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Honoring Marie Deans

Marie McFadden Deans spent her adult life fighting against the death penalty. Her work took her onto South Carolina and Virginia’s death rows, where she became an advocate and a friend for the condemned men. And her dedication took her to the death house, where she stood “death watch” with 34 men. Marie’s work took a terrible toil on her health, and she died in April of 2011 at the relatively young age of 70.

Marie is buried in her family plot in the historic Sardinia-Gable Cemetery in Clarendon County, South Carolina. Because of the very modest size of her estate, Marie currently does not have a head stone on her grave.  Her friends, family and colleagues  are now raising money for a fitting memorial.  Please consider donating money to help them purchase a headstone so they can honor this wonderful woman and dedicated death penalty abolitionist.  Their hope is to raise $2500 by July 1, 2017.

Life, Death, and Forgiveness

by Lisa Gensheimer

What does a nun wear to the Academy Awards?

No, it’s not a riddle answered by black-and-white-and-red-all-over. It’s a question faced by Sister Helen Prejean, whose soul-wrenching relationship with a death row inmate inspired her Pulitzer Prize-nominated book and the movie Dead Man Walking, nominated for four Oscars.
Continue reading: Erie Reader

Could One of These Cases Spell the End of the Death Penalty?

Last June, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer suggested that the death penalty might be close to its ultimate demise. “Rather than try to patch up the death penalty’s legal wounds one at a time,” he wrote in a dissent to Glossip v. Gross, to which Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg added her name, “I would ask for a full briefing on a more basic question: whether the death penalty violates the Constitution.”
. . . Regardless of what case they pick, the justices have many options; they could restrict the death penalty without abolishing it altogether. They could raise the age of who qualifies for the punishment or define more stringent tests for IQ or other indicators of mental ability. They could strike down the laws governing how juries make death decisions in some states1 but not others, or strike down laws keeping information about execution drugs secret. They could restrict the death penalty to the most heinous crimes, such as mass acts of terrorism or killing a police officer or prison guard.  Read the article: The Marshall Project

Death Penalty Case to be Re-Tried in St. Louis (Reggie Clemons)

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (MissouriNet) — A man whose death sentence was thrown out in November will be retried for the 1991 murders of two sisters on the Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer M. Joyce says she will retry 44-year-old Reginald Clemons for the murders of Julie and Robin Kerry, and says she will seek the death penalty against him. She is also filing charges of forcible rape and first-degree robbery.       Continue reading

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

Begging to Be Executed Saved His Life

A death row inmate who was exonerated at the 11th hour opens up about the psychological turmoil he faced, and the problems with capital punishment.

It could only make sense in the twisted world of American justice. A death row prisoner’s life was saved because he wrote to a judge begging to be executed.

After decades behind bars protesting his innocence, he could no longer stand the failed appeals, the enforced silences, and the despair of another extinguished dream of freedom. He requested that his trip to the electric chair take place in the coming months.
Continue reading: The Daily Beast
Review of “The Fear of 13”
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