"

Their findings with whites, on the other hand, were disturbing. Not only where whites immune to persuasion on the death penalty, but when researchers told them of the racial disparity—that blacks faced unfair treatment—many increased their support.

It sounds glib, but if you needed a one-word answer to why whites are so supportive of the death penalty, “racism” isn’t a bad choice.

"

fearandwar:

Earlier this week, a group of students at Columbia Law School, along with law professor James Liebman, released a 400-page report detailing the story of a Texas man who was, according to the report, executed for a murder he did not commit.

Released online in The Columbia Human Rights Law Review, the narrative has received massive press attention in the last two days. Many in the media have already described the terrible story as a potential answer to Justice Scalia’s famous quip that if the United States ever executed the wrong man, “the innocent’s name would be shouted from the rooftops.”

The details of Carlos DeLuna’s story are far too numerous to fit into a single post, but keep reading for the key plot points. We also spoke with Shawn Crowley, a 2011 Columbia Law graduate and a co-author of the paper. She talked with us about how the project shaped her law school experience, and she gave some suggestions for other students who are looking for a more personal, relationship-based time in law school.

Let’s dig in…

In a very brief nutshell, Los Tocayos Carlos begins on February 4, 1983, when Wanda Lopez, a poor Hispanic single mother, was stabbed to death with a lock-blade buck knife while working at a convenience store in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Carlos DeLuna was convicted of the crime after just an afternoon of jury deliberations. He was executed in December 1989.

The Atlantic does a great job summarizing the basic facts of the case:

Texas convicted and executed DeLuna, all right, despite the fact that there was no blood or DNA evidence linking him to the scene of the crime. The state executed him despite the fact that the only eyewitness to the crime identified DeLuna while the suspect was sitting in the back of a police car parked in a dimly lit lot in front of the crime scene. Texas executed him despite the lack of DeLuna’s fingerprints at the crime scene and the lack of the victim’s hair and fibers on DeLuna. From a bloody scene, there was nothing.

Texas convicted and executed DeLuna despite the fact that the police and prosecutors knew or should have known that Lopez’s real murderer was a man named Carlos Hernandez, a violent criminal who looked almost exactly like DeLuna. Why? Because Hernandez was known to use the sort of knife used as the murder weapon. Because he matched initial descriptions of the suspect. Because he was known to be violent toward women. Oh, and because he evidently couldn’t stop bragging about how he had murdered Lopez and gotten someone else to take the fall for him.

The Atlantic piece, entitled “Yes, America, We Have Executed an Innocent Man,” also does a good job explaining the national implications of the story:

The Review article is an astonishing blend of narrative journalism, legal research, and gumshoe detective work. And it ought to end all reasonable debate in this country about whether an innocent man or woman has yet been executed in America since the modern capital punishment regime was recognized by the Supreme Court in 1976.

Los Tocayos Carlos fills 400 pages and contains several thousand footnotes. The official website for the project contains dozens of original source documents, including audio from the 911 call immediately preceding the murder, crime scene photos, and video footage of witness and family interviews. To say it is impressive would be a gross understatement.

(For what it’s worth, this is at least the second time in recent history that Texas has caught major national heat for its use of capital punishment. In 2009, the New Yorker published a lengthy story about Cameron Todd Willingham, another potentially wrongfully convicted and executed man. Do we see a trend yet?)

I can name at least 5 people I’m pretty sure have been executed in the US while being innocent.

And yet half of the country doesn’t see a problem with this. That’s the real crime.

Reblogging because I posted this last night at 3.

"It should be noted at the outset that the dissent does not discuss a single case — not one — in which it is clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit. If such an event had occurred in recent years, we would not have to hunt for it; the innocent’s name would be shouted from the rooftops by the abolition lobby."

Justice Antonin Scalia

Carlos DeLuna was innocent of the charges against him, according to the Columbia Human Rights Law Review.

Earlier this week, a group of students at Columbia Law School, along with law professor James Liebman, released a 400-page report detailing the story of a Texas man who was, according to the report, executed for a murder he did not commit.

Released online in The Columbia Human Rights Law Review, the narrative has received massive press attention in the last two days. Many in the media have already described the terrible story as a potential answer to Justice Scalia’s famous quip that if the United States ever executed the wrong man, “the innocent’s name would be shouted from the rooftops.”

The details of Carlos DeLuna’s story are far too numerous to fit into a single post, but keep reading for the key plot points. We also spoke with Shawn Crowley, a 2011 Columbia Law graduate and a co-author of the paper. She talked with us about how the project shaped her law school experience, and she gave some suggestions for other students who are looking for a more personal, relationship-based time in law school.

Let’s dig in…

In a very brief nutshell, Los Tocayos Carlos begins on February 4, 1983, when Wanda Lopez, a poor Hispanic single mother, was stabbed to death with a lock-blade buck knife while working at a convenience store in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Carlos DeLuna was convicted of the crime after just an afternoon of jury deliberations. He was executed in December 1989.

The Atlantic does a great job summarizing the basic facts of the case:

Texas convicted and executed DeLuna, all right, despite the fact that there was no blood or DNA evidence linking him to the scene of the crime. The state executed him despite the fact that the only eyewitness to the crime identified DeLuna while the suspect was sitting in the back of a police car parked in a dimly lit lot in front of the crime scene. Texas executed him despite the lack of DeLuna’s fingerprints at the crime scene and the lack of the victim’s hair and fibers on DeLuna. From a bloody scene, there was nothing.

Texas convicted and executed DeLuna despite the fact that the police and prosecutors knew or should have known that Lopez’s real murderer was a man named Carlos Hernandez, a violent criminal who looked almost exactly like DeLuna. Why? Because Hernandez was known to use the sort of knife used as the murder weapon. Because he matched initial descriptions of the suspect. Because he was known to be violent toward women. Oh, and because he evidently couldn’t stop bragging about how he had murdered Lopez and gotten someone else to take the fall for him.

The Atlantic piece, entitled “Yes, America, We Have Executed an Innocent Man,” also does a good job explaining the national implications of the story:

The Review article is an astonishing blend of narrative journalism, legal research, and gumshoe detective work. And it ought to end all reasonable debate in this country about whether an innocent man or woman has yet been executed in America since the modern capital punishment regime was recognized by the Supreme Court in 1976.

Los Tocayos Carlos fills 400 pages and contains several thousand footnotes. The official website for the project contains dozens of original source documents, including audio from the 911 call immediately preceding the murder, crime scene photos, and video footage of witness and family interviews. To say it is impressive would be a gross understatement.

(For what it’s worth, this is at least the second time in recent history that Texas has caught major national heat for its use of capital punishment. In 2009, the New Yorker published a lengthy story about Cameron Todd Willingham, another potentially wrongfully convicted and executed man. Do we see a trend yet?)

I can name at least 5 people I’m pretty sure have been executed in the US while being innocent.

And yet half of the country doesn’t see a problem with this. That’s the real crime.

kohenari:

This afternoon, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed legislation that replaces the death penalty with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole; here’s a portion of his statement upon signing:

My position on the appropriateness of the death penalty in our criminal justice system evolved over a long period of time. As a young man, I was a death penalty supporter. Then I spent years as a prosecutor and pursued dangerous felons in court, including murderers. In the trenches of a criminal courtroom, I learned firsthand that our system of justice is very imperfect. While it’s a good system designed with the highest ideals of our democratic society in mind, like most of human experience, it is subject to the fallibility of those who participate in it. I saw people who were poorly served by their counsel. I saw people wrongly accused or mistakenly identified. I saw discrimination. In bearing witness to those things, I came to believe that doing away with the death penalty was the only way to ensure it would not be unfairly imposed.

Connecticut becomes the seventeenth state to abolish capital punishment and the fifth in five years.

Governor Malloy’s full statement is here.

paxamericana:

paxamericana:

RIP Troy Anthony Davis (October 9, 1968 - September 21, 2011)
Murdered by the state of Georgia with the tacit approval of millions of Americans for the crime of being black in the wrong place at the wrong time. 
“The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I’m in good spirits and I’m prayerful and at peace. But I will not stop fighting until I’ve taken my last breath.” - Troy Davis, September 20, 2011
“To take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, not justice.” - Desmond Tutu

This upcoming Wednesday will be the six month anniversary of Troy Davis’ murder. 

Never forget.

paxamericana:

paxamericana:

RIP Troy Anthony Davis (October 9, 1968 - September 21, 2011)

Murdered by the state of Georgia with the tacit approval of millions of Americans for the crime of being black in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I’m in good spirits and I’m prayerful and at peace. But I will not stop fighting until I’ve taken my last breath.” - Troy Davis, September 20, 2011

To take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, not justice.” - Desmond Tutu

This upcoming Wednesday will be the six month anniversary of Troy Davis’ murder. 

Never forget.

Florida Republican legislator Brad Drake thinks criminals who get the death penalty aren’t suffering enough, so he’s introduced a bill that would eliminate lethal injections and bring back firing squads. Yes, really.

A bill filed Tuesday by Rep. Brad Drake, R-Eucheeanna, would allow for executions by firing squad. HB 325 would eliminate Florida’s standard method of execution, lethal injection, and allow for executions only by electrocution or firing squad. 

He said he filed the bill after overhearing a conversation in his district this past month while U.S. Supreme Court deliberated over the fate of Manuel Valle, convicted in the 1978 murder of a Coral Gables police officer. Valle’s lawyers filed numerous appeals, the last few of which centered around the use of a drug used in lethal injections. 

In a Waffle House in DeFuniak Springs, Drake said he heard a constituent say, “‘You know, they ought to just put them in the electric chair or line them up in front of a firing squad.’” After a conversation with the person, Drake, 36, said he decided to file the bill.

“There shouldn’t be anything controversial about a .45-caliber bullet. If it were up to me we would just throw them off the Sunshine Skyway bridge and be done with it,” Drake said.

At what point does the “Party of Life” just become no longer ironically funny and just a commentary on our culture’s inability to call people out on their shit?

1) BRANDON RHODE
September 27, 2010: Brandon Rhode is executed in Georgia, but his eyes remain wide open. Doubts are raised over the way sodium thiopental was administered. Dr Mark Heath declares in an affidavit: “If the thiopental was inadequately effective Mr. Rhode’s death would certainly have been agonizing… There is no dispute that the asphyxiation caused by pancuronium and the caustic burning sensation caused by potassium would be agonizing…”
2) JEFFREY LANDRIGAN
October 10, 2010: It takes several minutes for Jeffrey Landrigan to die in Arizona. He is executed with sodium thiopental sold by fly-by-night British drug company Dream Pharma. It appeared the anaesthetic may not have worked.
It took over 10 minutes for him to be pronounced dead.
3) EMANUEL HAMMOND
January 27, 2011: Emanuel Hammond is executed. Hammond closes his eyes, and then re-opens them later. Professor Sheri Johnson, who watched particularly intently because she knew there were doubts over the British thiopental’s efficacy, said “he closed his eyes perhaps ten seconds after the drugs started. But then, some time later, he opened them again”. Professor Johnson added that this was quite unlike three thiopental executions she had seen before, when the prisoners closed their eyes very quickly and remained “totally still”, apparently in a coma. Josh Green, a reporter with the Gwinnett Daily Post, confirms that Hammond first closed, and then re-opened his eyes some time after receiving the thiopental, while Jill Rand, a Florida nurse who became Hammond’s pen friend, said she saw him move his lips.
4) EDDIE DUVAL POWELL
June 15 2011: Eddie Duval Powell is executed by lethal injection in Alabama. Powell closes his eyes. He then opens them again later. Seemingly confused and startled, he jerked his head to one side and began breathing heavily, his chest rose and contracted.
5) ROY BLANKENSHIP
June 23, 2011: Roy Willard Blankenship is put to sleep by sodium thiopental, but dies with his eyes wide open. In a sworn affidavit, Dr David Waisel, Associate Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School, states: “…I can say with certainty that Mr. [Roy] Blankenship was inadequately anesthetized
and was conscious for approximately the first 3 minutes of the execution and that he suffered greatly.”
As you know  the State of Georgia issued a warrant for Marcus Ray Johnson not even a day after the execution of Troy Davis. The date has been set for Wednesday, October 5 at 7pm.  The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles will set a date for the his clemency hearing in the next few days. We must make sure that the Board not only know we’re watching, but we’re taking action!

Like in the Troy Davis case, this case is about faulty eyewitness identification. . Since 1973, 139 people on death row have been exonerated for innocence.  Five of those were from Georgia. http://www.gfadp.org/why/innocence   Here are the facts: ·         Marcus Ray Johnson was convicted on the basis of unreliable eyewitness testimony from people who did not see him commit any crime. ·         Expert testimony on the problems with the eyewitness identifications was not allowed at trial ·         No physical evidence ties Mr. Johnson to the crime. Testing of critical physical evidence from the crime scene has never been permitted by the courts and has since been destroyed by order of the trial court.  
Honestly, is Georgia making a move to be even worse than Texas in terms of death penalty cases?

Remember this. Don’t forget Troy Davis. It’s time to start fighting back.