DPIC commemorates Black History Month 2017.Each weekday during the month, DPIC will post a new infographic on race and the death penalty on our Facebook and Twitter pages. You can see the entire 2017 Black History Monthy Infographic Series here as it unfolds.
NEW DISCUSSIONS WITH DPIC PODCAST: Innocence and Prosecutorial Misconduct, with Delaware death-row exoneree Isaiah McCoy and his lawyers Michael Wiseman and Herbert Mondros.
NEWS (2/22): After having been reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court on other issues in his case, the Kansas Supreme Court has denied relief to Sidney Gleason on his remaining claims and upheld the death sentence imposed in his case.
NEWS (2/21): The U.S. Supreme Court has issued rulings declining to review a number of pending death penalty cases. These included decisions, over the dissents of Justices Sotomayor and Breyer, not to review Arthur v. Dunn, No. 16–602, and Johnson v. Kelley, No. 16-6496, which challenged lethal injection practices in Alabama and Arkansas, respectively. The Court also declined to review the cases of South Carolina death-row prisoner Mikal Mahdi and Virginia death-row prisoner William Morva.
NEWS (2/20): The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that prosecutors may seek the death penalty in pending capital trials under the state's unconstitutional death penalty statute, if jurors are instructed that they must unanimously find all facts that make the defendant eligible for the death penalty and that they must be unanimous in recommending death before the trial court can impose the death penalty. The ruling came in the cases of Patrick Albert Evans and Juan Rosario.
LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY IN THE STATES. There was extensive death penalty legislative activity in the states as legislatures continue to consider bills introduced at the beginning of their 2017 legislative sessions. Here are some highlights. For more details see DPIC's webpage on Recent Legislative Activity.
NEWS (2/23): By a vote of 30-1, the Alabama state senate has passed SB16, which would eliminate judicial override of the jury's sentencing recommendation in a death penalty case. The bill would require the trial court to impose a death sentence if 10 or more jurors recommended death; would require a life verdict if a majority of jurors voted for life; and would declare a penalty mistrial if between 3 and 6 jurors voted for life. The Alabama House Judiciary Committee also has approved a bill (HB32) that would eliminate judicial override, but that bill would require the jury to unanimously recommend the death penalty before the court could impose a death sentence and would declare a penalty mistrial if some, but fewer than a majority of jurors voted for life.
NEWS (2/21): The Utah House of Representatives passed and sent to the state senate two death penalty bills. HB176, approved by a vote of 38-37, would expand the state's death penalty to include death related to human trafficking as a capital offense. HB187, approved 72-0, would authorize a study of the costs of the death penalty.
NEWS (2/22): Bills to require a unanimous jury recommendation for death before a trial judge could impose the death penalty have advanced to the floors of both houses of the Florida state legislature. The House Judiciary Committee favorably reported HB 527 by a vote of 17-1. The Senate Rules Committee favorably reported SB 280 by a vote of 10-0.
NEWS (2/16): The Oklahoma House of Representatives voted 74-22 to pass HB 1679, which would establish the following hierarchy of execution methods: 1. lethal injection; 2. nitrogen hypoxia; 3. firing squad; 4. any other method not prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.
NEWS (2/15): After holding hearings on SB 17-095, which would repeal the death penalty for offenses committed after July 1, 2017, the Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee voted 3-2 to defeat the bill. The vote effectively ends death penalty repeal efforts in the state for the current legislative session.
NEWS (2/13): The South Dakota House State Affairs Committee rejected by a vote of 8-4 HB 1099, which would have prohibited imposing the death penalty "upon any person with a severe mental illness with significantly impaired capacity at the time the offense was committed."
DPIC 2016 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.