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

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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…

USA: Mapping the Modern Death Sentence

Map death penalty USA
New Online Resource a UVA Law Collaboration

The University of Virginia School of Law has collaborated on a new website that uses a data-driven, interactive map to illustrate the rapid decline of the death penalty in the United States since 1991.

The website is a supplement to Professor Brandon Garrett’s 2017 book, “End of Its Rope: How Killing the Death Penalty Can Revive Criminal Justice,” published by Harvard University Press.

Previously, there had not been comprehensive, county-level data about persons sentenced to death during the period of 1991-2016. So Garrett worked with a UVA Law librarian and a group of law students, with assistance from undergraduate students in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, to code and check the data of more than 5,000 death sentences. They gathered the information from government records, court rulings and other sources.

“This is the first resource to map out modern death sentencing in the United States,” Garrett said. “The mapping vividly shows how geographically isolated death sentencing has become.” 

The website allows researchers to view the information in a number of ways.

“You can use a slider and see how, over time, death sentencing has retreated from rural to a few larger, more urban counties,” he said. “Lawyers can also more carefully examine patterns in their states and counties, which may prove useful in litigation.” 

The entire archive of data generated in researching the book is available on the website, free and easily accessed by anyone doing research. 

“Several researchers, in addition to those of us at UVA, have already made use of the data, and we hope that more do so in the future,” Garrett said.

Garrett is also the author of "Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong." He is the White Burkett Miller Professor of Law and Public Affairs and the Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law at UVA.

In addition to the new book, he has authored several articles as part of the death sentencing data analysis — including one with Ankur Desai ’17, forthcoming in the Notre Dame Law Review, and another with UVA Law librarian Alexander Jakubow.

The Proteus Action League provided a grant to create the website.

Source: University of Virginia, School of Law, Eric Williamson, March, 2018. Mr. Williamson is Associate Director of Communications and Senior Writer


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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