Publications & Testimony

Items: 21 — 30

Oct 31, 2023

SCOTUS Denies Review to Texas Prisoner Sentenced to Death with Contested Junk Science

On October 30, 2023, the United States Supreme Court denied Texas death-sen­tenced pris­on­er Brent Brewer’s (pic­tured) peti­tion for cer­tio­rari, clear­ing the way for his sched­uled exe­cu­tion on November 9th. Mr. Brewer’s attor­neys argue that unre­li­able future dan­ger­ous­ness” junk sci­ence tes­ti­mo­ny from a psy­chi­a­trist who nev­er even met Mr. Brewer result­ed in his death sen­tence. Following the Supreme Court’s deci­sion, attor­neys for Mr. Brewer sub­mit­ted a clemen­cy appli­ca­tion, detail­ing the fact that one of his jurors did not want to sen­tence him to death. The appli­ca­tion also details Mr. Brewer’s good…

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Oct 27, 2023

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Issues Last-Minute Stay in William Speer’s Scheduled Execution

On October 26, 2023, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (TCCA) grant­ed a stay of exe­cu­tion for William Speer, who was set to be exe­cut­ed the same evening for the killing of anoth­er pris­on­er 26 years ago. Mr. Speer has been sched­uled to die by lethal injec­tion, but his attor­neys asked the TCCA to pause his exe­cu­tion over alle­ga­tions that pros­e­cu­tors failed to dis­close evi­dence at tri­al, know­ing­ly pre­sent­ed false tes­ti­mo­ny, and that his tri­al lawyers pro­vid­ed inad­e­quate rep­re­sen­ta­tion by fail­ing to present mit­i­gat­ing evi­dence of severe child­hood trau­ma and…

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Oct 26, 2023

Vic Fischer, co-sponsor of Alaska abolition bill, dies at 99

On October 22, 2023, Vic Fischer, the last sur­viv­ing sign­er of the Alaskan state con­sti­tu­tion, died at age 99. Mr. Fischer, along with Rep. Warren Taylor, spon­sored the death penal­ty abo­li­tion bill that passed in the Alaska territory’s leg­is­la­ture in 1957, two years before Alaska gained state­hood. The bill read: The death penal­ty is and shall here­after be abol­ished as pun­ish­ment in Alaska for the com­mis­sion of any crime.”

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Oct 24, 2023

Use of Nitrogen Hypoxia for Alabama Executions Could Endanger Spiritual Advisors and Prison Staff in the Execution Chamber

In August 2023, Alabama released the first-ever exe­cu­tion pro­to­col for nitro­gen hypox­ia, an untest­ed exe­cu­tion method in which pris­on­ers will be put to death by suf­fo­ca­tion as they are forced to breathe pure nitro­gen gas. Alabama’s heav­i­ly redact­ed pro­to­col pro­vides that pris­on­ers will be fit­ted with a mask and breath­ing tube to con­trol the gas, which will slow­ly deprive them of oxy­gen. However, use of this untest­ed method may also pose dan­gers to spir­i­tu­al advi­sors and prison staff in the exe­cu­tion chamber.

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Oct 23, 2023

In New Podcast, Rush to Kill Documents 6‑Month Federal Execution Spree Under President Donald Trump’s Administration

In July 2020, President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice, under the direc­tion of Attorney General Bill Barr, resumed fed­er­al exe­cu­tions for the first time in 17 years. Over the course of the fol­low­ing six months, 13 fed­er­al death row pris­on­ers were exe­cut­ed. During those six months, the WFIU News team was grant­ed the oppor­tu­ni­ty to report on and wit­ness all 13 exe­cu­tions at United States Penitentiary, Terre Haute in Indiana. In the time since these exe­cu­tions, the WFIU News team col­lect­ed doc­u­ments and inter­viewed those con­nect­ed to every fed­er­al execution…

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Oct 20, 2023

DPIC Releases Update to Death Row Census

The Death Penalty Information Center has updat­ed its Death Penalty Census, a data­base of every death sen­tence imposed since 1972. The data­base now con­tains infor­ma­tion accu­rate as of January 1, 2022, inclu­sive of the 50th year of the mod­ern death penal­ty. The Census con­tains infor­ma­tion on 9,820 death sen­tences imposed on 8,842 defen­dants. It includes the name, race, and gen­der of each defen­dant, along with the region, state, coun­ty, and year in which the sen­tence was imposed.

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Oct 19, 2023

Idaho Parole Board Grants Clemency Hearing for 73-Year-Old Death Row Prisoner Facing Execution

On October 18, 2023, the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole delayed the sched­uled exe­cu­tion for Thomas Creech in order to pro­vide him with a full clemen­cy hear­ing. A date for the hear­ing has not yet been sched­uled. An Ada County, Idaho judge pre­vi­ous­ly issued a death war­rant for Mr. Creech, who has been on death row for near­ly 44 years, set­ting his exe­cu­tion for November 8, 2023. The Idaho Department of Corrections (IDOC) announced that they have secured the appro­pri­ate drugs to car­ry out a lethal injec­tion exe­cu­tion, despite…

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Oct 18, 2023

Prosecutors Refusal to Test DNA Evidence Forces Oklahoma Death-Sentenced Prisoner Set for Execution to File Federal Lawsuit

On October 4, 2023, Phillip Hancock, an Oklahoma death-sen­tenced pris­on­er sched­uled for exe­cu­tion on November 30, filed a Section 1983 law­suit in fed­er­al court request­ing the release of phys­i­cal evi­dence for DNA test­ing to sup­port his long-main­tained claim of self-defense. The State has repeat­ed­ly opposed his efforts to test the evi­dence and Oklahoma state courts have also repeat­ed­ly denied his requests. 

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Oct 17, 2023

Victim’s Sister, Faith Leaders, and Others Plead for Clemency for Will Speer, Faith Based Coordinator on Texas’ Death Row

On Friday, October 13, the sole sur­viv­ing fam­i­ly mem­ber of mur­der vic­tim Gary L. Dickerson joined dozens of faith lead­ers and oth­ers in ask­ing the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles for clemen­cy for Will Speer. Mr. Speer is set to be exe­cut­ed on October 26, 2023. After a child­hood of hor­rif­ic abuse, a life sen­tence by age 18, and a judg­ment of death by age 23, Mr. Speer devot­ed him­self to the study of Christianity and has become a promi­nent prison min­is­ter. In my heart, I feel that he…

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Oct 16, 2023

Louisiana Board of Pardons and Committee on Parole Denies Clemency Hearings for Five Death-Sentenced Prisoners

On October 13, 2023, after a brief admin­is­tra­tive hear­ing, the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Committee on Parole denied clemen­cy hear­ings for five of the 56 death-sen­tenced pris­on­ers seek­ing clemen­cy before Governor John Bel Edwards leaves office in January 2024. The four-mem­ber pan­el split its vote on four of the five appli­ca­tions, with a major­i­ty deny­ing the fifth appli­ca­tion on the grounds that Winthrop Eaton is unlike­ly to be exe­cut­ed because he is men­tal­ly incom­pe­tent. Clifford Deruise, Daniel Irish, Emmett Taylor, and Antoinette Frank were denied clemen­cy hear­ings despite having…

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