Read a little. Learn a lot. • Tightly-written news, views and stuff • Follow us on TwitterBe a Facebook FanTumble us!

15 Dec 2011 11:39


U.S.: Death penalty: Statistics show significant decline in support, enactment

  • 78 number of death sentences handed out in 2011, which is way down from last year
  • 43 number of executions that happened nationwide this year; that’s down by three
  • 13 number of executions in Texas, the state with the most; they were also down from 2010 source
  • » A decline in the overall numbers: According to the Death Penalty Information Center, the death sentence number is the smallest since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. And public support is starting to fade: According to stats from Gallup, support for the death penalty is at its lowest level in nearly 40 years. Opposition is at its highest level since 1972. Keep this in mind when Rick Perry leads a crowd to cheers during a discussion about the death penalty. Or when cases like Troy Davis‘ widely-contested execution build support against the death penalty.

21 Sep 2011 22:34


U.S.: Man involved in infamous James Byrd Jr. hate crime executed

  • Hopefully, today’s execution of Brewer can remind all of us that racial hatred and prejudice leads to terrible consequence for the victim, the victim’s family, for the perpetrator and for the perpetrator’s family.
  • Clara Taylor, the sister of James Byrd, Jr. • Speaking of the execution of Lawrence Russell Brewer, one of the men responsible for the infamous hate crime that took her brother’s life. “We’re making progress,” she said. “I know he was guilty so I have no qualms about the death penalty.” This is in contrast to Taylor’s nephew, Ross Byrd, who felt it wasn’t the right move prior to the execution. Brewer was pronounced dead at 6:21 p.m. local time — or 7:21 EDT. His final words: “No. I have no final statement.” source

21 Sep 2011 21:24


U.S.: Troy Davis execution delayed as Supreme Court mulls over case

  • yeah … The U.S. Supreme Court has stepped in to render a decision on the ultra-controversial Troy Davis death row case, which delayed his execution past 7 p.m. EDT.
  • … butAll they’ve forced right now is a delay — there is a chance that the court might let the execution go forward. His supporters are in a frenzy this evening. source
  • » A last gasp: The Supreme Court’s decision is Davis’ final option — today alone, he’s offered to take a polygraph, he’s tried to appeal to the Georgia pardons board, he’s gone to the Georgia Supreme Court … and the U.S. Supreme Court’s move was a hail-mary play which had no guarantee of working. The court likely knew it was coming, though. Davis has knocked on their door before, and they’ve answered at least once — back in 2008, they gave Davis an opportunity for a new trial, but a federal judge didn’t go for it.

21 Sep 2011 10:58


U.S.: Death penalty: One of James Byrd Jr.’s killers will be executed tonight

  • With all the hubbub over Troy Davis’ probable execution, there’s another death penatly case that’s about to hit a head tonight, and this one was probably far more notorious at the time. In 1998, James Byrd, Jr. (right), was murdered in one of the worst hate crimes in modern times — dragged behind a pickup truck that was moving at full-speed. Lawrence Russell Brewer, left, is an avowed white supremacist and one of two men on death row for the attack. Brewer is scheduled to die tonight, but Byrd’s own son doesn’t want that. “You can’t fight murder with murder,” Ross Byrd said about the case. “Life in prison would have been fine. I know he can’t hurt my daddy anymore. I wish the state would take in mind that this isn’t what we want.” The execution is set for 6 p.m. local time tonight. source

20 Sep 2011 10:49


U.S.: Georgia denies clemency for controversial death row inmate Troy Davis

Davis, shown here in 1991, drew considerable support for his case, in which witnesses recanted testimony that led to his conviction in the murder of a police officer. But Georgia’s pardons board remained unconvinced. source

16 Sep 2011 11:12


U.S.: What death row inmate Duane Edward Buck said after learning of his stay

  • He said, ‘God is worthy to be praised. God’s mercy triumphs over judgment, and I feel good.’
  • Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark • Discussing the reaction by Duane Edward Buck, the death row inmate whose sentence was stayed by the Supreme Court last night. He already had his last meal and was praying at the time. While the reprieve is only temporary pending the Supreme Court’s evaluation of the claims his equal protection rights have been violated, it nonetheless ensured that his last meal — a dish of fried chicken, fried fish, french fries, salad, jalapeno peppers and apples — might not be so final. source

07 Mar 2011 11:22


U.S.: Supreme Court narrowly favors death row inmate’s DNA fight

  • 6-3 the SCOTUS decision to favor a Texas death-row inmate source
  • » More rights for death row inmates? Inmate Hank Skinner, based on this decision, will be able to file a civil rights lawsuit to get DNA material. It’s a narrowly-scoped decision, however, and one that only allows Skinner to claim that the state didn’t follow its own policies on acquiring DNA evidence. What does that mean, in layman’s terms? It means that inmates don’t have a broad constitutional right to acquire DNA material in court – a decision which would have much larger ramifications and give inmates a quite-large bargaining point in criminal cases (including the ability for their defense to independently test such DNA material). Still, though, it buys Skinner time.

21 Jan 2011 14:42


U.S.: Thiopental sodium: Key lethal injection drug headed off the market?

  • This will be a challenge for [medical] customers and we regret that. But we don’t want to put our Italian facility at risk that the product will be misused.
  • Hospira spokeswoman Tareta Adams • Discussing the company’s decision to pull a key drug used in lethal executions off the market. The drug, thiopental sodium, is widely used by prisons all over the country, but in the wake of manufacturing issues in 2009, they had to stop producing the product. They were about to restart production at an italian factory, but an order by that country’s parliament forced Hospira to agree not to allow the Italian-produced drugs to be used in lethal injections in the U.S. So now, American prisons will be screwed or forced to use other medications to do the same thing. In Oklahoma, the drug pentobarbital, usually used to put animals down, was used in an execution there after a court decision. source

27 Oct 2010 11:18


U.S.: Death row inmate’s famous last words: “Boomer Sooner”

  • Well, I’d like to say thank you to my family for being here and all my friends, and Boomer Sooner.
  • Arizona death row inmate Jeffrey Landrigan • Making his famous last words before his death by lethal injection. “Boomer Sooner”? Apparently this guy lived in Oklahoma and was a big college football fan before being convicted in the murder of Chester Dean Dyer way back in 1989. source

18 Jun 2010 11:27


U.S.: Ronnie Lee Gardner execution: He clenched his fist before he died

  • Firing four bullets into a man’s chest is, by definition, violent. If it can also be clinical and sterile, then that also happened in this execution.
  • Salt Lake Tribune reporter Nate Carlisle • Describing what he saw as Ronnie Lee Gardner was killed by firing squad last night in Utah. The first-person account of the execution, which is the first Carlisle ever witnessed, is a gripping read. Instead of slumping over after being shot, like the guards expected he would, Gardner clenched his fist. Then de-clenched it. “At the time, I interpreted this as Gardner suffering — clenching his fist in an effort to fight the pain,” Carlisle wrote. “As I write this, I don’t know whether that’s true. It could have just been reflexes or some other process the body begins after a major trauma. Scientists do not know much about what a person shot through the heart feels.” No matter your thoughts on capital punishment, this is gripping. source