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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 -…

With A Retail Partner, Anti-Death Penalty Movement Can Smell Success

The Lush “31 States” bath bomb
The Lush “31 States” bath bomb
The often-ignored issue finds a fragrant angel in Lush as it hopes to add mainstream support to every shopping bag.

CHICAGO ― On a recent spring evening along the Magnificent Mile, a cluster of shoppers gathered amid heaps of organic soap and fizzy bath bombs to engage in a decidedly less effervescent topic: the death penalty.

Lush, the activist-minded cosmetics company, was kicking off an anti-capital punishment campaign at its Michigan Avenue store, complete with speakers, including a death row exoneree, and a mini-documentary about wrongful convictions. Lush launched a special edition of its signature product, the bath bomb, to raised funds for the campaign, and it has drawn the notice of Teen Vogue, the beauty and lifestyle site Refinery29 and others.

At a store where customers typically come to sample beauty products or maybe enjoy a bachelorette party, neither the setting nor the audience was typical of the traditional anti-death penalty contingent ― and that’s exactly what advocates want.

Anti-death penalty advocates have looked to recent successful social justice movements as a blueprint. The goal, they say, is for the anti-death penalty movement to make the same progress as issues such as marriage equality and environmental protection, and to move from a back-burner issue to wider acceptance.

“We used to be in a lot of churches and vigils exclusively,” Diann Rust-Tierney, executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, said at the Chicago event (the NCADP is a beneficiary of the campaign). “But now, opposition to the death penalty is the mainstream. Why not have it here?”

Such partnerships seem poised for success: Activists can capitalize on a company’s broad reach and mainstream status to amplify and normalize a message, while the company can align with an issue that reinforces its identity at a time when a brand taking a socially conscious position is not only common but even advantageous.

Rust-Tierney said at least 20 national organizations ― from pharmaceutical companies to the travel, entertainment and tech conglomerate Virgin ― have taken a stance against the death penalty.

“What Lush is doing is taking an activist position against the death penalty, and they feel that’s consistent with their corporate mission, which has been involved wth social justice for some time,” said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit that compiles and analyzes data on capital punishment.

Dunham agrees that, by all indications, the anti-death penalty movement has edged its way into mainstream acceptance, as polls show.

“The phenomenon is not new, but it is emerging now that you have it associated with a product that has broader commercial appeal,” Dunham said of Lush’s effort. “A restaurant is one thing, when you have a small but reliable clientele. A company that sells products to the general public is a different story. But it’s part of the same phenomenon that shows the trend continues to evolve.”



➤ Click here to read the full article

Source: HUFFPOST, Kim Bellware, May 25, 2017

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