California's 'Broken' Death Penalty System

California’s death penalty system needs to change. The death penalty is not an easy topic to discuss. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we lived in a perfect world where we did not have to worry about protecting our family and loved ones from evil? However, we do! My mother, sister and two nephews were murdered in 1984 in a home invasion murder for hire.

Study of LA Homicides, Executions Shows ‘Stark Disparities’ Based on Race

A review of Louisiana homicide and death penalty cases going back to 1976 found that convicted murderers who killed black males were less likely to be executed than those who killed other victims, according to a study forthcoming in the Loyola University of New Orleans Journal of Public Interest Law. The data analyzed by the study authors, Frank Baumgartner and Tim Lyman, demonstrate what they conclude are stark disparities in the use of the death penalty, depending on the race and gender of the victim. “Young black males have extremely high rates of homicide victimization compared to other categories,” the authors write. “However, the death penalty is used only very rarely in those cases where the victim is a black male.” The study found that the rate of capital punishment per homicide gradually declines from white females to white males, to black females, and finally to black males—who make up 61 percent of all homicide victims in Louisiana.

California and the Death Penalty

The world contains extremely dangerous and evil people who cannot be deterred by threat of incarceration. I’m not talking about the average gang murder or robbery gone bad. I am talking about the people who rape infants to death; who kidnap, torture, rape and murder children; who target police officers in the line of duty; who kill not just one, but a half dozen or dozen or more innocent victims in serial and mass murders. Such people are the reasons why California still needs a death penalty. If the punishment for one murder is life in prison, how do you punish someone for three murders or five murders?

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Gets Death Penalty

The jurors’ 24-page verdict form in the death-penalty trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sent one clear message, reports the Boston Globe: The defense team's narrative about why this lanky, expressionless defendant deserved sympathy did not ring true. During 14½ hours of deliberations, the jury rejected each of four key aspects of the defense case. The panel did not agree that Tsarnaev came under the domination of an older brother, that he was largely neglected by troubled parents, and that the nation’s toughest high-security prison would prevent him from achieving future fame. And in what may have been pivotal in the jury's decision, the panel rejected the defense contention that Tsarnaev was remorseful. He showed little emotion throughout the trial, even when some victims with prosthetic legs testified about multiple surgeries they have endured, or BB's still lodged in their bodies.

Key Expert in Supreme Court Lethal Injection Case Did His Research on Drugs.com

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the highest-profile death penalty challenge in seven years, and the justices will began to consider this question: Does Oklahoma's use of the common surgical sedative midazolam fail to make prisoners unconscious during lethal injections, thus violating the Eighth Amendment's protection against “cruel and unusual punishment”? For many court watchers, however, a subject of special scrutiny is the credibility of Oklahoma’s key expert witness, Dr. Roswell Lee Evans, who has testified that inmates “would not sense the pain” of an execution after receiving a high dose of midazolam. The case, first brought by four condemned Oklahoma inmates, stems from the botched April 2014 execution of convicted murderer Clayton Lockett. Although Lockett received a substantial dose of midazolam intravenously, it failed to render him unconscious as he was administered the paralytic agent vecuronium bromide and the caustic heart-stopping drug potassium chloride. Witnesses reported that he moaned and writhed on the gurney for more than 40 minutes until his death.

The Death Penalty and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

If you follow the penalty phase of the trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzohkar Tsarnaev which starts next week, you will watch some of the most dedicated and accomplished lawyers in the country demonstrate the bankruptcy of the capital punishment system.

What's the Matter With the Death Penalty?

There have been three “botched” executions across the country in the last six months. On January 16, Dennis McGuire in Ohio gasped for air for some 25 minutes before succumbing to Ohio's new two-drug lethal injection protocol. On April 29, during Clayton D. Lockett's execution in Oklahoma, he “began breathing heavily, writhing on the gurney, clenching his teeth and straining to lift his head off the pillow.” The director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections halted the execution—Lockett died of a heart attack 43 minutes after the process began. Just last week in Arizona, the execution of Joseph R. Wood, III began at 1:57 p.m. and he was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m. The execution did not go as planned.

The Executioner's Toll

On Jan. 7, 2010, just after saying a prayer in Arabic, Ohio inmate Abdullah Sharif Kaazim Mahdi was executed for the 1993 murder of 28-year-old Sohail Darwish, a Toledo, OH grocer. Mahdi was the first of 46 people executed in 2010. Those 46 cases, from arrest to execution are chronicled in Matthew Mangino's recently released book The Executioner's Toll, 2010. Mangino, a former prosecutor who is also a regular Viewpoint contributor to The Crime Report, set out to provide a “true picture” of the American death penalty system by examining each case in a year, without filtering for the controversial or shocking.

How to Fix the Death Penalty

States that rely lethal injections of drug cocktails for execution should instead use a deadly dose of a single anesthetic or barbiturate, according to a comprehensive review of the death penalty released by The Constitution Project. A bipartisan panel of criminal justice experts — including those with experience as judges, prosecutors, defenders, law enforcement officers, policymakers, victim advocates and scholars — examined a host of issues related to the death penalty and today released 39 recommendations for improving its administration. They noted that complex drug cocktails can easily be miscalculated. The 217 page report comes just eight days after an untested three-drug cocktail caused the execution of convicted murderer Clayton Lockett to last more than 40 minutes, eventually causing him to die of a heart attack. The incident has drawn national attention to the administration of the death penalty and caused the state Oklahoma to delay another execution that was scheduled for later that same night.