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Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

SC: Johnny Bennett, sentenced to death by an all-white jury despite undisputed evidence of racial bias

Johnny Bennett
Johnny Bennett
Columbia, S.C. - Below is a brief (4'12") film which illuminates the shocking racial injustice that permeates the capital sentencing system in the state of South Carolina and highlights those injustices specifically in the case of death row inmate Johnny Bennett.

On June 15th, 2016, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson appealed a decision granting a new sentencing hearing to Justice 360 client Johnny Bennett.

Wilson appealed despite undisputed evidence that racial bias infected the decision to sentence Mr. Bennett to death in 2000.

Mr. Bennett, who is African American, was sentenced to death by an all-white jury in Lexington County, South Carolina.

A juror who sentenced Mr. Bennett to death referred to Mr. Bennett as “just a dumb nigger.” At the sentencing hearing, Solicitor Donald Myers made numerous inflammatory references to Bennett’s race, calling him “King Kong,” a “caveman,” a “beast of burden,” and elicited other racially charged testimony in pursuit of a death sentence.

Myers also intentionally told the jury that Mr. Bennett previously had a white girlfriend, a fact completely irrelevant to the case.

Justice 360 is disappointed that Wilson has decided to defend such blatant racism and continues to relentlessly defend the racist actions that so many in the Palmetto State are striving to lay to rest.

The public and elected leaders in South Carolina have demonstrated that we are ready to put the racist relics of our past behind us, yet Attorney General Wilson continues to defend continued racism in the criminal justice system.

Source: Justice 360, July 7, 2016





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