FEATURED POST

Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?

Image
In the past, abolition efforts have faced a backlash—but Gavin Newsom’s moratorium may be different.
The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

Supreme Court blocks death sentence over racial bias

The Supreme Court blocked the execution of a Texas murderer Wednesday because of racially discriminatory testimony presented by his own defense team.

The 6-2 ruling was the second in the court's new term to overturn a death sentence, and it could be a harbinger of things to come. The justices heard another death penalty case from Texas in November that hinges on a prisoner's intellectual disability.

Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the ruling in favor of Duane Buck, who was sentenced to death following the testimony of a defense witness in 1996 who said he would be more dangerous in the future because he is black.

The testimony "said, in effect, that the color of Buck’s skin made him more deserving of execution," Roberts wrote. "No competent defense attorney would introduce such evidence about his own client."

The effect of that testimony, Roberts said, "cannot be dismissed as de minimis. Buck has demonstrated prejudice."

Texas had agreed several years after Buck's sentencing to reconsider the sentences of seven prisoners following similar testimony, but they excluded Buck from the list because the prosecution was not to blame. But Roberts said such testimony from the defense is even worse.

"Buck may have been sentenced to death in part because of his race," the chief justice said. "As an initial matter, this is a disturbing departure from a basic premise of our criminal justice system: Our law punishes people for what they do, not who they are."

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented. Thomas wrote that the racial testimony was secondary to "the heinousness off petitioner's crime and his complete lack of remorse" for having shot and killed a former girlfriend.

At oral argument in October, it was clear a majority of justices would not let the death sentence stand. Even Alito, a former prosecutor known for being tough on crime, said "what occurred at the penalty phase of this trial is indefensible."

Still, several justices were concerned that Buck's challenge was not raised in time, and that a ruling in his favor could lead to a flood of other challenges from prisoners whose convictions have been considered final. Roberts sought to avoid that outcome by writing a decision tied directly to the facts in Buck's case.

Source: USA Today, February 22, 2017


50-year-old man sentenced to death for the 1987 murder of a 75-year-old woman in Euclid


A 50-year-old man has been sentenced to death for the murder of a 75-year-old woman in Euclid.

According to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Andre Jackson was convicted of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and sentenced to death for the murder of Emily Zak.

On June 25, 1987 Jackson murdered Zak in a laundromat in Euclid where she worked. Jackson kicked, punched and stomped Zak to death, he then pushed her head in a toilet.

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor said Jackson stole the cash register and register keys.

Jackson has filed a retro-active Atkins Claim. This is an Eighth Amendment principle requiring juveniles and those with mental retardation to be excluded as classes from the death penalty.

Source: WOIO news, February 22, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Singapore executes Michael Garing

Alabama: Tuscaloosa County jury recommends death penalty in capital murder case

Eyewitness to execution: The Sacramento Bee’s coverage of 1992 gas chamber execution

Colorado’s death penalty repeal in holding pattern. Vote margin appears close.

“Texas 7” Member Contests “Law of Parties”

Singapore: Harvesting organs from death row "donors"

Assemblymember Levine Introduces Constitutional Amendment to Abolish California’s Death Penalty

Brunei to pass law that will punish gay sex with death by stoning

A Letter from Sister Helen Prejean to Governor Gavin Newsom

Despite Possible Innocence and Intellectual Disability, Alabama Intends to Execute Rocky Myers