Entries tagged with “Outlier Counties

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Jul 26, 2019

ACLU Article Explores the Use of the Death Penalty Against Those Who Have Not Killed

The U.S. Supreme Court has said the death penal­ty must be reserved for the worst of the worst mur­ders and be imposed only on the worst of the worst offend­ers. But what of an accom­plice to a felony in which some­one was killed but the accom­plice nei­ther com­mit­ted the killing nor intend­ed that a killing would take place? Those co-defen­dants are not even the worst of the worst par­tic­i­pants in the offense for which they are charged. Yet, as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) report­ed on July 112019,…

Policy Issues

Race

,

Representation

,

Sentencing Data

,

Jun 19, 2019

ACLU Study: Los Angeles Death Penalty Discriminates Against Defendants of Color and the Poor

A new study of the use of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment in Los Angeles has con­clud­ed that, through­out the admin­is­tra­tion of District Attorney Jackie Lacey (pic­tured) the death penal­ty has discriminate[d] on the basis of race and against the poor.” The study, released June 18, 2019 by the ACLU, report­ed that under Lacey’s admin­is­tra­tion the Los Angeles death penal­ty has been imposed exclu­sive­ly against defen­dants of col­or, dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly for killings of white vic­tims, and dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly in cas­es han­dled by the worst defense lawyers. In a state­ment accom­pa­ny­ing the release of the study,…

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Intellectual Disability

,

Race

,

Sep 13, 2022

Alabama Court Upholds Fifth Non-Unanimous Death Sentence Imposed on Intellectually Impaired Man Over the Course of Six Penalty Trials for the Same Crime

An Alabama appeals court has upheld a fifth non-unan­i­mous death sen­tence imposed on a death-row pris­on­er who has faced six cap­i­tal sen­tenc­ing tri­als for the same offense and was once found to be inel­i­gi­ble for the death penal­ty because of intel­lec­tu­al disability.

Policy Issues

Innocence

,

Intellectual Disability

,

Race

,

Upcoming Executions

,

Sep 14, 2020

Black Legislators, Legal Associations, Faith Leaders, and Community Groups Call for DNA Testing/​Intellectual Disability Hearing that Could Take Pervis Payne Off Tennessee’s Death Row

Leaders in the Tennessee African-American com­mu­ni­ty are urg­ing Governor Bill Lee and the state and fed­er­al courts to halt the exe­cu­tion of a Black death-row pris­on­er who may be both inno­cent and intel­lec­tu­al­ly dis­abled and who has been denied access to the courts to review those claims.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Aug 21, 2017

California Court Bars Death Penalty in Mass Killing Because of Unprecedented” Government Misconduct

Citing relent­less non-com­pli­ance” with court orders and chron­ic obstruc­tion­ism” by a pros­e­cu­tion team it says has effec­tive­ly com­pro­mised” Scott Dekraais rights to due process and a fair penal­ty tri­al, a California tri­al court has barred pros­e­cu­tors from pur­su­ing the death penal­ty in the worst mass killing in Orange County history.

Policy Issues

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Race

,

Sentencing Data

,

Dec 22, 2017

Clark County, Nevada Losing Capital Convictions Because of Prosecutors’ Race Discrimination in Jury Selection

The racial­ly dis­crim­i­na­to­ry jury selec­tion prac­tices of the Clark County, Nevada, District Attorney’s office are now caus­ing it to lose con­vic­tions in cap­i­tal cas­es. In a December 18 arti­cle, the pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al watch­dog, The Open File, details repeat­ed vio­la­tions by Clark County death-penal­ty pros­e­cu­tors of the con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­scrip­tion against strik­ing prospec­tive jurors from ser­vice on the basis of race. Four times in the past four years, the Nevada Supreme Court has ordered new tri­als in Clark County cas­es because pros­e­cu­tors vio­lat­ed the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1986 deci­sion in Batson v. Kentucky

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Sentencing Data

,

Dec 04, 2015

Counties With Highest Rates of Killings by Police Also Among Highest in Death Sentences

The coun­ties in the United States that have the high­est per capi­ta rate of killings by police offi­cers also rank among the high­est in the coun­try in the num­ber of peo­ple sen­tenced to death. In his crim­i­nal jus­tice blog, The Watch,” for the Washington Post, Radley Balko details the remark­able cor­re­la­tion” between killings by police and death sen­tences imposed.

Policy Issues

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Aug 12, 2016

Death Row Exoneree Requests DOJ Investigation of Systemic Prosecutorial Misconduct in Louisiana

Louisiana death row exoneree John Thompson (pic­tured, cen­ter), who was wrong­ly con­vict­ed of two dif­fer­ent New Orleans mur­ders as a result of pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al mis­con­duct, has filed a peti­tion with the United States Department of Justice seek­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion of more than 100 cas­es pros­e­cut­ed by for­mer Orleans Parish assis­tant dis­trict attor­ney James Williams. Thompson filed his peti­tion on August 2 under pro­vi­sions of the Law Enforcement Misconduct Statute, which makes it a vio­la­tion of fed­er­al law for police or pros­e­cu­tors to engage in a pat­tern or prac­tice of con­duct that…

Policy Issues

Innocence

,

Intellectual Disability

,

Race

,

Jan 22, 2021

Defense Lawyers Say DNA Tests Point to Unknown Male’ as Likely Killer in Tennessee Death-Row Prisoner Pervis Payne’s Case

Lawyers for Tennessee death-row pris­on­er Pervis Payne say DNA test­ing in his 30-year-old case points to an unknown male” and excludes Payne as the per­son who stabbed to death Charisse Christopher and her 2‑year-old daugh­ter, Lacie, and seri­ous­ly wound­ed her 3‑year-old son, Nicholas.

Policy Issues

Innocence

,

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Race

,

Aug 26, 2022

DPIC Analysis: At Least a Dozen Exonerations in 2021 Involved the Wrongful Threat or Pursuit of the Death Penalty

A Death Penalty Information Center review of data from the National Registry of Exonerations has found that the pur­suit or threat­ened use of the death penal­ty by police or pros­e­cu­tors in nine dif­fer­ent states led to the wrong­ful mur­der con­vic­tions of at least twelve inno­cent peo­ple who were exon­er­at­ed in 2021.

Facts & Research

Public Opinion

,

Executions Overview

,

Federal Death Penalty

,

Sep 03, 2020

DPIC Analysis: Federal Execution Spree Out of Step with U.S. Death Penalty Trends and Attitudes

At a time in which the United States as a whole and indi­vid­ual states and coun­ties have con­tin­ued their long-term move­ment away from the death penal­ty, the fed­er­al government’s cur­rent exe­cu­tion spree has estab­lished it as an out­lier juris­dic­tion out of step with the prac­tices of the nation as a whole.

Policy Issues

Costs

,

Race

,

Sentencing Data

,

Nov 16, 2018

DPIC Analysis: The Decline of the Death Penalty in Philadelphia

During his elec­tion cam­paign, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner described the eco­nom­ic waste­ful­ness of city pros­e­cu­tors’ pur­suit of the death penal­ty as light­ing mon­ey on fire.” A DPIC analy­sis of the out­comes of the more than 200 death sen­tences imposed in the city since 1978 (click here to enlarge image) and the last sev­en years of cap­i­tal pros­e­cu­tion out­comes pro­vides strong sup­port for Krasner’s claim.

Policy Issues

Innocence

,

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Sep 10, 2020

Eight Years After Exoneration, Court Declares Joe D’Ambrosio Wrongfully Imprisoned’

Eight years after his exon­er­a­tion from death row, an Ohio tri­al court judge has declared that Joe D’Ambrosio (pic­tured) was wrong­ful­ly impris­oned.” The August 31, 2020 rul­ing by Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Russo moves D’Ambrosio one step clos­er to receiv­ing com­pen­sa­tion for the more than two decades he spent on death row as a result of pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al misconduct.

Policy Issues

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Sep 01, 2016

Florida Prosecutor, Public Defender Tied to Outlier Death Penalty Practices Suffer Landslide Election Loss

In a pri­ma­ry elec­tion described as reshap­ing the polit­i­cal land­scape of Northeast Florida, the region vot­ed in a land­slide Tuesday to oust State Attorney Angela Corey (pic­tured) and Public Defender Matt Shirk. The pair’s con­tro­ver­sial poli­cies had made Duval County one of the most pro­lif­ic death sen­tenc­ing coun­ties in the coun­try and had led to nation­al deri­sion of its crim­i­nal jus­tice system.

Policy Issues

Representation

,

Feb 11, 2021

Former Florida Public Defender Who Dismantled Duval County Capital Defense Capabilities Pleads Guilty to Ethics Violations

Former Florida pub­lic defend­er Matt Shirk (pic­tured), who was defeat­ed for re-elec­tion after scan­dals relat­ed to per­son­al mis­con­duct and under­min­ing crim­i­nal defense ser­vices in one the nation’s most pro­lif­ic death sen­tenc­ing coun­ties, faces sus­pen­sion of his law license after plead­ing guilty to mul­ti­ple ethics vio­la­tions dur­ing his time in office. If the plea is approved by the Florida Supreme Court, Shirk will be sus­pend­ed from prac­tice for six months, and must pay for dis­ci­pli­nary costs and show proof of reha­bil­i­ta­tion before being reinstated.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Innocence

,

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Nov 05, 2015

History of Misconduct Chronicled in Oklahoma County With 41 Executions

Oklahoma County has exe­cut­ed 41 pris­on­ers since 1976, the third high­est in the coun­try, and is among the 2% of American coun­ties respon­si­ble for 56% of the men and women cur­rent­ly on the nation’s death rows. A ThinkProgress report chron­i­cles the decades-long pat­tern of mis­con­duct com­mit­ted under its long-time District Attorney Cowboy Bob” Macy (pic­tured).

Policy Issues

Costs

,

Representation

,

Mar 29, 2017

Maricopa County, Arizona DA Seeks Death Penalty So Often, The County Has Run Out of Capital Defense Lawyers

Maricopa County, Arizona County Attorney Bill Montgomery has sought the death penal­ty so fre­quent­ly that the coun­ty has run up mil­lions of dol­lars in defense costs and run out of defense lawyers qual­i­fied to han­dle new cap­i­tal­ly-charged cas­es. The Arizona Republic reports that, with 65 active death-penal­ty cas­es and more new cap­i­tal cas­es charged than the 35 that have been resolved since July 1, 2014, the coun­ty ran out of the spe­cial­ized lawyers need­ed to defend the cas­es in January of this year. Yet despite the coun­ty’s high rate of…

Policy Issues

Innocence

,

Race

,

Recent Legislative Activity

,

Apr 14, 2021

Nevada State Assembly Passes Bill to Repeal Death Penalty and Resentence Death-Row Prisoners to Life

The Nevada State Assembly has passed a bill that would abol­ish the state’s death penal­ty and resen­tence the pris­on­ers cur­rent­ly on its death row to life with­out parole. It was the first time any death-penal­ty abo­li­tion bill had been report­ed out of com­mit­tee and con­sid­ered by either house of the Nevada legislature.

Policy Issues

Intellectual Disability

,

Mental Illness

,

Public Opinion

,

Feb 03, 2022

New Poll: Voters Overwhelmingly Oppose Las Vegas DA Seeking the Death Penalty Against Vulnerable and Impaired Persons

Likely vot­ers in Clark County, Nevada over­whelm­ing­ly oppose the use of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment against broad cat­e­gories of vul­ner­a­ble and impaired per­sons whom coun­ty pros­e­cu­tors have been try­ing to exe­cute, a new poll released by Vegas Watch on January 27, 2022 shows.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Race

,

Representation

,

Aug 23, 2016

New Study Explores Systemic Deficiencies” in High-Use Death Penalty Counties

As states and coun­ties across the United States are using the death penal­ty with decreas­ing fre­quen­cy, a new report issued by the Fair Punishment Project on August 23 explores the out­lier prac­tices of 16 U.S. coun­ties that are buck­ing the nation­al trend and dis­pro­por­tion­al­ly pur­su­ing cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment. These juris­dic­tions, rep­re­sent­ing one-half of one per­cent of all U.S. coun­ties or coun­ty equiv­a­lents, are the only locales in the United States to have imposed five or more death sen­tences since 2010.

Facts & Research

Sentencing Data

,

Executions Overview

,

Dec 05, 2017

No Executions in the Capital of Capital Punishment” for First Time in 30 Years

Harris County (Houston), Texas, has exe­cut­ed 126 pris­on­ers since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Texas’s cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment statute in 1976, more than any oth­er coun­ty in the United States and, apart from the rest of Texas, more than any state. But in 2017, no one will be sen­tenced to death in Harris County and, for the first time since 1985, no one sen­tenced to death in the coun­ty will be executed.

Executions

Executions Overview

,

Feb 18, 2022

Oklahoma County Becomes Nation’s Third Most Prolific County Executioner as State Puts Intellectually Impaired Teen Offender to Death

When Oklahoma exe­cut­ed Gilbert Postelle on February 17, 2022, it came with a dubi­ous dis­tinc­tion. The intel­lec­tu­al­ly impaired man who was 18 years old at the time of his offense became the 44th per­son pros­e­cut­ed in Oklahoma County to be put to death since exe­cu­tions resumed in the U.S. in 1977. His death made the coun­ty the nation’s third-most pro­lif­ic coun­ty exe­cu­tion­er over the past half-cen­tu­ry, tied with Tarrant and Bexar coun­ties in Texas. (Click to enlarge graphic.)

Policy Issues

Innocence

,

Mental Illness

,

Executions Overview

,

Jul 06, 2022

Oklahoma Court Schedules 25 Executions Between August 2022 and December 2024

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has set exe­cu­tion dates for 25 of the state’s 43 death-row pris­on­ers, sched­ul­ing near­ly an exe­cu­tion a month from August 2022 through December 2024. If car­ried out, the exe­cu­tion sched­ule, unprece­dent­ed in the state’s his­to­ry, would put to death 58% of the state’s death row, includ­ing mul­ti­ple pris­on­ers with severe men­tal ill­ness, brain dam­age, and claims of innocence.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Mental Illness

,

Lethal Injection

,

Jan 27, 2022

Oklahoma Executes Donald Grant: First U.S. Execution of 2022 is 43rd from County with Most Executions Outside Texas

Oklahoma car­ried out the first exe­cu­tion of 2022 in the U.S. on January 27, inject­ing Donald Grant (pic­tured, at his clemen­cy hear­ing) with a three-drug chem­i­cal cock­tail whose con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty is the sub­ject of a pend­ing fed­er­al tri­al. Grant, whose exe­cu­tion drew inter­na­tion­al atten­tion because of his seri­ous men­tal ill­ness, was pro­nounced dead at 10:16 a.m. local time.

Policy Issues

Innocence

,

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Aug 10, 2020

Orleans Parish D.A. Will Not Run for Re-Election, Tenure Tainted By Office Misconduct in Death-Penalty Cases

After 12 years as Orleans Parish, Louisiana District Attorney, Leon Cannizzaro (pic­tured) has announced that he will not seek re-elec­tion and will be retir­ing as D.A. at the end of this term. Cannizzaro’s tenure in office was marked by his aggres­sive defense of pri­or offi­cial mis­con­duct in cap­i­tal cas­es, mis­con­duct by his office while he was District Attorney, and rev­e­la­tions that Orleans Parish pros­e­cu­tors had rou­tine­ly issued fake sub­poe­nas and threat­ened impris­on­ment to coerce vic­tims and wit­ness­es to coop­er­ate with law enforcement.

Policy Issues

Innocence

,

New Voices

,

Nov 15, 2016

OUTLIER COUNTIES: Alabama’s Leading Death Sentencing County Elects Prosecutors Who Oppose Capital Punishment

Jefferson County, Alabama is among both the 2% of coun­ties that account for more than half of all exe­cu­tions in the U.S. and are respon­si­ble for more than half of all pris­on­ers on death row across the coun­try. It led the state in new death sen­tences from 2010 – 2015, putting more peo­ple on death row than 99.5% of U.S. coun­ties. All five of the defen­dants sen­tenced to death in those cas­es were Black.

Policy Issues

Race

,

New Voices

,

Dec 02, 2016

OUTLIER COUNTIES: Dallas County, Texas Imposing Fewer Death Sentences After Years of Discrimination

With 55 exe­cu­tions since the 1970s, Dallas County, Texas, ranks sec­ond among all U.S. coun­ties — behind only Harris County (Houston), Texas — in the num­ber of pris­on­ers it has put to death. It is also among the 2% of coun­ties that account for more than half of all pris­on­ers on death row across the coun­try, and pro­duced sev­en new death sen­tences and one resen­tence between 2010 and 2015, more than 99.5% of all U.S. coun­ties dur­ing that period.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Murder Rates

,

Feb 28, 2018

OUTLIER COUNTIES: Death Sentences, Executions More Likely in Hamilton County Than Elsewhere in Ohio

With 24 pris­on­ers cur­rent­ly con­demned to die, Hamilton County—home to Cincinnati—has the largest death row of any coun­ty in Ohio, despite a small­er pop­u­la­tion and a low­er mur­der rate than oth­er parts of the state. Ten of the 55 pris­on­ers exe­cut­ed in the state since the 1970s were sen­tenced to death in Hamilton County, again more than any oth­er Ohio county.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Race

,

Representation

,

Aug 26, 2016

OUTLIER COUNTIES: Duval, Florida – Controversial Prosecutor, Inadequate Defense, Systemic Death Penalty Problems

Between 2010 and 2015, only 16 coun­ties in the United States imposed five or more death sen­tences. Duval County, Florida, which con­sis­tent­ly ranks among the most puni­tive death sen­tenc­ing coun­ties in the coun­try, sen­tenced 25 cap­i­tal defen­dants to death.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Innocence

,

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Representation

,

Oct 20, 2016

OUTLIER COUNTIES: Former Death Penalty Capital Shows Signs of Change

Harris County, Texas, the coun­ty that leads the nation in exe­cu­tions, has served as a bell­wether in recent years of the nation­wide decline of the death penal­ty. Although the 10 new death sen­tences imposed in Harris County since 2010 are more than were imposed in 99.5% of U.S. coun­ties, they are sig­nif­i­cant­ly few­er than the 53 new death sen­tences that were hand­ed down in Harris in 1998 – 2003 and the 16 from 2004 – 2009. The 2016 Kinder Institute sur­vey of Houston res­i­dents showed that just 27% pre­fer the death penal­ty over life…

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Innocence

,

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Race

,

Representation

,

Sep 16, 2016

OUTLIER COUNTIES: Judicial Override, Race Bias, Official Misconduct Rampant in Mobile, Alabama’s Use of Death Penalty

Judicial over­ride of jury rec­om­men­da­tions of life, the impo­si­tion of death sen­tences after non-unan­i­mous jury sen­tenc­ing rec­om­men­da­tions, and pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al mis­con­duct, race bias, and inef­fec­tive defense coun­sel have made Mobile County, Alabama one of the most pro­lif­ic death sen­tenc­ing coun­ties in the United States.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Representation

,

Oct 11, 2016

OUTLIER COUNTIES: Kern County, California Leads Nation in Police Killings, Ranks Among Highest in Death Sentences

Kern County, California—one of five Southern California coun­ties that have been described as the new Death Belt” — sent six peo­ple to death row between 2006 and 2015, more than 99.4% of U.S. coun­ties. Its death sen­tence-to-homi­cide rate dur­ing the 10-year-peri­od from 2006 to 2015 also was 2.3 times high­er than in the rest of the state. In this same time frame, Kern had the high­est rate of civil­ians killed by police of any coun­ty in the coun­try: between 2005 and 2015, police killed 79 peo­ple in Kern County, a rate of…

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Innocence

,

Intellectual Disability

,

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Race

,

Sep 23, 2016

OUTLIER COUNTIES: Legacy of Racism Persists in Caddo Parish, Which Had Nation’s Second-Highest Number of Lynchings

The death-sen­tenc­ing rate per homi­cide in Caddo Parish, Louisiana was near­ly 8 times greater between 2006 and 2015 than the rest of the state, mak­ing a parish with only 5% of Louisiana’s pop­u­la­tion respon­si­ble for 38% of the death sen­tences imposed statewide. Caddo cur­rent­ly has more peo­ple on death row than any oth­er parish in the state.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Race

,

Representation

,

Sentencing Data

,

Nov 21, 2016

OUTLIER COUNTIES: Los Angeles County Has Nation’s Largest — And Still Expanding — Death Row

Los Angeles County, California is the home of the nation’s largest death row, one that sta­tis­tics show con­tin­ues to rapid­ly grow. In January 2013, Los Angeles was respon­si­ble for more death row pris­on­ers than any oth­er coun­ty in the United States, and it has ranked as one of the two most pro­lif­ic coun­ties in impos­ing new death sen­tences each year since. The 31 death sen­tences imposed in the coun­ty between 2010 and 2015 are more than any oth­er U.S. coun­ty imposed dur­ing that peri­od and the four death sen­tences it…

Policy Issues

Innocence

,

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Sep 02, 2016

OUTLIER COUNTIES: Maricopa, Arizona — Outrageously Exploited Power,” Crippled” Defense, and Five Exonerations

Maricopa County, Arizona imposed 28 death sen­tences between 2010 and 2015 and, as described in a BuzzFeed news analy­sis of a new report on out­lier death penal­ty prac­tices, stands out for its stark exam­ples of the prob­lems found across the coun­ties that most often sen­tence peo­ple to death.”

Policy Issues

Innocence

,

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Apr 06, 2020

Outlier Counties: Melvin Bonnell Seeks New Trial After Defense Discovers Evidence That Cuyahoga County Prosecutors Had Withheld for Decades

Ohio death-row pris­on­er Melvin Bonnell (pic­tured) has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to vacate his con­vic­tion and death sen­tence after his lawyers dis­cov­ered phys­i­cal evi­dence from his case that Cuyahoga County pros­e­cu­tors had repeat­ed­ly insist­ed since the mid-1990s had been lost or destroyed.

Policy Issues

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Race

,

Representation

,

Dec 12, 2016

OUTLIER COUNTIES: Miami-Dade Death Sentences Reflect Constitutional Defects, Misconduct

Miami-Dade County has his­tor­i­cal­ly been a sig­nif­i­cant con­trib­u­tor to Floridas death row and large pro­por­tions of its recent death sen­tences raise seri­ous con­sti­tu­tion­al ques­tions about the prac­tices that result in death ver­dicts and the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the defen­dants who are sen­tenced to death. Miami-Dade imposed five death sen­tences between 2010 and 2015, plac­ing it among the 16 coun­ties that pro­duced more death sen­tences than 99.5% of all U.S. counties.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Intellectual Disability

,

Mental Illness

,

Race

,

Representation

,

Sentencing Data

,

Nov 07, 2016

OUTLIER COUNTIES: Non-Unanimous Jury Verdicts Highlight Systemic Flaws in Pinellas County, Florida Death Penalty

Pinellas County, Florida ranks among the 2% of coun­ties respon­si­ble for more than half of all pris­on­ers on death rows across the United States and among the 2% of coun­ties respon­si­ble for more than half of all exe­cu­tions con­duct­ed in this coun­try since 1977. The five death sen­tences imposed in Pinellas between 2010 and 2015 also place it, along with three oth­er Florida coun­ties, among the 16 U.S. coun­ties with the high­est num­ber of new death sen­tences in the country.

Policy Issues

Costs

,

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Race

,

Representation

,

Sep 08, 2016

OUTLIER COUNTIES: Official Misconduct, Race Bias Permeate Death Penalty in Clark County, Nevada

The geo­graph­ic arbi­trari­ness, high rates of offi­cial mis­con­duct, racial dis­crim­i­na­tion, and poor defense rep­re­sen­ta­tion char­ac­ter­is­tic of out­lier juris­dic­tions that dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly seek and impose the death penal­ty in the United States are all present in Clark County, Nevadas admin­is­tra­tion of the death penalty.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Race

,

Sep 17, 2021

OUTLIER COUNTIES: Ohio Death-Row Prisoner Challenges Sentence Based on Hamilton County Race Discrimination Study

An African-American man sen­tenced to death in Hamilton County, Ohio in 1999 for the mur­der of a white man is seek­ing to over­turn his con­vic­tion and death sen­tence based on evi­dence from a recent­ly pub­lished study that he was more than five times more like­ly to be sen­tenced to death because of his race and the race of the vic­tim in his case.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Race

,

Dec 28, 2016

OUTLIER COUNTIES: Orange County, California Plagued by Misconduct Scandals

Orange County, California imposed nine death sen­tences between 2010 and 2015, more than 99.8% of American coun­ties, and rank­ing it among the 6 most pro­lif­ic death-sen­tenc­ing coun­ties in the coun­try dur­ing that period.

Policy Issues

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Race

,

Representation

,

Oct 03, 2016

OUTLIER COUNTIES: Riverside County, The Buckle of a New Death Belt”

Riverside County, California imposed more death sen­tences than any oth­er coun­ty in the United States in 2015, account­ing for more than half of the state’s new death sen­tences and 16% of new death sen­tences imposed nation­wide. Among oth­er states, only the 9 death sen­tences imposed in Florida out­stripped Riverside’s total of 8.

Policy Issues

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Representation

,

Oct 31, 2016

OUTLIER COUNTIES: San Bernardino, California Shares Problematic Patterns of Neighboring Counties

San Bernardino County, California is one of five Southern California coun­ties that have pro­duced more death sen­tences since 2010 than 99.5% of all U.S. coun­ties. Along with its neigh­bors, Kern County, Riverside County, Orange County, and Los Angeles County, San Bernardino forms a new Death Belt,” a region with high num­bers of death sen­tences marked by overzeal­ous pros­e­cu­tors and poor rep­re­sen­ta­tion for defen­dants fac­ing a death sentence.

Facts & Research

Public Opinion

,

May 26, 2020

Poll Finds Record-Low Support for Death Penalty Among Houstonians

Just 20% of Houstonians — a record low — now sup­port the death penal­ty over life-sen­tenc­ing alter­na­tives, a new Rice University sur­vey has found. The 2020 Houston Area Survey by the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, released on May 4, 2020, found that death-penal­ty sup­port has declined by more than half since the turn of the 21st cen­tu­ry in the city of 2.3 mil­lion residents.

Policy Issues

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Jul 17, 2017

Report Finds High Levels of Misconduct in Four Top Death Sentencing Counties

Four coun­ties that rank among the most aggres­sive users of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment in the United States have pro­longed pat­terns of pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al mis­con­duct, accord­ing to a new report by the Harvard-based Fair Punishment Project. The report, The Recidivists: Four Prosecutors Who Repeatedly Violate the Constitution,” exam­ined state appel­late court deci­sions in California, Louisiana, Missouri, and Tennessee from 2010 – 2015, and found that pros­e­cu­tors in Orange County, CA; Orleans Parish, LA; St. Louis City, MO; and Shelby County, TN—all of which cur­rent­ly face alle­ga­tions of sig­nif­i­cant mis­con­duct — ranked among the most pro­lif­ic per­pe­tra­tors of…

Policy Issues

Intellectual Disability

,

Mental Illness

,

Jan 12, 2017

REPORT: 5 Florida Counties Disproportionately Impose Death Penalty Against Seriously Mentally Impaired Defendants

Nearly two-thirds of death row pris­on­ers in five Florida coun­ties whose cas­es were stud­ied by Harvard University’s Fair Punishment Project suf­fer from seri­ous men­tal impair­ments. According to a report released by the project on January 12, 2017, the Florida Supreme Court’s December 2016 rul­ing in Mosley v. State requires recon­sid­er­a­tion of the sen­tences imposed on approx­i­mate­ly 150 peo­ple on Florida’s death row who were sen­tenced to death after the U.S. Supreme Court decid­ed RIng v. Arizona in 2002. Based on Ring, Florida’s death sen­tenc­ing pro­ce­dures were lat­er ruled uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. Nearly…

Policy Issues

Innocence

,

Intellectual Disability

,

Aug 09, 2022

Shelby County Voters Oust Prosecutor Who Sought to Execute Pervis Payne

Tennessee vot­ers have issued a stun­ning rebuke to con­tro­ver­sial Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich (pic­tured), oust­ing her from office after an eleven-year tenure marred by charges of racism and misconduct.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Prosecutorial Accountability

,

Sentencing Data

,

Sep 10, 2015

Southern California Tops Deep South in New Death Sentences Amid Mounting Evidence of Misconduct

Riverside County, California is the buck­le of a new Death Belt,” says Professor Robert J. Smith of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, pro­duc­ing 7 death sen­tences in the first half of 2015. This, Smith says, is more than California’s oth­er 57 coun­ties com­bined, more than any oth­er state, and more than the whole Deep South combined.”

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

,

Race

,

Aug 18, 2015

STUDIES: Racial Bias in Jury Selection

A new study of tri­als in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, revealed that poten­tial jurors who were black were much more like­ly to be struck from juries than non-blacks. The results were con­sis­tent with find­ings from Alabama, North Carolina, and oth­er parts of Louisiana, high­light­ing an issue that will be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court this fall.

Facts & Research

Sentencing Data

,

Apr 02, 2018

Study Analyzes Causes of Astonishing Plunge” in Death Sentences in the United States

Multiple fac­tors — from declin­ing mur­der rates to the aban­don­ment of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment by many rur­al coun­ties and sub­stan­tial­ly reduced usage in out­lier coun­ties that had aggres­sive­ly imposed it in the past — have col­lec­tive­ly led to an aston­ish­ing plunge” in death sen­tences over the last twen­ty years, accord­ing to a new study, Lethal Rejection, pub­lished in the 2017/​2018 Albany Law Review. Using data on death-eli­gi­ble cas­es from 1994, 2004, and 2014, Drake University law pro­fes­sor David McCord and Niagara University crim­i­nal jus­tice pro­fes­sor Talia Roitberg Harmon exam­ined a range of fac­tors to determine…