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Execution Approaching for Longest Serving Inmate on Texas Death Row

One of the first inmates scheduled to be executed in 2007 is Ronald Chambers, who has been on death row since Gerald Ford was President, and longer than any other inmate in Texas.  He is facing execution on January 25, thirty-one years after he was first sentenced to death for murder.  His co-defendant in the crime, Clarence Ray Williams, pleaded guilty and is serving two life sentences. Chambers' conviction was overturned twice since 1976, including once on the grounds that prosecutors improperly excluded three black people from his jury.  (Associated Press, CNN.com, December 12, 2006). 


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RESOURCES: DEATH ROW USA Fall 2006 Now Available - Florida Surpasses Texas

The latest edition of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's "Death Row, USA" reports that the number of people on death row in the United States has continued to decline, falling to 3,344 as of October 1, 2006. The size of death row has been declining since 2000 after 25 years of steady increases. For the first time in many years, Florida (398) surpassed Texas (392) in the size of its deathrow. California (657) continued to have the largest death row.


Nationally, the racial composition of those on death row is 45% white, 42% black, and 11% Latino/Latina. Of jurisdictions with more than 10 people on death row, Texas (69%) and Pennsylvania (70%) continue to have the largest percentage of minorities on death row. Nearly 80% of the murder victims in the crimes that resulted in executions were white. (Generally, only about 48% of murder victims are white.)


Death Row, USA is published quarterly and contains the names and race of everyone on death row, execution statistics, and an overview of recent Supreme Court decisions related to capital punishment.

(NAACP Legal Defense Fund, "Death Row, USA, Fall 2006" October 1, 2006) (should be posted soon). See Death Row and DPIC's 2006 Year End Report for a discussion of the overall decline in the use of the death penalty.


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NEW RESOURCES: Bureau of Justice Statistics Releases Capital Punishment, 2005

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has just released the 2005 version of its annual report on the death penalty in the U.S. The report notes that both the number of death sentences and the size of death row were down for 2005, and that this represents a trend over the past 5 years. The report states that there were 60 executions in 2005, all by lethal injection, and that the time between sentencing and execution was longer in 2005 than in 2004.


California had the most death sentences (23) in 2005, followed by Florida (15), Texas (14) and Alabama (12). Together these states accounted for half of those sentenced to death in 2005. California had the largest number on death row (646) and Texas had the most executions (19) in 2005.

(U.S. Dept. of Justice, Capital Punishment, 2005 (pub. December 2006)). See also DPIC's 2005 Year End Report. DPIC will be releasing its 2006 Year End Report by the end of this week, and it will have information on the death penalty in 2006. See Sentencing.


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RESOURCES: DEATH ROW USA Summer 2006 Now Available

The latest edition of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's "Death Row USA" shows that the number of people on the death row in the United States is continuing to decline, falling to 3,366 as of July 1, 2006. The size of death row increased every year between 1976 and 2000, but since then it has been in a slow decline.

Nationally, the racial composition of those on death row is 45% white, 42% black, and 11% latino/latina. Of jurisdictions with more than 10 people on death row, Texas (69%) and Pennsylvania (70%) continue to have the largest percentage of minorites on death row. Nearly 80% of the victims in crimes that resulted in executions were white.

California, with 657 inmates, and Texas, with 401 inmates, have the largest death row populations in the country. New Hampshire has no one on death row.


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BOOKS: Reflective Glass by G. Wilford Hathorn

"Reflective Glass" is a new book by death row inmate G. Wilford Hathorn.  The book is a collection of fifteen essays that deal with life on Texas' death row from a prisoner's perspective. The essays describe many aspects of death row life: the pain of losing friends through execution, the medical treatment of prisoners, the monotony of living in a tiny cell, and the interaction with guards.

Reflective Glass can be ordered from Maria Augusteijn, P.O. Box 7982, Colorado Springs, CO 80933-7982. She can be reached at marijke3@adelphia.net.


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RESOURCES: Death Row USA Spring 2006 Report Available

The latest edition of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's "Death Row USA" shows that the number of people on the death row in the United States is continuing to decline, falling to 3,370 as of April 1, 2006. The size of death row increased every year between 1976 and 2000, but since then it has been in a slow decline.

According to the report, the states with the largest decrease in death row population since January 1, 2006 are Texas (down by 5) and South Carolina (down by 3). California continues to have the nation's largest death row population (652), followed by Texas (404), Florida (392), Pennsylvania (232), and Ohio (195).

Nationally, the racial composition of those on death row is 45% white, 42% black, and 10% latino/latina. Of jurisdictions with more than 10 people on death row, Texas (69%) and Pennsylvania (69%) continue to have the largest percentage of minorites on death row. Nearly 80% of the victims in crimes that resulted in executions were white.


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RESOURCES: Death Row USA Winter 2006 Report Available

The latest edition of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's Death Row USA shows an 8% decline in the country's death row population during the past 5 years, down from 3,652 in 2000 to 3,373 at the end of 2005. According to the report, California continues to have the nation's largest death row population (649), followed by Texas (409), Florida (388), Pennsylvania (231), and Ohio (196).


Nationally, the racial composition of those on death row is 45% white, 42% black, and 10% latino/latina. Of states with more than 10 people on death row, Texas (70%) and Pennsylvania (69%) continue to have the largest percentage of minorites on death row. Eighty percent of the victims in the crimes that resulted in executions were white.


Death Row USA is released quarterly by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The report contains the latest death row population figures, execution statistics, and an overview of the most recent legal developments related to capital punishment. These death row statistics may differ slightly from those compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics because of a difference in methodologies.


See Death Row USA, January 1, 2006. See also DPIC's Death Row.

 


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