death row for near­ly 36 years. On January 17, 2024, Utah’s attor­ney general’s office filed a motion with courts to set an exe­cu­tion date for him and indi­cat­ed it will use the fir­ing squad. 

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Jan 26, 2024

The World is Watching”: Witnesses Report Kenneth Smith Appeared Conscious, Shook and Writhed” During First-Ever Nitrogen Hypoxia Execution

On January 25, 2024, Alabama exe­cut­ed Kenneth Smith using nitro­gen hypox­ia, a first in American his­to­ry. Though state attor­neys had assured courts that the method would cause uncon­scious­ness in sec­onds,” wit­ness­es report­ed that Mr. Smith appeared awake for sev­er­al min­utes after the nitro­gen gas began. They observed that he shook and writhed” for at least two min­utes before breath­ing heav­i­ly for anoth­er few min­utes. This was the fifth exe­cu­tion that I’ve wit­nessed in Alabama, and I have nev­er seen such a vio­lent reac­tion to an exe­cu­tion,” said media wit­ness Lee…

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