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Study of Potential Death-Qualified Jurors Reveals Bias

Posted: March 22, 2004
In the latest edition of the journal Deviant Behavior, sociologist Robert Young of the University of Texas has reported that death penalty supporters, such as those who are qualified to sit on juries in capital cases, were about a third more likely to have prejudiced views of blacks. Young’s evaluation of polling data also revealed that death penalty supporters are more likely to convict the defendant. When polled, they were nearly twice as likely to say it was worse to let the guilty go free than to convict an innocent defendant. “By allowing juries in

Michigan Lawmakers Reaffirm State's Longstanding Ban on Capital Punishment

Posted: March 22, 2004
In a vote upholding the state’s longstanding abolition of the death penalty, Michigan lawmakers refused to support a measure that would have put capital punishment before state voters in a referendum. The vote fell 18 short of the 2/3 required for passage. During a lengthy House debate regarding the bill, Representative Jack Minor (D-Flint) told his colleagues that studies show crime rates are lower in states without the death penalty. He noted, “The death penalty’s not a deterrent. In fact, the figures would suggest it’s just

Gallup Poll Examines Support for Death Penalty in U.S., Canada, U.K.

Posted: March 17, 2004
According to recent Gallup polls, 64% of Americans favor the death penalty, while 48% of Canadian and 55% of British citizens favor the punishment. Great Britain and Canada have abolished the death penalty. The polling research also examined whether capital punishment has a deterrent effect on crime. Polling has revealed that most Americans do not believe the death penalty acts as a deterrent to committing murder. Gallup's report compared homicide statistics in the United States, Britain, and Canada and the data

NEW RESOURCE: Spangenberg Report Provides Death Penalty Update

Posted: March 17, 2004
The March 2004 edition of The Spangenberg Report includes valuable information on criminal justice reforms from around the country, including death penalty developments. An examination of Georgia’s new Public Defender Standards Council and its efforts to overhaul indigent defense services in the state, results from a Spangenberg Group study of indigent defense in Virginia, the findings of a death penalty cost review in Kansas, and additional state updates from Illinois, Texas, Minnesota, and Massachusetts are among the items

POLITICAL MANIPULATION: Legislators Try to Control What the Courts Consider

Posted: March 16, 2004
Two Congressmen have introduced a non-binding resolution, backed by the threat of impeachment, that would express the sense of Congress that U.S. judges should not consider foreign laws or court decisions in their rulings. The measure, authored by Republican Representatives Tom Feeney

Military Death Sentence Vacated

Posted: March 15, 2004
An Army Court of Criminal Appeals has vacated the death sentence of William Kreutzer, a Fort Bragg soldier who was sent to the military’s death row for killing a fellow soldier and wounding others in 1995. The Court cited a number of grounds for the ruling that opens the door for rehearings on some charges and the sentence. For example, Kreutzer’s attorneys failed to adequately explain the significance of their client’s mental health problems for the panel that determined his guilt and sentence. In the ruling, Col. James S. Currie noted, “Appellant’s

Death Sentences Decline Dramatically in North Carolina

Posted: March 15, 2004
According to District Attorney Tom Keith, death sentences in North Carolina have dramatically declined because jurors are increasingly skeptical of the justice system. Last year, 6 people were sent to North Carolina’s death row, far less than the 26 who were given death sentences in 1999. Keith, who is moving resources away from death penalty cases and to aggressively targeting gun criminals before they kill, believes that a number of high-profile wrongful convictions and DNA exonerations have contributed to the trend toward fewer death sentences. “We’re

Latest Death Row USA Report Released

Posted: March 12, 2004
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) has released its latest Death Row USA report. Data from this and previous reports for 2003 show that there were 143 new death sentences in the United States in 2003, the fewest number since 1977 and about 50% fewer than the annual new sentences in the late 1990s, which averaged about 300 per year. According to LDF, 3,503 people were on death row in the United States as of January 1, 2004, a decrease from the 3,697 reported on October 1, 2002. Of those 1.4% are women and 2.28% are juveniles. The jurisdictions with the most juvenile

Mexico Protests Execution Date For Its Citizen in Oklahoma

Posted: March 11, 2004
Mexican President Vicente Fox has urged the United States to halt the execution of Osvaldo Torres, a Mexican foreign national who is scheduled to die in Oklahoma on May 18th. Oklahoma set the execution date despite a 2003 ruling by the International Court of Justice, based in The Hague, that called for staying Torres’s execution and the execution of two other foreign nationals in Texas until the Court could further review the case. The allegation before the world court is that Torres and more than 50 other Mexican prisoners

Florida Capital Punishment Supporter Urges State to Abandon Juvenile Death Penalty

Posted: March 10, 2004
Florida Senator Victor Crist (R-Tampa), a long-time death penalty supporter, is asking his legislative colleagues to support a bill to bar the juvenile death penalty in Florida. “In my heart and soul I believe it’s the right thing to do. There is a certain essence of juveniles that make them different,” said Crist. Research supports that notion. David Fassler, a Vermont psychiatrist who helped the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry draft its policy against capital punishment for juveniles stated, “[L]aws raising the