News

Florida’s death penalty ruling likely to spark appeals

A recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court has invalidated the way Florida imposes the death penalty, finding that it violates the Sixth Amendment. The action could spark new appeals by many of the nearly 400 prisoners in the state facing death sentences. In its 8-1 decision in Hurst v. Florida, issued earlier this month,

Read More »

The fight for Richard Glossip must go on

For several minutes on Wednesday afternoon, the world slowed down for those of us who act as advocates of prisoners’ rights. As each second crawled by, we waited with bated breath to hear the news as to whether Richard Glossip, convicted of the killing of Barry Van Treese in 1997, would take his final breaths

Read More »

Nebraska’s death penalty ban could be a watershed moment for America

On May 27th, the Nebraska legislature made the landmark decision to ban the death penalty in the state. A vote by the legislature came down in favor of overturning Governor Pete Rickett’s attempt to veto a ban on capital punishment in the state. And while some may be surprised that the red state has made this determination,

Read More »

Former Virginia Executioner Now an Anti-Death Penalty Activist

Once Virginia’s chief executioner, Jerry Givens put 62 people to death over a 17-year period from 1982 to 1999. Then he had an epiphany that pushed him to use his experience to advocate against the death penalty. Givens, 60, became a supporter of capital punishment at an early age. While attending a house party when

Read More »

California’s Lethal Injection Protocol Deemed Invalid by State Court

By Michael Brodheim In May 2013, a California appeals court invalidated regulations promulgated by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) regarding the manner in which the state executes condemned prisoners. The appellate court held that the CDCR had “substantially failed to comply” with the procedural requirements of the state’s administrative rules; the decision

Read More »

Racial Justice Act

In June 2013, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed legislation repealing the state’s Racial Justice Act of 2009 (the Act), a controversial law that supporters said was an effort to address racism in death penalty cases. Opponents, however, argued it merely clogged the legal system and denied justice to victims of the state’s 154 prisoners

Read More »

Oklahoma Inmate Dies 43 Minutes After Botched Execution

By The Takeaway A few days ago in Oklahoma, a chaotic series of events led to the botched lethal injection of a prisoner. Clayton D. Lockett, who was convicted of rape and murder in 1999, was one of two prisoners set to be executed by a new combination of drugs. Last night he was strapped on

Read More »

Maryland Repeals Death Penalty

By Christopher Zoukis

On May 2, 2013, Maryland became the sixth state in six years to abolish the death penalty, and the 18th state – along with the District of Columbia – that has rejected capital punishment. Maryland is the first Southern state to forgo executions in nearly half a century, joining West Virginia, with its 1964 repeal, as the only states below the Mason-Dixon Line without capital punishment on the books. 

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, a Democrat who has been fighting the state’s death penalty with legislative efforts since 2007, and who signed the repeal bill, said in a press release, “Maryland has effectively eliminated a policy that is proven not to work. Evidence shows that the death penalty is not a deterrent, it cannot be administered without racial bias, and it costs three times as much as life in prison without parole.” He added, “Furthermore, there is no way to reverse a mistake if an innocent person is put to death.”

The death penalty repeal, which goes into effect on October 1, 2013, does not explicitly apply to the five men currently on Maryland’s death row. The state’s last execution took place in 2005 when Governor Robert Ehrlich was in office. Present law allows the governor to commute the condemned prisoners’ sentences to life without parole, and O’Malley has said he will consider doing so on a case-by-case basis.

Kirk Bloodsworth, a Maryland man who was the first person in the U.S. to be freed from death row based on DNA evidence, attended the signing ceremony for the repeal bill. “Twenty-eight years ago I was sitting in a death row cell, and it became clear to me that we could execute an innocent man,” he stated. Bloodsworth, who was wrongly sentenced to death for the murder of a 9-year-old girl, said at a news conference, “No innocent person will ever be executed in this state again.”

Read More »
Categories
Categories
Archives