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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…

Oklahoma, Business Groups Get Supreme Court Review in Murder Case

Oklahoma
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an unusual death penalty case that could have outsize implications for businesses operating in Oklahoma.

The justices will review a lower court decision that stripped Oklahoma of the power to prosecute American Indians in much of the eastern part of the state. The ruling also called into question Oklahoma's regulatory authority in historically tribal territories.

Business groups and the Trump administration joined Oklahoma in urging Supreme Court review. Oklahoma told the justices the federal appeals court decision "will impose intolerable and destabilizing uncertainty throughout half the state."

In throwing out Patrick Dwayne Murphy's death sentence, the appeals court said that only the federal government had the power to prosecute him because the murder Murphy committed took place on land that is still part of the Creek Nation reservation.

The 3-judge panel said in a 126-page opinion that Congress didn't take the necessary steps to "disestablish" the Creek reservation in preparation for Oklahoma becoming a state in 1907.

"Because Mr. Murphy is an Indian and because the crime occurred in Indian country, the federal court has exclusive jurisdiction," the panel said. "Oklahoma lacked jurisdiction."

Murphy was convicted of the 1999 mutilation and murder of his former girlfriend's lover, George Jacobs. Both men were members of the Creek Nation.

Five Tribes


Although the Murphy case directly concerns only the Creek Nation, the appeals court's reasoning could also affect land once inhabited by the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole tribes, which have similar histories.

Murphy's lawyers urged the Supreme Court not to hear the appeal. They said the appeals court correctly relied on a 1984 Supreme Court ruling that requires Congress to show a clear intent to change a reservation's boundaries.

The Trump administration said the ruling would upend century-old understandings. The U.S. government would suddenly have exclusive responsibility to prosecute crimes committed by or against Native Americans in most of 8 counties, including the city of Tulsa, U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco told the court.

"That expansion could result in a massive increase in the federal government's Indian-related law-enforcement responsibilities," Francisco argued in court papers.

Trade groups for the Oklahoma oil and gas, ranching and farming industries said the ruling also would reverberate outside the criminal context, stripping power from the state and giving it to Native American tribes. The groups said tribes would potentially be able to impose taxes, issue regulations and force businesses and individuals into tribal courts.

The case is Royal v. Murphy, 17-1107.

Source: Associated Press, May 22, 2018


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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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