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Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

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In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

On death row 35 years, Texas inmate dies of natural causes

Typical death-row cell, Polunsky Unit, Texas
Typical death-row cell, Polunsky Unit, Texas
Texas prison officials say a man on death row for 35 years for a Houston robbery where 3 people were shot and killed has died of natural causes.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark says 60-year-old Max Soffar died Sunday at the infirmary at the Polunsky Unit prison, home of the state's male death row.

Soffar had said he was being treated for liver cancer.

He was condemned in 1981, a year after the slayings of 17-year-old Arden Alane Felsher, her 17-year-old boyfriend, Tommy Lee Temple, and 25-year-old Stephen Allen Sims, an assistant manager at a bowling alley that was being robbed.

Soffar was retried in 2006 and convicted again.

Only 6 of the some 250 condemned inmates in Texas have served more time than Soffar.

Source: Associated Press, April 25, 2016

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