FEATURED POST

America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

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With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the national fight to abolish capital punishment will have to go local.
When the Supreme Court revived capital punishment in 1976, just four years after de facto abolishing it, the justices effectively took ownership of the American death penalty and all its outcomes. They have spent the decades since then setting its legal and constitutional parameters, supervising its general implementation, sanctioning its use in specific cases, and brushing aside concerns about its many flaws.
That unusual role in the American legal system is about to change. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the court this summer, the Supreme Court will lose a heterodox jurist whose willingness to cross ideological divides made him the deciding factor in many legal battles. In cases involving the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, his judgment often meant the difference between life and death for hundreds of death-row pr…

Texas death row inmate convicted of killing prison guard wins reprieve

Robert Pruett
Robert Pruett
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) A Texas death row inmate who faced execution later this month for the murder of a corrections officer won a reprieve Thursday.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruling halted the scheduled Aug. 23 execution of Robert Pruett, 36, who was sentenced to death for the December 1999 stabbing death of corrections officer Daniel Nagle, 37, at the McConnell Prison Unit near Beeville.

Nagle was stabbed seven times and died of a heart attack.

Investigators found a ripped up disciplinary note beside his body that led them to Pruett, who was serving a 99-year sentence at the unit.

Pruett, who maintains his innocence, says his name was on the note found because the guard wrote him up for taking his lunch out into the yard.

Pruett's lawyers are appealing a ruling from the Bee County trial court that rejected arguments Pruett wouldn't have been convicted if results of DNA testing now available had been known at the time of his trial in 2002.

The appeals court set no timetable in its ruling Thursday and offered no further explanation.

Source: The Associated Press, August 11, 2016


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