Entries tagged with “Mitigating Evidence

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Intellectual Disability

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Juveniles

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United States Supreme Court

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Executions Overview

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Dec 17, 2021

Right Too Soon” Study: One in Seven Prisoners Put to Death in U.S. Had Legal Issues that Make Their Executions Unconstitutional

At least one in sev­en death-row pris­on­ers put to death in the United States since exe­cu­tions resumed in 1977 had legal claims in their cas­es that would ren­der their exe­cu­tions uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, a new Cornell University Law School study shows.

Policy Issues

Mental Illness

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Representation

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United States Supreme Court

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Dec 06, 2021

Advocacy Groups Call on Supreme Court to Summarily Reverse Texas Death-Penalty Decision that Flouted Earlier Court Guidance

Organizations advo­cat­ing for the rights of abused chil­dren and those with men­tal ill­ness and for fair process are urg­ing the U.S. Supreme Court to, for a sec­ond time, sum­mar­i­ly reverse a Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (TCCA) deci­sion that upheld the death sen­tence imposed on Terence Andrus (pic­tured) despite defense counsel’s fail­ure to inves­ti­gate and present a tidal wave” of avail­able mit­i­gat­ing evi­dence in the penal­ty phase of his cap­i­tal trial.

Policy Issues

Representation

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United States Supreme Court

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Jun 14, 2022

After Initially Reversing Decision, Supreme Court Refuses to Review Texas Case of Gross Attorney Ineffectiveness a Second Time

The United States Supreme Court has declined to review a case in which the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (TCCA) flout­ed a pre­vi­ous Supreme Court rul­ing by deny­ing relief to a death-row pris­on­er a sec­ond time after the Court had returned the case with direc­tions to fur­ther con­sid­er defense counsel’s fail­ure to inves­ti­gate and present a tidal wave” of avail­able mit­i­gat­ing evi­dence in the penal­ty phase of his cap­i­tal trial.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Mental Illness

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Representation

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Native Americans

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May 03, 2021

Capital Case Roundup — Death Penalty Court Decisions the Week of April 262021

NEWS (4/​29/​21) — Oklahoma: The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has vacat­ed the con­vic­tions and death sen­tences of two more death-row pris­on­ers who, the court found, had com­mit­ted their offens­es against Native Americans on trib­al lands. Applying the U.S. Supreme Court’s land­mark trib­al sov­er­eign­ty rul­ing in McGirt v. Oklahoma, the court found that the mur­ders for which Benjamin Robert Cole Sr. and James Chandler Ryder had been con­vict­ed occurred in Indian coun­try” with­in the his­tor­i­cal bound­aries of the Cherokee Nation reser­va­tion and that the vic­tims were enrolled mem­bers of the Cherokee tribe.

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Representation

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Crimes Punishable by Death

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United States Supreme Court

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Dec 21, 2020

Capital Case Roundup — Death Penalty Court Decisions the Week of December 142020

NEWS (12/​18/​20) — Texas: The Texas Supreme Court has over­turned a rul­ing by the state’s comp­trol­ler that had denied death-row exoneree Alfred Dewayne Browns appli­ca­tion for com­pen­sa­tion and direct­ed the comp­trol­ler to pay Brown the com­pen­sa­tion man­dat­ed by state law.

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Race

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Representation

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Religion

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United States Supreme Court

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Women

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Feb 15, 2021

Capital Case Roundup — Death Penalty Court Decisions the Week of February 82021

NEWS (2/​11/​21) — Alabama: In a splin­tered vote with three con­ser­v­a­tive jus­tices not­ing their dis­sents, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Alabama Attorney General’s appli­ca­tion to vacate a fed­er­al appeals court injunc­tion that had halt­ed that night’s sched­uled exe­cu­tion of Willie B. Smith III unless the state per­mit­ted his pas­tor to be present in the death cham­ber to pro­vide reli­gious com­fort dur­ing his exe­cu­tion. In a sec­ond night-of-exe­cu­tion order, the Court lift­ed a stay of exe­cu­tion based on Smith’s claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act that Alabama had failed…

Policy Issues

Representation

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Jun 28, 2021

Capital Case Roundup — Death Penalty Court Decisions the Week of June 212021

NEWS (6/​25/​21) — Alabama: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has affirmed an Alabama fed­er­al dis­trict court deci­sion dis­miss­ing James Barber’s habeas cor­pus chal­lenge to his con­vic­tion and death sen­tence. In an unsigned, unpub­lished opin­ion, the appeals court denied Barber’s claim that his lawyers pro­vid­ed inef­fec­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the penal­ty phase of his cap­i­tal tri­al by fail­ing to inves­ti­gate and present mit­i­gat­ing evi­dence to the jury.

Policy Issues

Representation

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Oct 26, 2020

Capital Case Roundup — Death Penalty Court Decisions the Week of October 192020

NEWS (10/​22/​20) — Florida: The Florida Supreme Court has upheld the con­vic­tion and death sen­tence for Daniel Craven, Jr. for a 2015 prison mur­der. The court denied Craven’s claims that he was uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly denied the right to rep­re­sent him­self and that the tri­al court had vio­lat­ed his right to a fair jury by impan­el­ing an African-American juror whom defense coun­sel had attempt­ed to peremp­to­ri­ly strike. It also reject­ed sev­er­al chal­lenges Craven posed to the aggra­vat­ing cir­cum­stances pre­sent­ed in the case.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Intellectual Disability

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Representation

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Conditions on Death Row

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Nov 02, 2020

Capital Case Roundup — Death Penalty Court Decisions the Week of October 262020

NEWS (10/​30/​20) — Florida: The Florida Supreme Court has upheld the con­vic­tion and death sen­tence of Jonathan Lawrence in an opin­ion that removed yet anoth­er appel­late safe­guard for the state’s death-row prisoners. In the case, the new far-right major­i­ty of the court end­ed the 50-year-old prac­tice of con­duct­ing an inde­pen­dent pro­por­tion­al­i­ty review of a death sen­tence to deter­mine whether the ver­dict was dis­pro­por­tion­al to the sen­tences imposed in oth­er cap­i­tal cases.

Policy Issues

Representation

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Feb 14, 2022

Federal Court Overturns Death Sentence of Alabama Death-Row Prisoner Whose Abandonment by Counsel Led to Supreme Court Ruling

A fed­er­al dis­trict court has over­turned the death sen­tence of an Alabama death-row pris­on­er whose aban­don­ment by his state post-con­vic­tion coun­sel led to a U.S. Supreme Court deci­sion on the right of access to fed­er­al habeas cor­pus review. On January 27, 2022, Judge Karon O. Bowdre of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama over­turned Cory Maples’ death sen­tence, hold­ing that his tri­al coun­sel had pro­vid­ed prej­u­di­cial­ly defi­cient rep­re­sen­ta­tion dur­ing the penal­ty phase of his cap­i­tal tri­al in 1997.

Policy Issues

Intellectual Disability

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Race

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Representation

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May 10, 2021

Federal Court Reverses Death Sentence Imposed on Defendant Represented By Georgia Lawyer With History of Ineffectiveness and Racial Bias

A fed­er­al appeals court has reversed the death sen­tence of an African-American Georgia death-row pris­on­er who was rep­re­sent­ed at tri­al by a defense lawyer noto­ri­ous for his his­to­ry of sub­stan­dard rep­re­sen­ta­tion and racial bias in death-penal­ty cases.

Policy Issues

Representation

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United States Supreme Court

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Jan 05, 2022

Former U.S. Solicitor General: Supreme Court Must Uphold the Rule of Law’ that Texas Courts Ignored in Death Penalty Case

A for­mer con­ser­v­a­tive fed­er­al judge and U.S. Solicitor General has called on the United States Supreme Court to vacate a rul­ing by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (TCCA) that allowed a Texas death sen­tence to stand in the face of an ear­li­er Supreme Court rul­ing that defense coun­sel had unrea­son­ably failed to present a tidal wave” of com­pelling mit­i­gat­ing evidence.”

Facts & Research

Clemency

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Upcoming Executions

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Aug 05, 2022

Oklahoma Board of Pardons and Parole Recommends Clemency for James Coddington

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board has rec­om­mend­ed clemen­cy for James Coddington (pic­tured at his clemen­cy hear­ing), the first of 25 death-row pris­on­ers sched­uled to be exe­cut­ed in Oklahoma between August 2022 and December 2024.

Policy Issues

Mental Illness

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Representation

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Sep 22, 2021

Pennsylvania Court Denies Post-Conviction Relief to Death-Row Prisoner Albert Reid, Remands on Competency Issue

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has, with one excep­tion, affirmed a tri­al court rul­ing deny­ing death-row pris­on­er Albert Reids post-con­vic­tion chal­lenge to his con­vic­tion and death sen­tence. In a 5 – 2 deci­sion issued on September 22, 2021, the court upheld the deci­sion of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas that dis­missed Reid’s post-con­vic­tion peti­tion. The court remand­ed the case on the ques­tion of Reid’s com­pe­ten­cy to stand tri­al and assist in his defense, say­ing the tri­al court had not suf­fi­cient­ly its rea­sons for deny­ing that claim.

Facts & Research

United States Supreme Court

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Women

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Mar 03, 2020

Sandra Lockett-Young, Whose Case Established a Capital Defendant’s Right to Present Mitigating Evidence, Has Died

Sandra Lockett-Young (pic­tured, right, with Sister Helen Prejean), whose case estab­lished a cap­i­tal defendant’s right to present a broad range of mit­i­gat­ing evi­dence con­cern­ing her char­ac­ter, back­ground, and record and the cir­cum­stances of her offense, has died. Lockett had suf­fered a severe stroke in June 2019 from which she nev­er recov­ered. She died in an Ohio hos­pice on February 26, 2020 at 65 years old.

Facts & Research

United States Supreme Court

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Federal Death Penalty

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Oct 14, 2021

Supreme Court Hears Argument on Department of Justice Efforts to Reinstate Death Penalty in Boston Marathon Bombing Case

A United States Supreme Court sharply divid­ed along ide­o­log­i­cal lines heard oral argu­ment October 13, 2021 on the Department of Justice’s appeal of a fed­er­al cir­cuit court’s rul­ing over­turn­ing the death sen­tences imposed on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for his con­vic­tions in the 2013 Boston Marathon bomb­ing. Veteran court watch­ers report­ed that the six con­ser­v­a­tive jus­tices seemed poised to over­turn the fed­er­al appeal court’s grant of a new penal­ty phase hear­ing to Tsarnaev and to return the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit to resolve the remain­ing challenges…

Policy Issues

Human Rights

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Representation

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Feb 01, 2023

Texas Death Row Prisoner Commits Suicide

On January 21, 2023, Texas death row pris­on­er Terence Andrus hanged him­self at the age of 34, a lit­tle more than 6 months after the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of his case for a sec­ond time. His lawyer, Gretchen Sween, told the Los Angeles Times that he’d been careen­ing toward the abyss,” since their deci­sion. He was broken.”

Policy Issues

Mental Illness

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Representation

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Upcoming Executions

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Women

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Federal Death Penalty

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Oct 19, 2020

U.S. Government Sets Two More Execution Dates, Seeking to Put to Death the First Woman and the Youngest Offender in More Than Six Decades

The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment intends to con­tin­ue its unprece­dent­ed exe­cu­tion spree into December, sched­ul­ing the exe­cu­tions of the first woman and the youngest offend­er put to death by fed­er­al author­i­ties in near­ly sev­en decades. In a Friday evening announce­ment, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on October 16, 2020 that it had set the exe­cu­tion of Lisa Montgomery (pic­tured) for December 8 and Brandon Bernard for December 10.