BREAKING: (5/20/15) The Nebraska State Legislature has voted 32-15 to repeal the death penalty.
For a snapshot of the legislative debate, see "Death penalty debate quotes: What state lawmakers said before voting to repeal," Omaha World-Herald (May 20, 2015).
BREAKING: (5/15/15) A federal jury has returned a verdict of death for Dzokhar Tsarnaev for the Boston Marathon Bombing.
DELAWARE GOVERNOR SUPPORTS DEATH PENALTY REPEAL
Capital punishment, Gov. Jack Markell said, is an "instrument of imperfect justice. It doesn't make us safer. Should the repeal bill come to my desk, I would sign it."
"This is not an easy issue. My thinking has changed...."
"I know this is a really difficult issue for members of the General Assembly. I hope that after considering the arguments as I have, they will reach the same conclusion that I have." (Delawareonline, May 8, 2015).
Growing Conservative Opposition to The Death Penalty
Conservative opposition to the death penalty as a failed government policy is growing, and conservative voices against the death penalty are being met with more acceptance by other conservatives, according to Mark Hyden, a coordinator for Conservatives Concerned About The Death Penalty. Mr. Hyden believes that as conservatives more closely examine the death penalty, a growing number will oppose it. In a Huffington Post report, Mr. Hyden described the death penalty as "a big government program that risks lives" and one that is "extremely costly and fails at all its goals." (Kim Bellware, "More Conservatives Are Coming Out Against The Death Penalty," The Huffington Post, April 27, 2015). See New Voices.
Flawed FBI hair testimony found in 33rd capital case
Philadelphia Magazine reports (4/22) that the FBI's ongoing review of the agency’s use of “microscopic hair comparison analysis” has disclosed that FBI hair analysts provided seriously inaccurate forensic testimony in a sixth capital case in Pennsylvania. Previously, the agency had reported that its hair examiners had presented scientifically unsupportable testimony for the prosecution purporting to "match" the hair of 32 other death-sentenced defendants to hair found at the crime scenes in those case. Of the now 33 death-sentenced cases in which the FBI admittedly provided flawed testimony, 10 have been in Florida; 6 in Pennsylvania; and 5 in Texas.
(Adam Hersh, "FBI: We Gave Flawed Testimony in 6 Pennsylvania Death Row Cases," Philadelphia Magazine, April 22, 2015). See Innocence and Arbitrariness.
Parents of Boy Killed in Marathon Bombing Ask Government to Drop Death Penalty
(photo: Boston Globe)
In a recent statement in the Boston Globe, Bill and Denise Richard, the parents of Martin Richard who was killed in the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, asked the Justice Department to end its pursuit of a death sentence for the convicted defendant, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Jennifer Lemmerman, the sister of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, who was killed in the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombing, also said Tsarnaev should be sentenced to life in prison.
(Bill & Denise Richard, "To end the anguish, drop the death penalty," Boston Globe (op-ed), April 17, 2015).
DPIC Podcast Series: We have begun a new set of podcasts on the death penalty in each state, each with interesting historical facts. The following are now available: Michigan, Wisconsin, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Vermont, Massachusetts, District of Columbia, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. Check out our podcasts now! Also listen to DPIC's podcasts on death penalty issues.