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Anthony Ray Hinton Spent Almost 30 Years on Death Row. Now He Has a Message for White America.

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Anthony Ray Hinton was mowing the lawn at his mother's house in 1985 when Alabama police came to arrest him for 2 murders he did not commit. One took place when he was working the night shift at a Birmingham warehouse. Yet the state won a death sentence, based on 2 bullets it falsely claimed matched a gun found at his mother's home. In his powerful new memoir, "The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row," Hinton describes how racism and a system stacked against the poor were the driving forces behind his conviction. He also writes about the unique and unexpected bonds that can form on death row, and in particular about his relationship with Henry Hays, a former Klansman sentenced to death for a notorious lynching in 1981. Hays died in the electric chair in 1997 - 1 of 54 people executed in Alabama while Hinton was on death row.
After almost 30 years, Hinton was finally exonerated in 2015, thanks to the Equal Justice Initiative, or EJI. On April 27…

Missouri Conservatives Urge Legislature to Repeal Death Penalty

For the first time in decades, a Missouri Senate committee is set to consider a Republican bill to repeal the death penalty in Missouri. A recently-formed group of conservative grassroots leaders applauded Sen. Paul Wieland (R - Imperial), the bill sponsor, for his fiscal responsibility and commitment to protecting innocent life from conception to natural death.

"Sen. Wieland is the true pro-life leader in the Jefferson City," said Daniel Blassi, the President of Students for Life at Southeast Missouri State University and member of Missouri Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty. "We may aim to execute only the guilty, but in practice the death penalty puts too many innocent lives at risk."

Since last year's near-execution of Kimber Edwards, a death row inmate whose sentence was commuted after the State's key witness recanted his testimony, a growing number of conservatives have begun questioning whether the government can effectively carry out capital punishment. In October, the National Association of Evangelicals approved a resolution to change its 1973 resolution which favored the death penalty. Though the NAE's new standing policy does not completely reverse their prior position, it does acknowledges the growing number of evangelicals who oppose the death penalty and increasing concerns with its application.

The conservative case is straightforward: the death penalty is at odds with the core conservative values of fiscal responsibility, limited government, and value for life. "Heinous criminals deserve swift justice, but it's difficult to justify a government program that siphons millions of dollars from Missouri taxpayers despite the lack of evidence that it deters crime," said Jake Buxton, Chair of the Truman State University College Republicans. "Our State can't afford the death penalty as it stands."

"In my mind, it is impossible to be an advocate for liberty and the death penalty at the same time," said Anthony Vibbard, President Emeritus of the University of Missouri Federalist Society. "Young conservatives across Missouri are joining together on this and I firmly believe that decades from now, our children will be appalled that we once condoned murder as punishment."

The Senate hearing will be held Tuesday, January 19, at 3 p.m. in Senate Committee Room 1 of the State Capitol.

Source: Missouri Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty (MADP), January 15, 2016

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