Death Penalty News and Developments for the Week of September 9 — September 152019

NEWS—September 10: Texas’ execution of Mark Soliz was the 1505th execution in the U.S. since the reinstatement of the death penalty in the 1970s. Texas has carried out 37.5% of all executions during that period. It was the 15th execution in the U.S. in 2019, and the 6th in Texas. Nine of the 17 pending executions scheduled in the U.S. in the rest of 2019 are in Texas.

NEWS—September 12: The U.S Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has granted a new trial to death-row prisoner William Leroy Barnes based on misconduct by one of the jurors in his case. The court ruled that a juror had
“improperly consulted with her pastor about whether she could vote to impose the death penalty without running afoul of her religious beliefs” and, when he said she could do so, she tainted the entire jury panel by passing on his religious guidance during their deliberations.

NEWS—September 11: The California Supreme Court has declined to review petitions filed by defendants in two unrelated Los Angeles County capital cases seeking to halt their death-penalty prosecutions while the statewide moratorium on executions is in effect. In orders unaccompanied by explanatory opinions, the court permitted the prosecutions of Jade Douglas Harris and Cleamon Demone Johnson (pictured) to go forward as capital trials.

NEWS—September 11: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has denied habeas corpus relief to Arkansas death-row prisoner Justin Anderson. Judge Jonathan Kobes dissented from the denial of penalty relief, writing that he would have found penalty-phase counsel ineffective for failing to investigate and present evidence of Anderson’s mental and emotional impairments arising out of fetal alcohol exposure.