Monthly Archives: December 2015

A Historic Year For The Death Penalty In America

By Kim Bellware, Huffington Post

From papal speeches to street protests, death penalty news loomed large in 2015.  

Some states like Pennsylvania, Nebraska and Connecticut informally halted or outright struck the practice from their books, while others like Texas and Oklahoma scrambled to keep their death chambers running — sometimes with disastrous results.                                                      Continue reading: The Huffington Post

Why Has The Death Penalty Grown Increasingly Rare?

, , , Even though polls show that 60 % of the public still supports the death penalty, and even though the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld it as constitutional, the number of executions this year so far is almost the same as the number of fatalities from lightning strikes – 27 executions versus 26 deaths by lightning.

It’s an ironic statistic. When the Supreme Court briefly banned the death penalty in 1972, it did so, in part, because, as Justice Potter Stewart put it, capital punishment was being imposed so randomly and “freakishly” that it was like being “struck by lightning.”

Please read Nina Totenberg’s article at NPR/South Carolina Public Radio

Americans are turning against the death penalty. Are politicians far behind?

As many people know, most recently from the presidential primary debates, Americans are backing away from harsh criminal justice policies. In the debates, both Democrats and Republicans have consistently and uniformly suggested that mass incarceration has gone too far.

That includes the death penalty. Politicians may soon realize that the public has soured on capital punishment, as our polling data show, just as it has on mass incarceration more generally.                        Continue reading: Washington Post

SC seeks death penalty for father who killed, dumped 5 kids’ bodies in AL

The death penalty will be sought against the Lexington County father of 5 accused of killing his children, then dumping their bodies in Alabama.
Tim Jones, Jr., 33, appeared in court on Wednesday where Solicitor Donnie Myers served notice of his intentions to seek the death penalty.                         Continue reading: WIS News

Prison officials deny South Carolina deliberately skirted law on lethal injection drugs

South Carolina corrections officials deny intentionally breaking federal law when they obtained a lethal injection drug from an overseas supplier several years ago, a drug that was never used for an execution and has since been turned over to authorities.

In a segment Sunday on the CBS news show “60 Minutes,” South Carolina was named as 1 of 6 states that “have skirted federal law and turned to black-market dealers to get their hands” on drugs to execute death-row inmates.                   Continue reading: The Post and Courier

 

Supreme Court Faces Decisions on Where to Go Next with the Death Penalty

While some inmates and lawyers are asking the justices to take on the constitutionality of executions, other cases present more subtle questions about process.

5 months after 2 Supreme Court justices made clear that they have serious questions about the constitutionality of the death penalty, lawyers are bringing plenty of related cases to the justices – and they’re due to consider whether to hear one of them this week.

When Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg disagreed with the court’s ruling in June allowing Oklahoma to use the sedative midazolam in its execution protocol, they also made it clear – in Breyer’s dissenting opinion – that they saw bigger problems with the death penalty, including whether the punishment itself is constitutional.    Continue reading: Buzzfeed