Publications & Testimony

Items: 41 — 50

Oct 06, 2023

New Details Emerge Surrounding Federal Executions Under Trump Administration

A recent arti­cle by Associated Press jour­nal­ist Michael Tarm reports new details about the thir­teen fed­er­al exe­cu­tions that took place in 20192020, includ­ing last-minute clemen­cy appeals for death-sen­tenced pris­on­ers like Brandon Bernard. Mr. Tarm wit­nessed ten of the exe­cu­tions and spoke with a num­ber of indi­vid­u­als who were involved in the process for his sto­ry. As a result of these inter­views, he says that the fuller pic­ture that has emerged shows that offi­cials cut cor­ners and relied on a pli­ant Supreme Court to get the exe­cu­tions done, even…

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Oct 05, 2023

World Psychiatric Association Releases Report Opposing the Death Penalty for People with Mental Illness or Development and Intellectual Disabilities

In July 2023, the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) released its report and posi­tion state­ment on men­tal health and the death penal­ty. The issues addressed in the report include: the impo­si­tion of the death penal­ty on pris­on­ers with men­tal ill­ness or devel­op­men­tal and intel­lec­tu­al dis­abil­i­ties, the over­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of death-sen­tenced pris­on­ers who have been socioe­co­nom­i­cal­ly mar­gin­al­ized, and the role of psy­chi­a­trists in death penal­ty cases. 

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Oct 04, 2023

LA District Attorney Won’t Pursue the Death Penalty Because it Doesn’t Serve as a Deterrent” and Does Not Bring People Back”

On September 26, 2023, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced that he would not seek the death penal­ty in the case of slain Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer. If I thought that the death penal­ty was going to stop peo­ple from com­mit­ting bru­tal mur­ders, I would seek it. But we know that it won’t,” said Gascón at a news con­fer­ence, The real­i­ty is that the death penal­ty doesn’t serve as a deter­rent, and the death penal­ty does not bring peo­ple back. …What I can assure you is that we’re…

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Oct 03, 2023

Analysis Shows Supreme Court’s Changing View of Death Penalty Cases

A recent analy­sis by Bloomberg Law con­clud­ed that death-sen­tenced pris­on­ers have few­er avenues to relief at the Supreme Court than ever before. Bloomberg iden­ti­fied 270 emer­gency requests to stay exe­cu­tions since 2013 and found that the Court agreed to block an exe­cu­tion just 11 times. Since 2020, when the Court shift­ed to a 6 – 3 con­ser­v­a­tive major­i­ty fol­low­ing the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the appoint­ment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the Court has grant­ed just two stays of exe­cu­tion. One, for John Henry Ramirez, chal­lenged not the execution…

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Sep 29, 2023

Federal District Court Finds Scott Panetti Not Competent for Execution

On September 28, 2023, the Western District Court of Texas ruled that the state can­not exe­cute Scott Panetti (pic­tured), a death row pris­on­er with a decades-long his­to­ry of seri­ous men­tal health issues and a diag­no­sis of schiz­o­phre­nia. Despite a state expert con­ced­ing Mr. Panetti’s seri­ous men­tal ill­ness, Texas argued that he is com­pe­tent to face exe­cu­tion because he has some degree” of ratio­nal under­stand­ing. U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman ruled, how­ev­er, that “[Mr.] Panetti is not sane enough to be exe­cut­ed” and that he lack[s] a ratio­nal under­stand­ing of the…

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Sep 28, 2023

Guantanamo Bay Judge Rules 9/​11 Capital Defendant Mentally Incompetent to Stand Trial

On September 21, 2023, a mil­i­tary judge in Guantanamo Bay ruled that Ramzi Bin al Shibh, one of five defen­dants in the 9/​11 case for whom the death penal­ty is being sought, is men­tal­ly incom­pe­tent to stand tri­al. Mr. Bin al Shibh, who has been detained for 21 years, will remain in cus­tody at Guantanamo as author­i­ties attempt to treat the post-trau­mat­ic stress dis­or­der caused when he was forced to under­go enhanced inter­ro­ga­tions” by the U.S. government.

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Sep 27, 2023

Former Texas Death Row Prisoner Clinton Young Sues Prosecutor for Misconduct

On September 18, 2023, for­mer Texas death-sen­tenced pris­on­er Clinton Young filed a fed­er­al civ­il rights law­suit in the Western District of Texas, accus­ing two Midland County dis­trict attor­neys, the pros­e­cu­tor on his case, and Midland County itself, for vio­lat­ing his con­sti­tu­tion­al right to a fair tri­al. Just four months after his 18th birth­day in 2001, Mr. Young and two oth­ers, David Page and Darnell McCoy, went on a drug-induced spree that result­ed in the deaths of two indi­vid­u­als. In 2003, Mr. Young was sen­tenced to death for these mur­ders. He…

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Sep 26, 2023

New DPIC Podcast: Evangelical Pastor Rich Nathan Discusses How a Culture of Life” Informs His Opposition to the Death Penalty

In the September 2023 episode of Discussions with DPIC, Anne Holsinger, Managing Director of DPIC, speaks with Pastor Rich Nathan (pic­tured), found­ing pas­tor of Vineyard Columbus, an evan­gel­i­cal Christian church based in Ohio. Mr. Nathan shares how reli­gious teach­ings inform his posi­tion on the death penal­ty. For me, the oppo­si­tion to cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment has just been a nat­ur­al exten­sion of our pro-life posi­tion of build­ing an inclu­sive soci­ety, a soci­ety that wel­comes every­one into the human fam­i­ly and says. Listen, your worth is not depen­dent on whether some­body wants you or…

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Sep 25, 2023

The Metropolitan Opera Premieres Dead Man Walking” Based on the Book by Sister Helen Prejean

On September 26, 2023, the New York Metropolitan Opera will pre­miere Dead Man Walking” cre­at­ed by American com­pos­er Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally and fea­tur­ing a new stag­ing by Ivo van Hove. The opera is based on Sister Helen Prejean’s 1993 mem­oir which details her jour­ney as a pen pal and spir­i­tu­al advis­er to a death-sen­tenced pris­on­er at Louisiana’s Angola State Prison. It is the most per­formed con­tem­po­rary opera in the world. I can only think that some­how we told this human dra­ma very well,” Mr. Heggie said. It is an…

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