FEATURED POST

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

Image
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…

Clinton’s quiet support of the death penalty for Dylann Roof

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton
Shortly before her heavily publicized speech on foreign policy -- a speech that was so certain to monopolize media attention that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) used it as cover for his endorsement of Donald Trump -- Hillary Clinton finally gave the Huffington Post an answer to a question on which the outlet had been pressing her.

Last week, the Justice Department announced that it would seek the death penalty for Dylann Roof, who is accused of shooting nine people at a church in Charleston, S.C., last June. Bernie Sanders's campaign quickly told the Huffington Post that he opposes the move because he opposes the death penalty. But Clinton hadn't taken a position one way or another until Thursday afternoon. At that point, right before the big speech, a spokesman told HuffPo that "she respects the Justice Department decision."

In other words, that she supports the use of the death penalty in the case.

That's out of step with the most liberal wing of the Democratic Party. Most Americans support the death penalty, even as support for the tactic has slipped. In the most recent General Social Survey, conducted in 2014, only "strong Democrats," "liberal" and "extremely liberal" respondents were more likely to oppose the death penalty than support it.

Put another way: The people who were least supportive of Clinton in the primary are the ones who likely will most disagree with this move.

It's natural to assume that this is perhaps a move back to the center, after being pulled to the left by Sanders for months. That after having essentially secured the Democratic nomination, she's now taking more general-election-electorate-friendly position on the death penalty that wouldn't have served her well in the primary.

But that's not the case. Clinton has long supported the death penalty. In a debate in New Hampshire in February, she made that point explicitly, saying that, particularly in federal terrorism cases, she thought the use of the punishment was appropriate. "I do for very limited, particularly heinous crimes believe it is an appropriate punishment," she said, "but I deeply disagree with the way that too many states are still implementing it. If it were possible to separate the federal from the state system by the Supreme Court, that would, I think, be an appropriate outcome."

That debate coincided with the feud between Sanders and Clinton over who was more progressive. On a number of issues, including the death penalty, she is clearly more centrist than Sanders, and has been since the campaign began.

So there's a flip side to the question. Why quietly announce approval of the Roof decision when it was bound to be blanketed by other coverage? Because of California.

A Field Poll conducted in January found that 60 percent of Democrats in that state thought that the death penalty should be eliminated -- including three-quarters of "strongly liberal" respondents. Clinton has all but wrapped up the nomination, but would very much like to seal her inevitable delegate victory with a victory in the biggest, bluest state in the union next Tuesday. So although her position (a) isn't out of step with her past pronouncements and (b) wouldn't hurt her in a general election, it won't do her much good over the next five days.

Clinton is eager to move on to the general-election campaign. But her quiet acquiescence Thursday serves as a reminder that she can't do that entirely just yet.

Source: The Washington Post, The Fix, Philip Bump, June 2, 2016

- Report an error, an omission: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com - Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Thailand carries out first execution since 2009

Florida seeks death penalty for Miami mom whose baby died from scalding bath

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

Alabama prison system sees steep rise in suicides

Iran: Six executions in one day

Texas: White supremacist gang members sentenced to death for killing fellow supremacist inmate

Iran: Death sentence of Gonabadi Dervish Mohammad Salas carried out despite protests

Kentucky Supreme Court rules death penalty IQ law is unconstitutional

After 21 Years on Death Row, Darlie Routier Still Says She's Innocent of Murdering Her Young Sons

Belarus: Unprecedented Supreme Court decision to suspend death sentences