Entries tagged with “John Bel Edwards

Facts & Research

Religion

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Jan 10, 2024

Catholic Organizers See Renewed Momentum” for Death Penalty Abolition from Pope Francis’ Teachings

In 2018, Pope Francis for­mal­ly revised the Catechism of the Catholic Church — its core teach­ings — to oppose the death penal­ty. Characterizing cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment as an attack on the invi­o­la­bil­i­ty and dig­ni­ty of the per­son,” he wrote that the Catholic Church works with deter­mi­na­tion for its abo­li­tion world­wide.” This revi­sion updat­ed a 1997 Catechism edit by Pope John Paul II that per­mit­ted the death penal­ty in rare cas­es where it was deemed the only pos­si­ble way of effec­tive­ly defend­ing human lives against the unjust aggres­sor.” In the five years since Pope Francis affirmed…

Facts & Research

Clemency

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Nov 21, 2023

Following Series of Denials, Louisiana Board to Hold Administrative Hearings on Clemency for at Least Two Additional Death Row Prisoners

The Louisiana Board of Pardons and Committee on Parole will con­sid­er at least two addi­tion­al appli­ca­tions for clemen­cy on November 27, fol­low­ing a tumul­tuous year in which near­ly all Louisiana death row pris­on­ers sought clemen­cy in response to out­go­ing Governor John Bel Edwards voic­ing his per­son­al oppo­si­tion to the death penal­ty. Under the Louisiana Constitution, Governor Edwards can­not grant clemen­cy with­out a rec­om­men­da­tion from the Board; he asked the Board to set hear­ings so that he could ful­fill his author­i­ty and duty to con­sid­er these appli­ca­tions.” However, amidst oppo­si­tion from…

Facts & Research

Clemency

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Aug 10, 2023

Governor John Bel Edwards Directs Louisiana Board to Consider Death Row Clemency Petitions and Set Hearings

On August 9th, with the use of his exec­u­tive author­i­ty, Governor John Bel Edwards (pic­tured) asked the Board of Pardons and Committee on Parole to return the 56 clemen­cy appli­ca­tions filed by death-sen­tenced pris­on­ers in Louisiana to its dock­et for con­sid­er­a­tion and set them for hear­ings. The Board of Pardons will now have until January 2024, when Gov. Edwards offi­cial­ly leaves office, to decide whether to rec­om­mend clemen­cy for near­ly all of the state’s death row pris­on­ers. Earlier this year, Gov. Edwards expressed his oppo­si­tion to cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment, stat­ing that…

Facts & Research

Clemency

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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…

Facts & Research

Clemency

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Sep 14, 2023

Louisiana District Attorney Asks Court to Halt Death Row Clemency Hearings for Three Prisoners

On September 12, 2023, East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore filed a request for injunc­tive relief, ask­ing the 19th Judicial District Court to vacate hear­ings sched­uled for three East Baton Rouge Parish pris­on­ers who have request­ed clemen­cy. In June 2023, 51 death-sen­tenced indi­vid­u­als filed clemen­cy appli­ca­tions with the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Committee on Parole, request­ing a com­mu­ta­tion of their death sen­tences to life with­out parole. Five addi­tion­al appli­ca­tions from death row pris­on­ers have since been sub­mit­ted to the Board. DA Moore’s motion comes in response to the…

Aug 23, 2023

Louisiana Exoneree, Family Members of Victims and Prisoners, and Criminal Defense Lawyers Support of Clemency for Death-Sentenced Prisoners

At an August 15, 2023 ral­ly orga­nized by The Promise for Justice Initiative, a group opposed to the death penal­ty and which advo­cates for greater change in the crim­i­nal legal sys­tem, fam­i­ly mem­bers of vic­tims and pris­on­ers and death row exoneree Shareef Cousin called on the Board of Pardons and Committee on Parole to grant the 56 clemen­cy appli­ca­tions that have been sub­mit­ted by pris­on­ers on death row. Part of clemen­cy is real­ly about giv­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ty to the sur­vivors of these crimes to work on rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, to work on the…

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Clemency

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Jul 03, 2023

Louisiana Mass Clemency Efforts Highlight Similarities to Illinois Mass Clemency 20 Years Ago

As Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (pic­tured) con­sid­ers the clemen­cy peti­tions filed by 51 of the state’s 57 death row pris­on­ers, advo­cates and jour­nal­ists have not­ed the sim­i­lar­i­ties between Louisiana’s death penal­ty sys­tem and that of Illinois, where Governor George Ryan com­mut­ed the sen­tences of all 167 peo­ple on death row in 2003. Both states have had high num­bers of death row exon­er­a­tions stem­ming from sys­temic mis­con­duct, death sen­tences in both states are con­cen­trat­ed in a small num­ber of juris­dic­tions, and both gov­er­nors have expressed seri­ous per­son­al con­cerns about the…

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Mental Illness

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Prosecutorial Accountability

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Race

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Clemency

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Jul 28, 2023

Louisiana Pardon Board Declines to Consider 56 Death Row Clemency Petitions Without Merits Review

On July 24, 2023, the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Parole set aside all 56 clemen­cy appli­ca­tions filed by near­ly every death-sen­tenced pris­on­er in Louisiana last month with­out review­ing the mer­its of a sin­gle one of them. The pris­on­ers asked for their sen­tences to be com­mut­ed to life with­out parole, but the Board made its deci­sion to return the appli­ca­tions based on an advi­so­ry, non­bind­ing opin­ion from the Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. Attorneys for death row pris­on­ers have respond­ed by argu­ing that the Attorney General’s office mis­in­ter­pret­ed the language…

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Prosecutorial Accountability

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Methods of Execution

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Jan 30, 2024

Louisiana Supreme Court Grants New Trial Based on Prosecutorial Misconduct while New Governor Landry Moves to Expand Methods of Execution and Restart Executions

On January 26, 2024, the Louisiana Supreme Court grant­ed a new tri­al to death-sen­tenced pris­on­er Darrell Robinson based on egre­gious pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al mis­con­duct. The Court held that Mr. Robinson did not receive a fair tri­al, or a ver­dict wor­thy of con­fi­dence.” Mr. Robinson’s quest to prove his inno­cence advances at the same time that Governor Jeff Landry seeks to expand the state’s meth­ods of exe­cu­tion and restart exe­cu­tions. During a tumul­tuous 2023 in which out­go­ing Governor John Bel Edwards sup­port­ed clemen­cy review for Louisiana’s entire death row, only to be blocked…

Policy Issues

Race

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Clemency

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Jun 14, 2023

Mass Filing for Clemency Highlights Longstanding Systemic Problems with Louisiana’s Broken” Death Penalty

On June 13, 2023, 51 of the 57 peo­ple on Louisiana’s death row filed clemen­cy appli­ca­tions with the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Committee on Parole, ask­ing Governor John Bel Edwards to com­mute their sen­tences to life with­out parole. The clemen­cy appli­ca­tions describe flaws in the indi­vid­ual cas­es – includ­ing men­tal ill­ness and intel­lec­tu­al dis­abil­i­ty, inno­cence claims, and offi­cial mis­con­duct – but cumu­la­tive­ly por­tray a death penal­ty sys­tem marked by sig­nif­i­cant sys­temic prob­lems. The board­’s mem­bers, all of whom are appoint­ed by Edwards, will weigh the appli­ca­tions indi­vid­u­al­ly and then send their…

Facts & Research

New Voices

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Mar 29, 2023

NEW VOICES: Louisiana Governor Announces His Opposition to the Death Penalty

After years of silence regard­ing his views on the death penal­ty, Governor John Bel Edwards of Louisiana expressed his oppo­si­tion to cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment in a sem­i­nar at Loyola University in New Orleans. On March 22, 2023, Edwards said, The death penal­ty is so final. When you make a mis­take, you can’t get it back. And we know that mis­takes have been made in sen­tenc­ing peo­ple to death.”