J4H | Justice 4 Hank Skinner


The U.S. Death Penalty in the news
Slate – December 20, 2021
Now more than ever there are two distinct worlds of capital punishment in the United States. It has long been the case that the death penalty has flourished in some regions of the country and in some states more than in others.
The Marshall Project – December 20, 2021
They can’t go to classes or prison jobs, and they don’t have tablets or televisions. But they do have radios.
The Independent – December 17, 2021
The House Oversight Committee is demanding the Justice Department provide answers about whether Biden administration officials have plans to procure the drug used in federal executions despite an ongoing moratorium on capital punishment.
The Guardian – December 16, 2021
This year the US saw the fewest executions since 1988, but those states sticking with judicial killings are displaying grotesque aberrations.
The Hill – December 3, 2021
Death penalty states like Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Texas, and until this spring Tennessee, have evaded the Supreme Court’s Atkins decision by adopting narrow and unscientific definitions of intellectual disability. They also have refused to allow people sentenced prior to Atkins to raise legal challenges based on evidence of intellectual disability.
Death Penalty Information Center – June 2020
At least 1,300 prisoners have been incarcerated on U.S. death rows for more than two decades, in violation of U.S. human rights obligations, a Death Penalty Information Center analysis of death-row demographic data has found. The number represents more than half of all U.S. death-row prisoners as of January 1, 2020.

New Hampshire abolishes death penalty after state senate overrides governor – May 30, 2019
New Hampshire, which hasn’t executed anyone in 80 years and has only one inmate on death row, has became the 21st US state to abolish the death penalty when the state senate voted to override the governor’s veto.

One Night, Two Executions, and More Questions About Torture – May 25, 2019
Indeed, among the critical pieces of context that are withheld from witnesses is any information about when exactly the state is administering the different drugs, making it almost impossible for witnesses to gauge what is occurring.

After passing the House, HB 1139, meant to reform how Texas decides whether a defendant is too intellectually disabled to execute, was significantly softened in Senate committee.

More than 100 prisoners condemned to death could face a major upheaval, as a revamped Florida Supreme Court ponders whether to undo a 2016 ruling that allowed nearly half of the state’s Death Row prisoners to have their death sentences revisited.

Since announcing last year it will replace lethal injection with “nitrogen hypoxia,” a process which in theory painlessly suffocates an unconscious person, Oklahoma has been unable to procure a device necessary to carry out such an execution.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice issued an opinion claiming that the FDA has no regulatory power over drugs used in lethal injections. But how the opinion will affect Texas’ attempt to import an anesthetic once used in executions wasn’t immediately clear.

DeWine said the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is moving on his order to work up a new lethal injection method.

Echoing her concerns from past capital cases, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor slammed her colleagues Monday for rejecting the appeal of a Tennessee inmate set to be executed next year.

The New York Innocence Project, now convinced that an innocent woman is languishing on Texas Death Row, has joined forces with Routier’s appellate team: Steve Cooper and Richard Smith of Dallas and Richard Burr of Houston.

What do Michael Bloomberg and Oliver North have in common? How about Michelle Malkin and Kim Kardashian West, or Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders? They may not share much turf when it comes to their political or social views, but they do all agree on one point that may surprise you. They all oppose the death penalty.

Texas news outlets often report on death penalty stories, given that the state leads the nation in prisoner executions. But rarely do reports tell the stories of women on death row.

The post–Anthony Kennedy Supreme Court majority has introduced itself to the nation by strapping itself to the decaying corpse of the American death penalty.

The specifics aside, the mere fact that Abu-Jamal will be able to argue his appeal again in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is, at the very least, a tacit recognition that his treatment by the criminal justice system was colored by bias and an ideology of deference to the police.

According to Amnesty International’s report, 45 people were put to death in the United States in 2018. This is a slight increase from 2017, when 41 were executed. However, in general, the rise is actually small compared to the general downward trend.

Paxton led a 16-state coalition last year asking the U.S. Supreme Court to deny Russell Bucklew’s death row appeal and uphold Missouri’s lethal injection procedures, claiming that upholding Bucklew’s appeal would open new avenues for death row prisoners to delay their sentences. The U.S. Supreme Court denied the appeal this week.

In an appalling death penalty opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch just overturned 60 years of precedent.

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.

The “broken system” being denounced was not socialism, gun control or the other targets modern Republicans love to hate. It was the death penalty.

The Pope’s Death Penalty Message Is for a Small Audience – August 3, 2018
The pope is talking to conservative American Catholics, people who take seriously the church’s teaching against abortion but either support capital punishment or are doing nothing against it. That includes conservative Catholic legislators, who could be working and voting for abolition at the state or federal level.

After loss at state Supreme Court, Texas keeps fighting to conceal its execution drug supplier – July 23, 2018
After buying new, hard-to-obtain execution drugs last month, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is fighting a loss at the state Supreme Court that would force it to name a pharmacy that has supplied lethal doses in the past.

Who Gets Mercy on Death Row? Chris Young’s Execution Raises Questions of Racial Bias – July 20, 2018
The clemency process in Texas is a black box — one where hearings are rarely held and decisions are never really explained, which makes it nearly impossible to detect toxins that are deadly, even in small doses.

America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (at Least) a Generation – July 19, 2018
The unusual role in the American legal system is about to change. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the court this summer, the Supreme Court will lose a heterodox jurist whose willingness to cross ideological divides made him the deciding factor in many legal battles.

It’s time to get rid of the death penalty in Texas – July 11, 2018
Texas has long had the dubious distinction of being a leader in capital punishment, which has also made it a leader in litigation which has exposed many constitutional and practical problems in our system. It’s a shameful fact that we’ve occasionally executed the innocent and frequently applied the death penalty unevenly to the guilty, including to people suffering from serious mental illnesses and significant intellectual and developmental disabilities, an explicit focus of our recent hearing.

Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh capped a whirlwind process that began on the afternoon of June 27, when Kennedy announced his plans to retire. Kavanaugh had long been regarded as a possible Supreme Court nominee in a Republican administration, but there were rumors that his stock might have fallen in the past few days, because of concerns that his views might be too moderate, that he has too many ties to the Bush family and that he had once argued that a president should be impeached for lying to his staff and the public.

“If Texas is getting these drugs legally that’s important to know for death penalty cases across the country,” Dunham said. “If they’re getting them illegally or by making misrepresentations to pharmaceutical distributors that’s also important to know because states should not be violating the law or breaching contracts in the name of law enforcement. » It’s not clear exactly where the state is getting its drugs, and state secrecy laws keep the department from revealing its source.

Among the contentious issues that will most likely be affected by his departure is criminal justice. Simply put, a Court without Kennedy (and with a new Trump appointee) will probably reject challenges to two practices Kennedy has previously opposed: solitary confinement and capital punishment.

Of course, looking at the few cases where the notoriously rigid Court of Criminal Appeals has granted relief to a defendant on a claim of prosecutorial misconduct doesn’t seem like the best metric for determining that misconduct’s prevalence.

To this day, lethal injection is the first choice in every US state where capital punishment is legal. But it might not be quite as peaceful as it looks. The problem is, no one actually checked. There was no research or testing of any kind.

It shouldn’t matter what one’s feelings about capital punishment are or what position a person holds in our system of jurisprudence. Be they judge, prosecutor or defense attorney, for or against capital punishment, each and every member of the criminal justice system should speak with one voice on at least this issue: The ability of a person to lodge a full and fair defense of a death conviction, irrespective of the costs, must be held sacrosanct.

‘Express lane to death’: Texas seeks approval to speed up death penalty appeals, execute more quickly – April 2, 2018
Texas is seeking to speed up executions with a renewed request to opt-in to a federal law that would shorten the legal process and limit appeals options for death-sentenced prisoners.

U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to Texas lethal injection drugs – February 26, 2018
The lawsuit dated back to 2013, when multiple death row inmates sued the Texas prison system claiming its lethal injection protocol is unconstitutional, in part based on the drugs used in executions. Texas uses pentobarbital compounded at a pharmacy in secret to put inmates to death.

Minutes before execution, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott commutes the sentence of death row inmate Thomas Whitaker – February 22, 2018
More than 10 years had passed and nearly 150 people had been executed since a Texas governor last spared an inmate from a death sentence. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott broke that streak Thursday when he accepted the state parole board’s rare and unanimous recommendation to grant clemency for death row inmate Thomas Whitaker less than an hour before his scheduled execution. Whitaker was set to die for the 2003 murders of his mother and brother in Fort Bend County.

Federal judge orders Virginia to retain death row revisions – February 22, 2018
Virginia altered its treatment of death row prisoners in 2015, no longer isolating them completely from visitors, other prisoners and recreational facilities. But the state refused to commit to keeping those changes. Now they must.

Arizona death row comes out of solitary, giving convicts more human contact, socialization – December 19, 2017
That kind of isolation takes its toll on prisoners and corrections staff alike. State prison systems, recognizing the crippling psychological effects — and bowing to federal lawsuits alleging cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment — have begun moving away from it.

States to try new ways of executing prisoners. Their latest idea? Opioids. – December 9, 2017
States are increasingly pressed for ways to carry out the death penalty because of problems obtaining the drugs they long have used, primarily because pharmaceutical companies are refusing to supply their drugs for executions.

Science has taught us juries rely on flawed evidence for convictions; that’s why the death penalty must go  – November 14, 2017
While there are crimes that probably deserve death, the defining characteristic of an execution is its irreversibility. Once carried out, there is no possibility for mistakes to be corrected. That’s a problem for a criminal justice system whose mistakes are being brought to light more often than ever by advances in science and technology.

Texas executes Mexican national despite international ire – November 8, 2017
There was an international push to stop his execution because Cárdenas, was never given the chance to speak to his country’s consulate after his arrest more than 20 years ago, a violation of an international treaty. Cárdenas also was not provided a lawyer until 11 days after his arrest, and his representatives claimed evidence against him was faulty and his confession was coerced.

Support for death penalty at lowest level in 45 years – October 26, 2017
While the majority of Americans still favors capital punishment, support is at its lowest since 1972, when 50 percent of people supported the death penalty for convicted murderers. A slim majority – 51 percent – now says the death penalty is applied fairly, reflecting a split over  common criticism that capital punishment is disproportionately applied to minority defendants.

Rodney Reed was convicted of murdering the 19-year-old and was sentenced to death in 1998. His defense has argued his original case included misleading testimony and evidence that has been called into question, including evidence that points to a separate suspect – Jimmy Fennell – who was Stites’ fiancé and a law enforcement officer at the time.

Federal court orders new hearings in Alabama lethal injection challenge – September 1, 2017
Alabama uses midazolam in its three-drug execution procedure. The drug has been present in botched executions and drawn controversy.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich reschedules 19 executions – September 1, 2017
John Kasich’s rejecs clemency for prisoner scheduled to die Sept. 13 and rescheduling of several future executions

Nebraska Supreme Court agrees to take death-row prisoner’s appeal – July 31, 2017
The question of whether Nebraska’s death penalty procedures are constitutional won’t be answered anytime soon.

Death Row Sentencing In Texas Has Significantly Decreased – July 28, 2017
In the state, there are 5 more executions scheduled for this year.

Judge rejects challenge to new execution drugs – July 28, 2017
A Florida death row prisoner scheduled to be executed next month failed in a bid to get a Jacksonville judge to delay his execution because of the state’s new triple-drug lethal injection protocol.

Las Vegas judge grants killer his wish, orders execution – July 27, 2017
A judge on Thursday ordered the execution of Scott Dozier, securing a path to imminent death for the two-time convicted murderer who has spent the last year trying to persuade the state to kill him.

Condemned to Death — And Solitary Confinement – July 23, 2017
In Texas, which has the third-largest death row in the country with 235 inmates, condemned prisoners spend up to 23 hours a day alone in an 8 x 12 foot cell with virtually no human contact or exposure to natural light.

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