NEW RESOURCES (12/21): DPIC has released our "Year End Report: The Death Penalty in 2016," documenting continuing historic declines in death sentences, executions, and public support for the death penalty in the United States.
BREAKING NEWS (1/10): A federal jury in South Carolina has sentenced Dylann Roof to death in the killing of nine African-American parishioners at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.
NEWS (1/10): A Virginia federal district court judge has denied a preliminary injunction that would have permitted Ricky Gray to obtain discovery and move forward with a lawsuit challenging Virginia's lethal injection procedures. Gray is scheduled to be executed on January 18, 2017.
NEWS (1/9): A federal jury in Boston Massachusetts has re-sentenced Gary Sampson to death on one of two capital murder charges arising out of two carjacking murders to which he had pled guilty and been sentenced to death in 2003. The jury did not reach a unanimous verdict on the second charge, which will result in a life sentence. Sampson had been granted a new penalty hearing as a result juror misconduct in his prior senterncing trial.
NEWS (1/5): Florida has released a new three-drug execution protocol in which it drops the use of the controversial sedative midazolam, which had been implicated in botched executions in at least four states.
NEWS (1/3): The California Attorney General's office has decided not to appeal a ruling by the California Court of Appeals, which had upheld a decision by an Orange County Superior Court judge to disqualify the entire Orange County District Attorney's office from the capital prosecution of accused murderer, Scott Dekraai. The Superior Court had removed the District Attorney's office from the case as a result of a history of withholding evidence about the county sheriff's unlawful planting of jailhouse informants to obtain confessions from defendants and for lying to the court about the unconstitutional informant program.
NEWS (1/3): With execution dates pending in January and February 2017, federal courts in Virginia and Ohio conducted evidentiary hearings on prisoners' challenges to lethal injection procedures employed in those states. Decisions are expected in advance of the scheduled execution dates.
NEWS (12/30) A divided panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has voted 2-1 to uphold a federal district court order denying death row prisoners who are challenge Ohio's new lethal injection protocol access to information about the producers and suppliers of drugs the state plans to use in carrying out executions. Ohio has scheduled eight executions for 2017, with the first currently set for February. See Upcoming Executions.
NEWS (12/22): In courtrooms 100 miles apart, two former Pennsylvania death row prisoners who have asserted their innocence for decades, Tyrone Moore and James Dennis, pled no contest to lesser charges. The pleas avoided retrials on the charges that had initially sent them to death row.
Tyrone Moore was sentenced to 20 years and released from prison following his no contest plea in Luzerne County to charges of third-degree murder. All other charges against him were dropped. He had already served 34 years, 22 of them on death row. A federal judge granted him a new trial after he presented evidence of prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel, including failing to interview a co-defendant who testified in his own trial that Moore was not involved in the robbery and killing.
After 25 years on death row, James Dennis pled no contest in Philadelphia to charges of third-degree murder. His conviction had been overturned by a federal district court as a result of multiple instances of prosecutorial misconduct suppressing evidence pointing to an alternate suspect and supporting Dennis' alibi.
NEWS (12/22): Ohio Gov. John Kasich postponed the first two executions scheduled in the state in 2017 in response to a U.S. District Court order blocking the resumption of executions. A spokesperson for the governor said, "Given the uncertainty created by the court’s order, however, this brief delay should provide the court time to resolve any pending legal issues."
NEW PODCAST -- Discussions with DPIC (12/22): DPIC's 2016 Year End Report. DPIC Executive Director Robert Dunham and Director of Research and Special Projects Robin Konrad discuss the findings and themes of the 2016 DPIC Year End Report. This year marked historic lows in death sentences, executions, and public support for the death penalty. They explore the reasons for the declines, look at what this year's election results say about the death penalty, and describe the cases that resulted in executions this year. Click here to read the Year End Report, which is the basis for this episode. Download / Listen or Subscribe
NEWS (12/19): The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution calling for a global moratorium on the death penalty. 117 nations voted to support a global moratorium, tied with the record number that supported a similar resolution in 2014. Forty nations, including the United States, voted against the resolution, while 31 countries abstained.
NEWS (12/19): In a stipulated settlement agreement between Arizona death row prisoners and the state's Department of Corrections, Arizona agreed to never again use midazolam, a sedative that has been implicated in multiple problematic executions, to carry out death sentences by lethal injection.
NEWS (12/19): A federal magistrate judge has issued stays of execution to three Ohio death row prisoners whom the state had scheduled for execution early in 2017. Ronald Phillips, Ramond Tibbetts, and Gary Otte had been scheduled to executed on January 12, February 19, and March 15. See Stays of Execution.
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.