An Arizona case pending in the Supreme Court could go a long way toward ending the death penalty nationwide, says Harvard law Prof. Laurence Tribe. At issue is “aggravator creep,” the rising number of aggravating factors used to justify executions.
In the case of Texas death row inmate Carlos Ayestas, the U.S. Supreme Court weighed when federal courts should grant funding to investigate unexplored mitigating evidence that could toss out a death sentence.
A study of capital punishment in Pennsylvania concluded that a white victim increases the odds of a death sentence by 8 percent. When the victim is black, the chances are 6 percent lower. Pennsylvania has 157 men on death row, but Gov. Tom Wolf has imposed a moratorium on the death penalty since 2015.
Torrey McNabb tells the “state of Alabama … I hate you.” His relatives believed drugs may have caused him to feel pain in his final moments. The number of executions this year in the U.S. has risen for the first year since 2009.
In what could be Philadelphia’s last death penalty case, prosecutors are seeking an execution for Robert Lark in a 1979 killing. Some 120 death penalty cases have been overturned in Pennsylvania. Of those, only three people have been returned to death row. No one has been executed in the state since 1999.
Houston serial killer Anthony Shore was about to be executed when a prosecutor asked for a delay based on reports that Shore would confess to a murder, for which another death row inmate was already convicted.
A media coalition is appealing a ruling by a federal judge that news organizations don’t have a right to information about execution drugs used by the state. Among concerns listed by Judge G. Murray Snow was a belief that identifying companies that provide drugs makes them targets for anti-death-penalty advocates and discourages them from selling the drugs to state departments of corrections.
Anthony Shore, the confessed serial rapist and strangler whose murders in the 1980s and 1990s went unsolved for more than a decade, is scheduled for execution Wednesday evening. Courts rejected his latest appeals that argued a traumatic brain injury decreases his culpability.
Prosecutors said the stabbing stemmed from a dispute over a peanut butter sandwich that Robert Pruett wanted to take into a recreation yard against prison rules. He was the 20th prisoner to be put to death this year.
At least ten Texas death row inmates are seeking to have their death sentences thrown out in exchange for life in prison under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling this year that changed how Texas determines intellectual disability. Some relatives of victims are unhappy that many cases are now in doubt.