Publications & Testimony

Items: 61 — 70

Nov 16, 2023

After Due Process Disaster,” Texas Death Row Prisoner Whose Appeal Was Lost is Resentenced and Eligible for Parole

A death-sen­tenced pris­on­er whose appeal was lost for thir­ty years was resen­tenced to life with parole on November 14, 2023, when the Harris County, Texas District Attorney’s office said it is no longer pur­su­ing the death penal­ty. Syed Rabbani, a Bangladeshi nation­al, has been on death row since 1988 for a fatal Houston shoot­ing. Mr. Rabbani filed his appeal in 1994, but it remained pend­ing in the Harris County Court sys­tem until 2022, when the Harris County District Clerk’s Office redis­cov­ered the fil­ing among 100+ oth­er for­got­ten’ cas­es. Although severely…

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Nov 15, 2023

Randomness and Prosecutorial Misconduct in Death Penalty Cases Highlighted in South Carolina

A recent arti­cle in the Post and Courier details research into the rea­sons why 18 death sen­tences have been over­turned in South Carolina, find­ing one of the main rea­sons to be pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al mis­con­duct. Research found that 11 of the 18 pris­on­ers received new sen­tences because of pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al mis­con­duct, while the oth­er sev­en received new sen­tences after the deci­sion in Atkins v. Virginia because they had intel­lec­tu­al disability.

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Nov 14, 2023

$9.1 million wrongful conviction settlement for Pennsylvania death row exoneree Walter Ogrod

Death-row exoneree Walter Ogrod’s fed­er­al law­suit against the City of Philadelphia and mem­bers of the Philadelphia Police Department was set­tled for $9.1 mil­lion on November 3, 2023. Mr. Ogrod, who was exon­er­at­ed in 2020 after 23 years on death row, was ini­tial­ly con­vict­ed in 1996 based on a coerced con­fes­sion and false tes­ti­mo­ny from jail­house infor­mants in a case fur­ther taint­ed by police and pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al mis­con­duct and inad­e­quate legal rep­re­sen­ta­tion at tri­al. In a state­ment con­firm­ing the set­tle­ment, offi­cials said The city remains com­mit­ted to trans­paren­cy in the pur­suit of…

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Nov 13, 2023

Alabama Schedules A Second Execution for Kenneth Smith, Using Nitrogen Gas for the First Time in U.S. History

On November 8, 2023, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey sched­uled an exe­cu­tion date for Kenneth Smith, mark­ing the first attempt by a U.S. state to use nitro­gen gas in an exe­cu­tion. Mr. Smith was con­vict­ed of the 1988 mur­der-for-hire death of Elizabeth Sennett in Jefferson County, Alabama and has been on death row for near­ly 34 years. Following the state Supreme Court’s 6 – 2 deci­sion green­light­ing Attorney General Steve Marshall’s request for an exe­cu­tion war­rant, Gov. Ivey set a 32-hour exe­cu­tion date time­frame begin­ning on January 25, 2024. Alabama pre­vi­ous­ly attempt­ed to…

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Nov 10, 2023

A Veterans Day Review: Uneven Progress Understanding the Role of Military Service in Capital Crimes

In 2015, DPIC’s Battle Scars report brought world­wide atten­tion to the issue of mil­i­tary vet­er­ans on death row. DPIC found approx­i­mate­ly 300 vet­er­ans incar­cer­at­ed under a sen­tence of death, rep­re­sent­ing at least 10% of death row, and many more who had been exe­cut­ed. Since that report, research and under­stand­ing about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), trau­mat­ic brain injury (TBI), sub­stance use dis­or­ders, and men­tal ill­ness among vet­er­ans has only grown. A 2023 sur­vey of mem­bers of the Wounded Warrior Project found that 76% of ser­vice­mem­bers who incurred a men­tal or physical…

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Nov 09, 2023

Tennessean Op-Ed Discusses DPIC Report on Race and Tennessee’s Death Penalty

On November 2, 2023, Demetrius Minor, the National Manager of Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty and Davis Turner, a retired attor­ney whose broth­er was mur­dered in Nashville in 2009 and a board mem­ber of Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, co-authored an op-ed in The Tennessean dis­cussing a recent report by the Death Penalty Information Center. Doomed to Repeat: The Legacy of Race in Tennessee’s Contemporary Death Penalty” details the his­to­ry of racial vio­lence and use of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment in Tennessee. Mr. Minor and Mr. Turner note that…

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Nov 08, 2023

Utah Judge Hears Argument in Prisoners’ Lawsuit Against Execution Protocol

On October 26, 2023, Judge Coral Sanchez of Utah’s Third Circuit Court heard argu­ments in a law­suit filed by five death-sen­tenced pris­on­ers against the State in April. Ralph Menzies, Troy Kell, Michael Archuleta, Douglas Carter, and Taberon Honie seek an order vacat­ing Utah’s cur­rent exe­cu­tion pro­to­col and enjoin­ing its use. The law­suit argues that the State’s two-pronged pro­to­col, with lethal injec­tion as the default method of exe­cu­tion and fir­ing squad as a back­up, con­sti­tutes cru­el and unusu­al pun­ish­ment in both meth­ods and is there­fore uncon­sti­tu­tion­al under the Eighth Amendment. At…

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Nov 07, 2023

Pennsylvania House Committee Passes Death Penalty Repeal Bill

A bill to repeal the death penal­ty in Pennsylvania has passed a com­mit­tee in the commonwealth’s House of Representatives. The Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee vot­ed 15 – 10 in favor of HB 999 on October 31, 2023. That vote is the first step toward abol­ish­ing the death penal­ty in Pennsylvania, which has had a for­mal mora­to­ri­um on exe­cu­tions since 2015 and has not exe­cut­ed any­one since 1999.

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