Texas, Florida, Georgia, Missouri and Oklahoma have accounted for 90 percent of the 122 executions carried out in the U.S. over the past three years. One expert says criminal justice processes and incentives make those states capital punishment outliers.
Escapees Ricky Dubose and Donnie Russell Rowe were denied bail at arraignment in Georgia on Wednesday following their return from Tennessee, where they were apprehended last week. They are accused of killing two prison officers during their escape.
The Justices rule 5-4 in favor of James McWillams, an Alabama death row inmate who argued that he had been unfairly denied access to an independent mental health expert. New Justice Neil Gorsuch joins the dissenters.
Black homicide defendants in Louisiana are more likely than whites to face charges making them eligible for the death sentence in cases in which their victims are white, according to a Northeastern University study.
California’s Supreme Court heard arguments on a ballot measure passed in November to speed up executions. Proposition 66, backed by prosecutors, would require courts to review death penalty appeals rapidly. Several justices said it was clear that the court could not meet the measure’s five-year deadlines for resolving death penalty appeals without sacrificing attention to other kinds of cases.
Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered a moratorium on executions, pending a capital punishment task force report that was due over four years ago. State troopers want the moratorium lifted to execute the survivalist who killed a trooper in 2014.