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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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Study: At Least 1 in 25 Death Row Inmates Innocent

More than four percent of defendants sentenced to death in the United States are innocent, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Of the 7,482 defendants sentenced to death between 1973 and 2004, 117 (1.6 percent) were exonerated, according to the study. But many defendants are eventually resentenced to life in prison, and once the threat of capital punishment is removed, fewer resources are typically poured into examining their cases. The study's […]

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Seeking Death Penalty in Aurora Shootings Is a Mistake

On July 20, 2012, James Holmes entered a packed movie theatre in Aurora, CO during a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Fully armed, Holmes arbitrarily fired at the crowd. When he was done, 12 people were dead and 58 were injured. The police arrested Holmes on the scene, still armed and dressed in his Joker costume. Thus, the fact Holmes committed the shootings isn’t seriously in doubt. Realistically, the only possible defense available to him is a so-called […]