Old Death Penalty News

APNewsBreak: DEA seizes key execution drug in Ga.

ATLANTA (AP) — The Drug Enforcement Administration confirmed Tuesday that the agency seized Georgia’s supply of a key lethal injection drug because of questions about how the stockpile was imported to the U.S.

Read more at The State (outdated link)


Help Stop the Execution of Reggie Clemons

Reggie Clemons was sentenced to death in St. Louis, MO as an accomplice to the 1991 murder of Julie and Robin Kerry. Under interrogation, he confessed to having raped one of the women. The day after his confession was obtained, a judge had to postpone a status hearing in order to send Clemons to have his swollen face treated. Clemons later recanted the rape confession, claiming police brutality. No one, not even the prosecution, claimed that Clemons was directly involved in the actual murder.

A special hearing is underway right now, Monday, Sept. 17. If this hearing goes badly, Reggie may soon be executed. Please read more about his case, and contact MO governor Jeremiah Nixon.

Sept. 18 update from Laura Moye .. . .Sept. 22 update from Brian Evans ... . . Hearing Over: AIUSA Press Release


.For more information on what is happening in South Carolina to support Reggie Clemons, contact anna(at)charlestonpeace.net. For information on Death Penalty Week activities at USC, contact esancy(at)email.sc.edu.

Please see Scott Langley’s photos from the vigil for Reggie Clemons, Monday, Sept. 17, 2012

To find out more, check this website, and if you are in Columbia, please come to USC’s Russell House, Room 305, on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 7:00pm. SCADP board members Ron Kaz and Anna Shockley will talk about the similarities between Reggie’s case and that of Troy Davis, who was executed one year ago this Friday for a murder he almost certainly did not commit, and Bill Pelke, the president and a co-founder of the Journey of Hope, will speak at the vigil following the presentation.


Why Missouri Should not Execute Reggie Clemons

Reggie Clemons was sentenced to death in St. Louis as an accomplice to a 1991 murder. There was no physical evidence and since allegations have arisen of police coercion, prosecutorial misconduct, and a ‘stacked’ jury in the Clemons case. Despite so many lingering questions, Missouri is still planning to execute Reggie Clemons. Please watch Amnesty International’s 7 minute video about his case.


July 4, 2009

Across America today, on Independence Day, there will be traditional fireworks, parades, summer fun for children in swimming pools and at ballgames, and a pervasive national outpouring of patriotism, reflected in both flag displays and the singing of the national anthem at countless events.

There are also almost 3,300 individuals who will not be any part of these festivities; they are mostly forgotten, despised and reviled…. they are America’s condemned.

They sit on death rows in 34 states, as well as in a military prison in Kansas and a federal facility in Indiana. Most are overwhelmingly guilty of vile, heinous, outrageous and terrible crimes. Many are mentally ill, even profoundly mentally ill, and a good number are innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted. Collectively, they are, in part, responsible for a great deal of anger, hurt, pain and rage in our society.

They face death by firing squad, hanging, electrocution, cyanide gas, and lethal injection (there are more methods of legitimate state-sanctioned execution in the the USA than in any other country in the world).

As this nation is trying to emerge from the worst global financial crisis in 70 years, it remains in desperate need of trying to find, uphold and defend its moral soul. We are a long way from accomplishing this important national task.

Most of America’s political and judicial leaders, both male and female, in both major parties, remain committed to upholding the ideology and practice of human extermination. As long as any nation in the world, including the USA, retains and practices the barbarism of killing people in the name of the law, it can never be free. If people support, or are indifferent to the liquidation of condemned individuals, how can we be surprised that other horrors, such as torture, hate crimes, and crimes against women, continue at such an alarming pace?

To be sure, some advances in the abolition of the US death penalty have been achieved in the last decade: America has stopped executing its juvenile and mentally retarded offenders; New Jersey and New Mexico have legislatively ended the death penalty, and other states have, in recent years, come close to doing the same. Over 130 innocent people have been released from America’s death rows to date, and more will emerge to the free world in the years ahead.

But this “progress” has come at a frustratingly, agonizingly slow pace. Of the 1168 individuals put to death in America since executions resumed in 1977, 736 have been killed since 1998, including 200 just in Texas alone since Rick Perry became governor in 2001. There is no immediate end in sight to this horror.

There will undoubtedly be the traditional praise and self-congratulatory editorials and op-eds in our newspapers today, from coast to coast, from our major cities to our small communities, reminding us of how lucky we are to live in such a great nation. And in many ways, that sentiment is correct.

But it is a fallacy to believe that assessment when considering what is happening in this country regarding the issue of the death penalty. It is time to face the truth, admit national pain, and come to grips with the fact that on this issue, 233 years after the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed (and 402 years after the British first settled here), we are a national disgrace and failure. We remain wedded to the love of violence, and to the preposterous idea that some people in our society (and even around the world), can be classified as “lesser” or “other” humans, ‘deserving’ to be stripped of their human dignity, caged like animals for years, physically and psychologically tortured and terrorized, and then ultimately liquidated in the name of the law.

On this day, when so much celebrating in America will occur, I hope and trust that people will take a hard look at the sobering realities of this nation and its nightmare of the death penalty. Now is the time for all people of conscience, everywhere, to re-dedicate themselves with renewed fervor to end this terrible scourge, so that America may join the ranks of most nations in the world that have long since recognized the links between advancing human progress with ending the death penalty.

When the US does abolish the death penalty, it will then, and only then, have reasons to be proud and celebrate itself.

Rick Halperin
Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and
Amnesty International USA



Today, Wednesday, March 9, Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill abolishing the death penalty in Illinois and commuted the sentences of 15 death row inmates to life without parole. Click here to read the article in the Chicago Tribune.

Please use the links on Amnesty International’s blog to thank Governor Quinn and two of the bill’s champions, Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul and State Representative Karen Yarbrough, for their work.


Illinois Death Penalty Abolition Bill Goes to Governor

UPDATE: Please call Govenor Quinn’s office and ask that he sign the death penalty abolition bill: 312.814.2121

On January 11, the Illinois Senate joined the Illinois House or Representatives in voting to abolish the death penalty. The vote was 32 in favor, 25 against, with two abstentions. If Governor Pat Quinn signs the bill into law, Illinois will become the 16th state in the USA to ban capital punishment, and the third in the last four years.

Read more from Amnesty International



Virginia Likely to Make More Eligible for Death Penalty

Author: VJLA

This article, published by WJLA News on Jan. 1 and reprinted on Rick Halperin’s Death Penalty and Execution News page at SMU, lists many of the recent developments involving the death penalty in the U.S.

Death penalty expansion bills that were blocked in recent years likely will become law in Virginia under a new administration, making more people eligible for what is already the nation’s 2nd-busiest death chamber.

Since he took office in 2006, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has vetoed 15 bills making everyone from murder accomplices to killers of on-duty auxiliary police or fire marshals eligible for the death penalty. Legislators have
overridden some of Kaine’s vetoes, and currently there are 15 crimes that are punishable by death in Virginia.

Republican Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell (web | bio) has said he will sign legislation to expand the death penalty, even though other states are restricting capital punishment or repealing it altogether.

Opponents argue expansion would be costly as the state grapples with billions in revenue shortfalls and increase the risk of sending an innocent person to death row.

“I don’t believe that any of these are going to result in a significant difference in the number of capital prosecutions in Virginia,” said Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, noting that many of the bills blocked in
the past would have applied to very few crimes.

A month before Virginia’s legislators return to Richmond, Obenshain again filed legislation to eliminate Virginia’s triggerman rule, which reserves capital punishment for the person who actually does the killing and, he says, “allows rape-murderers, child-murderers and cop-killers to avoid the death penalty if they get somebody else to pull the trigger.”

Of the 35 death penalty states, 24 allow accomplices to face capital punishment. Obenshain said not doing so produces “illogical” results when two people commit a crime but only one can face death.

The bill has passed the last 3 years – even in the Democrat-controlled Senate – but Kaine vetoed it. Each year, senators came up a couple votes shy of the 2/3 majority needed to override the veto. The next legislative session begins Jan. 13.

Many states are trying to reduce the number of death penalty cases.

New Mexico lawmakers voted this year to abolish the death penalty, and 10 other states considered repealing it. Gov. Jodi Rell vetoed a measure to abolish it in Connecticut. In Maryland, lawmakers limited when prosecutors can seek the death penalty.

Attempts to expand the death penalty in other states were unsuccessful.

An effort to allow a death sentence without a unanimous jury in Georgia was defeated, as was an attempt to expand qualifying crimes in New Hampshire, where capital punishment is rare. Attempts to reinstate the
death penalty in Alaska, West Virginia and Massachusetts also failed.

“A change in administration sometimes marks a political change, but the facts haven’t really changed,” said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes the death penalty.

The center published a report in early December that showed dramatic drops in both death sentences and executions nationwide. It attributes that to fears of executing the innocent, the high cost of capital punishment and laws that allow inmates to be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

“Politically, it’s a tempting way to go – stand up and push for the death penalty. But I think there’s also a reality: More death penalty is more costly, there’s no way around that,” Dieter said.

Kansas lawmakers are scheduled to debate a proposal in January to abolish the death penalty based almost entirely on the argument that it is too expensive. A recent study there found that seeking the death penalty in Kansas costs 4 times more in legal fees, and housing death row inmates costs an additional $1,000 a year.

A similar study is under way in Virginia, where the corrections system has lost millions of dollars in funding since July 2008 as Kaine worked to cut state spending by $10 billion.

McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said the governor-elect believes the death penalty is rightly reserved for the most heinous and violent crimes, and that money is not a consideration.

“The governor-elect views it as a criminal justice and public safety matter, not as a potential source of budget savings,” Martin said.

Virginia has executed 105 inmates, more than any state except Texas, since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. Texas has executed 447.

Kaine, a Democrat and a Roman Catholic, opposes the death penalty but has allowed 11 executions and commuted one death sentence. There are currently 14 people on Virginia’s death row.

Opponents say expanding the death penalty, especially to those not directly responsible for a death, opens the door to discrimination.

“It will not make the citizens of Virginia any safer and will exacerbate the already arbitrary application on the basis of race and geography,” said Beth Panilaitis, executive director of Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

(source: WJLA News)



WORLD-WIDE Protests Planned of 200th Execution Under Texas Governor Rick Perry

On June 2, 2009, protests will be held in the U.S, Canada and Europe of the 200th execution under Texas Governor Rick Perry, which is scheduled to take place on that day. Since he became governor of Texas in December 2000, Perry has allowed more executions to proceed than any other governor in U.S. history. Read the full article at the journey of hope . . . from violence to healing blog



Today, March 18, 2009, is Death Penalty Abolition Day in New Mexico! Just minutes ago, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson signed into law the bill to repeal the death penalty in that state. New Mexico has become the second state since 1965 to legislatively abolish the death penalty.

I know you will join me in applauding and congratulating Governor Richardson and the people of New Mexico for taking this important step.

Today marks the culmination of a campaign that started more than ten years ago in New Mexico. To everyone who had a hand in today’s success, we at the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty offer our thanks and our congratulations.

While we celebrate this important victory for human rights, let us not forget that ours is an issue rooted in tragedy, pain and suffering. Please take a moment to reflect on or pray for the families who have lost loved ones to murder, for the families of those accused and facing punishment for the crime of murder, for the members of law enforcement who must deal with the aftermath of murder, and yes, for those condemned to death, guilty or not.

Today, I ask you to take two important actions.

#1: Please take a few minutes to mail a hand written note of thanks to Governor Richardson. What he did was both just and proper, and he needs to know that his action is appreciated.

Governor Bill Richardson
Office of the Governor
490 Old Santa Fe Trail, Room 400
Santa Fe, NM 87501

#2: There is so much more work to be done. 35 states still have the death penalty. As we did in New Mexico, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is working to ensure that effective and strategic campaigns are in place across the nation. With your help, we can do more. Please make a generous contribution today to help NCADP continue to be a useful partner to the efforts of our affiliates, the folks who are on the front lines every day in this struggle. Your support makes it happen. https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/206/shop/custom.jsp?donate_page_KEY=12 (outdated link.)

A few additional thoughts….

Visit our web page (http://www.ncadp.org) to see NCADP’s official statement on Abolition in New Mexico.

Visit NCADP’s blog at http://www.ncadp.org/blog.cfm to see related posts, including the comments NCADP Director of Affiliate Support, Abe Bonowitz, who worked very closely with our New Mexico affiliate in the work that culminated in today’s events.

Check out NCADP on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/ncadp) and Facebook (http://apps.facebook.com/causes/104077/15397411?m=611088da) (outdated link.)

And finally,

Thank you.


Diann Rust-Tierney
Executive Director, NCADP


Help New Mexico Abolish the Death Penalty

Greetings From New Mexico!

Earlier today, Friday, March 13, 2009, the New Mexico Senate voted 24-18 to repeal the death penalty in New Mexico and replace it with a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole. House Bill 285 passed the house last month and now goes to Gov. Bill Richardson for his signature.

When Governor Richardson signs this bill, New Mexico will become the second state in as many years to legislatively abolish the death penalty.

As I listened to the debate in the gallery of the New Mexico Senate this afternoon, I could not help but feel grateful and proud to be representing your National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (outdated link) on this historic day. NCADP is a partner to its affiliate, the New Mexico Coalition to Repeal the Death Penalty, and I was there in my role as Director of Affiliate Support to watch the culmination of years of tireless work that brought us to this day.

Our work is not yet done. I am writing to ask you to take a few minutes right now to contact New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and ask him to sign House Bill 285 as soon as possible.

Governor Richardson’s office has set up a hotline to receive the opinions of New Mexicans (and anyone else) on the issue. That number is 505-476-2225. Those wishing to weigh in via e-mail can do so through the governor’s web site and clicking on “Contact the Governor.”

“This is an extremely difficult issue that deserved the serious and thoughtful debate it received in the Legislature,” Richardson said in a prepared statement. “I have met with many people and will continue to consider all sides of the issue before making a decision.”

Please take action RIGHT NOW to urge Governor Richardson to sign HB 285, the Death Penalty Repeal Bill, whether you live in New Mexico or anywhere else. Especially if you know people who live in New Mexico, please forward this message and urge them to take action immediately. Thank you.

Take Action

Canvass Dates for Troy Davis (outdated link)

Urge Congress to remove the death penalty provision from the Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes Prevention Act. (outdated link)

The North Carolina Racial Justice Act has passed the House and Senate and been signed by Governor Bev Perdue, making North Carolina the second state in this country that provides a remedy for defendants who can demonstrate that they were sentenced to death based on their race.