Eighteen protesters were arrested on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday morning after displaying a large “STOP EXECUTIONS!” banner calling for an end to capital punishment in America.
The demonstration was timed to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1977 execution by firing squad of Garry Gilmore, the first since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976. Similar protests have taken place every five years . . . continue reading: National Law Journal
Abolitionist Action Committee press release
Activists call on Nation to End the Death Penalty as State Executions hit Historic Lows
Members of the anti-death penalty Abolitionist Action Committee (AAC) and many faith leaders will stage a highly visual demonstration at the U.S. Supreme Court in the 10:00 am hour, Tuesday, January 17 to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1st execution under contemporary laws. A program featuring death row exonerees, murder victim family members and others, will take place the evening before. Continue reading
A Charleston, S.C., jury convicted racist murderer Dylann Roof of hate crimes last month, and now the only question is whether the state will put him to death. We oppose the death penalty even for the Dylann Roofs of the world. But if the jury disagrees with us, at least it would hand down the ultimate punishment in retribution for a truly unusual crime and without a shadow of doubt about Mr. Roof’s guilt.
Read more: Washington Post editorial
Last week, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution calling for a worldwide “moratorium on the use of the death penalty”—the sixth that the U.N. has approved in the past decade. Each one has gained the support of more of the organization’s members. The latest vote was a hundred and seventeen countries in favor to forty against. (Thirty-one abstained, and five did not vote.)
Read the article at The New Yorker
Year End Report
Another Record Decline in Death Penalty Use
Death sentences, executions and public support for the death penalty at historic lows.
Courts bar unconstitutional practices in four states.
Read the full report or watch a two minute summary: Death Penalty Information Center
A federal judge overseeing a death penalty trial in Vermont on Tuesday ruled that only the US Supreme Court can declare the death penalty to be unconstitutional – but nonetheless issued a strong critique of what he found to be an arbitrarily imposed punishment “in which chance and bias play leading roles.” Continue reading: Buzzfeed
An appellate court says a South Carolina man should be released from death row because a prosecutor’s “racially coded references” made a fair sentencing impossible. Continue reading
. . . Californians will vote next month on a referendum to abolish capital punishment in the state, and exonerees like [Juan] Melendez are the secret weapon of the anti-death penalty campaign. More than 20 people who have spent time on death row for a crime they didn’t commit have flocked to the state to argue against the death penalty in starkly personal terms. Read the article: Fusion
On the other hand – Death by Another Name
California Prop 62 would repeal the death penalty. A lifer says it doesn’t go far enough:
. . . Why not abolish the death penalty and life without the chance of parole? The assumption would be that it is possible for human beings to become better than their worst act. It does not mean that all prisoners would succeed. Some wouldn’t try hard enough, some wouldn’t be able to make the requisite changes to satisfy a skeptical parole board and an elected governor’s review, and some small percentage would continue to present an unreasonable risk to the public. No one, however, would be denied all hope. . . . The Marshall Project
Nebraska, Oklahoma, and California will test the prospects of abolition.
Public support for the death penalty is at its lowest level since the Supreme Court suspended capital punishment in 1972. A Pew Research poll published late last month revealed that only 49 percent of Americans now favor executing murderers, a seven-point decline from March 2015. Those poll numbers may reflect growing public concern about botched executions, the high costs of operating death rows, and the suspicion that states may have executed innocent people. Continue reading: The Marshall Project
. . . Capital punishment is a dwindling sanction but it’s still authorized by law, entrenched in the South and supported by millions of Americans. Carol and Jordan Steiker, professors at Harvard and the University of Texas Law Schools respectively, are the leading contemporary scholars of the death penalty. In Courting Death: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment they have brilliantly defined—in language accessible to the general reader— the massive dysfunction of the current system and the course that a future Supreme Court could take to do away with it.
Read the article at the Huffington Post