Publications & Testimony

Items: 81 — 90

Dec 18, 2023

Florida Prosecutors Seek First Death Sentence Under New Child Sex Abuse Law

On December 14, 2023, Lake County, Florida pros­e­cu­tors announced they are seek­ing the death penal­ty for a man accused of com­mit­ting the sex­u­al bat­tery of a minor under the age of twelve. A state­ment from the office of State Attorney William Gladson said the deci­sion reflects the sever­i­ty of the crime and its impact on the com­mu­ni­ty.” Earlier this year, Governor Ron DeSantis signed leg­is­la­tion that expands death penal­ty eli­gi­bil­i­ty to those con­vict­ed of sex crimes against chil­dren. This is the first case in which Florida pros­e­cu­tors have sought a…

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Dec 15, 2023

Supreme Court Agrees to Second Review of Arizona Death Penalty Case on Arizona’s Request

On Wednesday, December 13, the U.S. Supreme Court grant­ed cer­tio­rari in Thornell v. Jones, its first death penal­ty case to be heard at oral argu­ment in the 2023 term. Unlike most death penal­ty cas­es that seek Supreme Court review, the peti­tion­er here is the state of Arizona, which asks the Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit’s grant of relief for death-sen­tenced pris­on­er Danny Lee Jones (pic­tured). The Ninth Circuit held that Mr. Jones demon­strat­ed inef­fec­tive assis­tance of coun­sel at his sen­tenc­ing phase under Strickland v. Washington (1984). So far this…

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Dec 14, 2023

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Releases its 2023 Year in Review Report

A new report released by the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty high­lights Texas’ con­tin­u­ing out­lier prac­tices in the admin­is­tra­tion of the death penal­ty. As one of just five states car­ry­ing out exe­cu­tions this year, Texas is respon­si­ble for a third of the 24 exe­cu­tions in 2023. Of the eight men exe­cut­ed, six dis­played sig­nif­i­cant intel­lec­tu­al or men­tal health impair­ments, includ­ing brain dam­age, intel­lec­tu­al dis­abil­i­ty, and a range of men­tal ill­ness­es. The vast major­i­ty of indi­vid­u­als exe­cut­ed by Texas in 2023 had sig­nif­i­cant men­tal impair­ments. What is even more appalling…

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Dec 13, 2023

After Five-Year Execution Pause, Ohio Leaders Question Value of Death Penalty

A pro­posed death penal­ty repeal bill in the Ohio leg­is­la­ture is draw­ing atten­tion to the state’s five-year pause on exe­cu­tions, and lead­ing state offi­cials from both par­ties to ques­tion whether the death penal­ty sys­tem is work­ing. Ohio Attorney General David Yost (pic­tured) summed up the sit­u­a­tion by say­ing, This sys­tem sat­is­fies nobody. Those who oppose the death penal­ty want it abol­ished alto­geth­er, not tick­ing away like a time bomb that might or might not explode. Those who sup­port the death penal­ty want it to be fair, time­ly and effec­tive. Neither…

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Dec 12, 2023

New Research Finds That Historical News Coverage Reduced Executed Black Men to Faceless, Interchangeable Public Safety Hazards” While Executed White Men Were Portrayed As Tragic Heroes”

In a recent­ly pub­lished aca­d­e­m­ic arti­cle, Emory University History Professor Daniel LaChance writes about an impor­tant and under­rec­og­nized dis­tinc­tion in the way news­pa­per edi­tors and jour­nal­ists cov­ered the exe­cu­tions of Black and white men in the late 19th and ear­ly 20th cen­turies. Professor LaChance argues that the por­tray­als of the defen­dants made legal exe­cu­tions a high-sta­tus pun­ish­ment that respect­ed the white­ness of those who suf­fered it.” While the length and detail of arti­cles about the exe­cu­tions of Black men shrank dra­mat­i­cal­ly over time, he notes that jour­nal­ists con­sis­tent­ly high­light­ed the…

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State logo for Louisiana with White Pelican, "Union, Justice, Confidence"

Dec 11, 2023

Activists Call on North Carolina Governor to Commute Death Row As an Act of Racial Justice”

In North Carolina, a coali­tion of activists is call­ing on Governor Roy Cooper to com­mute the death sen­tences of 136 peo­ple as an act of racial jus­tice” before he leaves office in 2024. Edward Ed” Chapman, a death row exoneree who spent 14 years on death row, along with oth­er advo­cates with the North Carolina Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, are urg­ing Gov. Cooper to grant clemen­cy to all death-sen­tenced indi­vid­u­als in North Carolina because of the injus­tices of the death penal­ty and North Carolina’s crim­i­nal legal system…

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Dec 08, 2023

Discussions with DPIC Podcast: Classifying Capital Punishment as Torture with John Bessler

In this month’s episode of Discussions with DPIC, Managing Director Anne Holsinger speaks with John Bessler (pic­tured), Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore School of Law. Professor Bessler is the author of sev­er­al books on the death penal­ty, includ­ing his 2023 book The Death Penalty’s Denial of Fundamental Human Rights: International Law, State Practice, and the Emerging Abolitionist Norm. In his most recent book, Professor Bessler argues that the death penal­ty should be clas­si­fied as tor­ture, which would pro­hib­it its use under inter­na­tion­al law and treaties. The reality…

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Dec 07, 2023

Mississippi Supreme Court Delays Decision on Willie Manning Execution Date, Allows Time for Appeal

On November 30, 2023, the Mississippi Supreme Court ordered that the state’s request to set an exe­cu­tion date for death row pris­on­er Willie Manning be held until the court rules on a recent peti­tion seek­ing to bring new evi­dence of Mr. Manning’s inno­cence. Mr. Manning’s attor­neys had filed a peti­tion at the court on September 29, ask­ing for an oppor­tu­ni­ty to present recan­ta­tions from jail­house infor­mants who tes­ti­fied against Mr. Manning, as well as new expert analy­sis debunk­ing the unsci­en­tif­ic foren­sic evi­dence that was used against him at tri­al. The…

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Dec 06, 2023

Worldwide Wednesday International Roundup: China, Israel, Iran, Malaysia, Philippines, Qatar, Somalia, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe

On November 7, Chinese media report­ed that for­mer pri­ma­ry school prin­ci­pal Zhang Longji was exe­cut­ed via lethal injec­tion for rap­ing five girls, age 8 – 12, and sex­u­al­ly molest­ing 17 girls, age 8 – 14. Sun Deshun, for­mer pres­i­dent of China CITIC Bank Corporation Limited, who was con­vict­ed of accept­ing $1 bil­lion yuan ($137 mil­lion) in bribes, was giv­en a sus­pend­ed death sen­tence by the Intermediate People’s Court in Jinan on November 10. If no new crimes are com­mit­ted dur­ing the two-year pro­ba­tion, then Mr. Sun’s sen­tence could be com­mut­ed to life with­out parole. According to…

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Dec 05, 2023

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s Conflicted Death Penalty Jurisprudence

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court, died at the age of 93 on December 1, 2023. In her 25-year tenure on the Court, Justice O’Connor authored opin­ions in sev­er­al land­mark death penal­ty cas­es, includ­ing deci­sions that upheld the use of the death penal­ty for vul­ner­a­ble groups and peo­ple with dimin­ished cul­pa­bil­i­ty. However, she demon­strat­ed an ear­ly inter­est in improv­ing cap­i­tal defense stan­dards, and in her lat­er years on the Court expressed con­cerns that the coun­try had exe­cut­ed inno­cent peo­ple. Her legislative…

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