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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 -…

Tennessee death row inmates die of natural causes

Riverbend Maximum Security Institution, TN
Riverbend Maximum Security Institution, Tennessee
NASHVILLE - Death Row inmate Gary Cone has passed away at the age of 67.

He was pronounced dead at 9:38 AM on Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at a Nashville hospital of natural causes.

Cone was convicted of armed robbery, assault with intent to murder and two counts of first degree murder.

He was sentenced to death in Shelby County in 1982.

After nearly 20 years on death row, William Stevens died Monday at the age of 60.

He was pronounced dead at 1:57 a.m. on April 4, 2016, at a Nashville hospital of natural causes, according to a release from the Tennessee Department of Corrections.

He was an inmate at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison here in Nashville.

Stevens was convicted of especially aggravated robbery and two counts of first degree murder for the 1997 deaths of his wife, 45-year-old Sandra Jean Stevens, and her mother, 75-year-old Myrtle Wilson.

Stevens was found guilty of hiring 18-year-old Corey Milliken to murder the two women and stage a burglary at their home.

He was sentenced to death in 1999. Milliken is serving a life sentence.

In 2002, the Tennessee Supreme Court upheld Stevens' death sentence, although one justice offered a dissenting opinion.

Tennessee has not executed anyone since 2009. The state set execution dates for 10 men in early 2014, but in April 2015 all executions were put on hold.

Sources: TNDOC, Nashville Scene, April 20, 2016

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