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NEW RESOURCES: Experts Debate the Death Penalty

Posted: February 27, 2004
"Debating the Death Penalty: Should America Have Capital Punishment?," a new book edited by Hugo Bedau and Paul Cassell, brings together judges, lawyers, prosecutors and philosophers to debate the death penalty in a spirit of open inquiry and exchange. The book discusses issues such as deterrence, innocence, life in prison without parole, and race. In addition to the editors, those who have chapters in the book inlcude: Judge Alex Kozinski, Stephen Bright, Joshua Marquis, Bryan Stevenson, Professor Louis Pojman and former Governor George Ryan. (Oxford University
 

Wyoming Legislators Vote to Ban Juvenile Death Penalty

Posted: February 27, 2004
Wyoming legislators in both the House and Senate have passed a measure to ban the death penalty for those who are under 18 at the time of their crime, marking the second time in one week that a legislative body in the United States has passed a ban on capital punishment for juvenile offenders. The bill now goes to Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal for his signature to become law. (Feb. 27, 2004). Earlier in the week, South Dakota's legislature voted to outlaw the practice (read more). The U.S. Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of
 

Oklahoma Adds to A Series of Execution Stays

Posted: February 27, 2004
Shortly before the scheduled 6 p.m. execution of Hung Thanh Le, a Vietnamese foreign national on Oklahoma's death row, Governor Brad Henry granted a stay of execution in deference to Vietnamese officials who requested more time to review Le's file. Le, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from fleeing Vietnam, was scheduled to be executed despite a unanimous recommendation for clemency from the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board. More than 1,700 members of Oklahoma City's Vietnamese community signed a petition calling for clemency.
 

NEW VOICES: Urban League President Says Death Penalty is "Cruel and Inhuman"

Posted: February 25, 2004
In a recent column, Marc H. Morial, the current President of the National Urban League and former President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, praised recent efforts to halt executions while questions about innocence and fairness are addressed by legislators. Morial noted:
There are growing calls for moratoria on executions, a growing reluctance among juries to levy the death penalty, efforts to insure that defendants in capital cases, who are most often poor, are represented by good attorneys, and even legislative attempts at the state and federal
 

South Dakota Legislators Vote to Ban Death Penalty for Juveniles

Posted: February 25, 2004
Legislation banning capital punishment for crimes committed by those younger than 18 has passed both the South Dakota House and Senate. The bill will now go to Governor Mike Rounds for signature into law. Republican Representative Hal Wick of Sioux Falls supported the bipartisan measure, stating, "I do have concerns about heinous crimes, but I don't think it's our place to destroy or forget the sanctity of life. Violent responses by the state beget more violence. The state must lead by example. Instead of encouraging a culture of death by killing criminals, we must seek punishment
 

South Dakota Legislators Vote to Ban Juvenile Death Penalty

Posted: February 25, 2004
Legislation banning capital punishment for crimes committed by those younger than 18 has passed both the South Dakota House and Senate. The bill will now go to Governor Mike Rounds for signature into law. Republican Representative Hal Wick of Sioux Falls supported the bipartisan measure, stating, "I do have concerns about heinous crimes, but I don't think it's our place to destroy or forget the sanctity of life. Violent responses by the state beget more violence. The state must lead by example. Instead of encouraging a culture of death by killing criminals, we must seek punishment
 

NEW VOICES: Connecticut Lags Behind in Death Penalty Reforms

Posted: February 24, 2004
The Chair of Connecticut's Judiciary Committee has called for enactment of death penalty reforms to protect against wrongful convictions. Of the six reforms recommended after a 13-month special commission on Connecticut's death penalty, only one has been enacted. Members of the commission noted, "Experiences in other states throughout the country suggest that Connecticut cannot be complacent and 'best practices' should be the watchword." Among the recommendations are video taping of interrogations, a blind and sequential
 

Supreme Court Overturns Texas Death Sentence

Posted: February 24, 2004
In a 7-2 decision in Banks v. Dretke, the Supreme Court overturned the death sentence of Delma Banks Jr., concluding that he was denied a fair trial because prosecutors in Texas failed to disclose key information. Last year, Banks was just minutes from his scheduled execution in Texas when the Supreme Court intervened. Today's decision remands the case back to a lower court so that new evidence may be considered. Read DPIC's Press Release. Also, Read the opinion.
 

NEW VOICES: Kansas Supreme Court Justice Reflects: "Do I Have It Right?"

Posted: February 23, 2004

In a report filed by the Kansas Judicial Council Death Penalty Advisory Committee, retired Kansas Supreme Court Justice Fred N. Six noted that capital punishment cases pose immense burdens on judges. He stated:

 

New Jersey Court Halts Executions, Orders Review of Lethal Injection

Posted: February 20, 2004
The Appellate Division of New Jersey's Superior Court ruled today that the state's Department of Corrections (DOC) must examine its lethal injection execution procedures before it carries out any death sentences, thereby halting executions in the state until such a review takes place. The ruling notes, "[B]ecause of the patent gravity of the life and death issues implicated by the regulations, we have concluded that rather than simply striking down those regulations, DOC should have the opportunity to give them further consideration, by
 

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