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BREAKING NEWS (5/31): The U.S. Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the case of Corey Wimbley v. Alabama, vacated the judgment of the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals upholding Wimbley's death sentence, and directed the Court of Criminal Appeals of Alabama to consider whether Alabama's death penalty statute is constitutional in light of the Court's holding earlier this year in Hurst v. Florida. This is the second Alabama death penalty judgment the Court has vacated with directions to consider the constitutionality of Alabama's death penalty. The prior case involved death row prisoner Bart Johnson.
BREAKING NEWS (5/31): The U.S. Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the case of Shawn Lynch v. Arizona and reversed Lynch's death sentence. The Court held that Arizona violated Lynch's due process rights when prosecutors argued that Lynch would pose a future danger to society, then successfully opposed Lynch's efforts to have the trial court instruct the jury that, under Arizona law, if the jury sentenced him to life, he would be ineligible for parole.
BREAKING NEWS (5/31): The U.S. Supreme Court has denied certiorari in the case of Lamondre Tucker v. Louisiana, declining to review his claim that the death penalty as administered in the U.S. and Louisiana is unconstitutional. Justice Breyer, joined by Justice Ginsburg, dissented. The Court's denial of review is not a judgment on the merits of Tucker's constitutional challenge.
BREAKING NEWS (5/27): The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has granted a stay of execution to Charles Flores to permit him to challenge the state's use of hypnotically refreshed eyewitness testimony to convict him. No physical evidence links Flores to the murder. He had been scheduled to be executed on 6/2.
NEWS (5/26): By a vote of 5-2, the Connecticut Supreme Court has reaffirmed its 2015 ruling that applying the death penalty to the prisoners remaining on the state's death row after the legislature had prospectively repealed the state's capital punishment statute would violate Connecticut's state constitution. In upholding that ruling, the Court reversed the death sentences that had been imposed on Russell Peeler and directed that he be resentenced to two terms of life imprisonment without possibility of parole. All of the prisoners remaining on Connecticut's death row will be resenteced to life without parole.
NEWS (5/25): The Nebraska Supreme Court heard argument on a challenge to the validity of a ballot initiative to restore the state's death penalty. Death penalty opponents had appealed a lower court's ruling saying that that the supporters of the referendum failed to list Gov. Pete Ricketts as a sponsor of the referendum, in violation of state law requiring that proponents of a referendum identify all of its sponsors. Ricketts gave $200,000 to the referendum campaign after the state legislature overrode his veto of a bill repealing the state's death penalty.
NEWS (5/24): The U.S. Department of Justice announced that it is seeking the death penalty against Dylann Roof for the killings at the Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina. This marks the first time that a state and the federal government have simultaneously pursued capital charges against an individual.
NEWS (5/23): The U.S. Supreme Court has granted a new trial to Timothy Foster, ruling that Georgia prosecutors improperly exercised discretionary strikes to exclude African Americans from jury service. The vote was 7-1, with Justice Thomas dissenting.
DPIC 2015 Year End Report
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.