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Merrick Garland says he's concerned about 'randomness' of death penalty and its 'disparate' impact on Black Americans

Demetrius Freeman/Getty Images Merrick Garland expressed concern about the death penalty during his Senate confirmation hearing. Merrick Garland in his confirmation hearing expressed serious concerns about the death penalty.  Garland on Monday cited the "disparate" impact of capital punishment on Black Americans.  Garland said it's "the most terrible thing" if someone is executed for a crime they didn't commit. Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories. President Joe Biden's n...
Tags: Politics, News, Congress, Senate, US, Trends, Joe Biden, Death Penalty, Biden, Donald Trump, Trump, Garland, Merrick Garland, John Haltiwanger, DPIC, Demetrius Freeman Getty Images Merrick Garland


DPIC releases year-end report stating "Death Penalty Hits Historic Lows Despite Federal Execution Spree"

This new press release from the Death Penalty Information Center, titled "Executions and Death Sentences Drop to Historic Lows in 2020, even as Federal Government Ramps Up Executions," provides a three-page summary of the DPIC's 36-page year-end 2020 report on the administration of the death penalty in the United States.  The full reports carries this intricate full title "The Death Penalty in 2020: Year End Report; Death Penalty Hits Historic Lows Despite Federal Execution Spree; Pandemic, Raci...
Tags: Utah, Supreme Court, Law, Colorado, European Union, United States, Louisiana, South, Trump, Gallup, Douglas A Berman, DPIC


DPIC conducting webinar series on veterans and the death penalty

As detailed here via the Death Penalty Information Center's website, the "Death Penalty Information Center is partnering with the Veteran Advocacy Project to present a six-part webinar series on Veterans and the Death Penalty." Here is more information and links on the topic: The Death Penalty Information Center is partnering with the Veteran Advocacy Project to present a six-part webinar series on Veterans and the Death Penalty.  The webinars, which are co-sponsored by Advancing Real Change, I...
Tags: Law, Death Penalty Information Center, Robert Dunham, Richard Dieter, Douglas A Berman, DPIC, Ron Wright, Advancing Real Change Inc, Veteran Advocacy Project, Kirk Bloodsworth Ray Krone


DPIC releases big new report on "Enduring Injustice: the Persistence of Racial Discrimination in the U.S. Death Penalty"

The Death Penalty Information Center this morning released this big new report highlighting the history of racialized application of the ultimate punishment in the US.  This DPIC press release partially summarizes its coverage and context, and here are excerpts: As social movements pressure policymakers to redress injustices in the criminal legal system and to institute reforms to make the process more fair and equitable, the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) today released, “Enduring Inj...
Tags: Law, US, United States, North Carolina, Naacp, Jim Crow, Death Penalty Information Center, Douglas A Berman, DPIC, Robert Dunham DPIC, Criminal Justice Programs, Ndulue, Death Penalty Information Center DPIC, Ngozi Ndulue DPIC


How many federal death row prisoners does Attorney General William Barr want to see executed in 2020?

The question in the title of this post has been in my head in the wake of last week's three federal executions and the clear signal sent by five members of the Supreme Court that they will not allow lower courts to get in the way of the Attorney General's execution plans.  As highlighted in posts last week here and here, the Supreme Court by 5-4 votes vacated a series of lower court stays and injunctions to enable the Justice Department to complete the scheduled executions of Daniel Lewis Lee an...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Joe Biden, Ford, Biden, Doj, Justice Department, AG Barr, Douglas A Berman, William Barr, DPIC, Wesley Ira Purkey, Dustin Lee Honken, Daniel Lewis Lee, Keith Dwayne Nelson, DC District Judge


Federal execution déjà vu: after SCOTUS votes 5-4 to vacate injunction, feds complete another morning lethal injection

As reported here earlier this week, the federal government completed the execution of Daniel Lewis Lee, which had been scheduled for Monday, around 8am on Tuesday morning after a divided  Supreme Court around 2am vacated lower court ruling that were blocking the execution.  It was déjà vu all over again today:  sometime not long after 2am this morning, the US Supreme Court issued this order vacating the injunction, with four Justices in dissent and Justices Breyer and Sotomayor writing up the ba...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Ap, United States, Ford, Iowa, Kansas, US supreme court, Sonia Sotomayor, Sotomayor, Breyer, Elena Kagan, Jennifer Long, Douglas A Berman, Honken, Ruth Bader Ginsburg Stephen Breyer


Death Penalty Information Center releases "Mid-Year Review" detailing "Record-Low Death Penalty Use in First Half of 2020"

I just saw that the Death Penalty Information Center published here just before the holiday weekend a short report titled "DPIC MID-YEAR REVIEW: Pandemic and Continuing Historic Decline Produce Record-Low Death Penalty Use in First Half of 2020."  Here are some highlights: Introduction The combination of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the continuing broad national decline in the use of capital punishment produced historically low numbers of new death sentences and executions ...
Tags: Florida, Texas, Supreme Court, Law, California, US, Georgia, United States, Ohio, Death Penalty Information Center, U S, Jesse Bell, Furman, DC Circuit, Douglas A Berman, DPIC


Lots of items of capital interest at Death Penalty Information Center

I frequent the Death Penalty Information Center website on a regular basis for all sorts of data and other detailed information about the administration of the death penalty in the modern era. But the site also keeps up with some capital punishment news and research (with DPIC's abolitionist bent), and the last few weeks have had a number of notable new postings. Here is a sampling that seemed worth flagging here: "Louisiana Reaches Ten Years Without an Execution" "Criticism by Government Leader...
Tags: Mississippi, Law, Ohio, Louisiana, Death Penalty Information Center, Douglas A Berman, DPIC, Mental Health Care Law Review


DPIC releases year-end report asserting that "capital punishment continued to wither across the United States in 2019"

This new press release from the Death Penalty Information Center, titled "Death Penalty Erodes Further in 2019 as New Hampshire Abolishes and California Imposes Moratorium," provides a summary of the DPIC's on-line 2019 year-end report on the administration of the death penalty in the United States.  Here are excerpts from the report's introduction: Capital punishment continued to wither across the United States in 2019, disappearing completely in some regions and significantly eroding in other...
Tags: Texas, Supreme Court, Law, California, Oregon, Indiana, United States, New Hampshire, Nevada, New England, South, Gallup, U S Supreme Court, Douglas A Berman, DPIC, Scott Dozier


A hasty review of the SL&P year that was 2018

Year in review stories are catnip to me, so I figured I might as well use an unexpected little pocket of free time to create my own listing of big events in 2018 based on a lightning quick review of blog posts from the past year.  This listing is not representative or even all that reflective, and I welcome reader input on stories forgotten or unmentioned (or poorly ranked).  So, for giggles and comment, here is a list of post titles and links providing an imperfect, too-quick review of some not...
Tags: Florida, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, California, Senate, United States, Bill Cosby, Ohio, Louisiana, Doj, Kennedy, Philly, Michael Cohen, Jeff Sessions, Anthony Kennedy


DPIC releases year-end report noting that 2018 was "fourth consecutive year with fewer than 30 executions and 50 death sentences"

This press release from the Death Penalty Information Center, titled "2018 Marked the Fourth Consecutive Year with Fewer than 30 Executions and Less than 50 Death Sentences," provides a summary of the DPIC's 2018 year-end report on the administration of the death penalty in the United States.  Here are excerpts from the press release: With 25 executions and 42 death sentences expected this year, the use of the death penalty remained near historic lows in 2018, according to a report released tod...
Tags: Florida, Texas, Supreme Court, Law, Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania, United States, Dallas, Ohio, Washington State, Orange, Death Penalty Information Center, San Bernardino


A quick look at how Justice Kennedy's retirement might impact capital punishment jurisdrudence

This new HuffPost piece, headlined "Justice Kennedy’s Retirement Is A Setback For Death Row Inmates," provides a quick account of one area of sentencing jurisprudence likely to be impacted considerably by a coming SCOTUS transition. Here are excerpts: President Donald Trump’s likely choice of a deeply conservative justice to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court could have a significant impact on death penalty cases, experts say. “Death row inmates will find it substantially more difficu...
Tags: Florida, Supreme Court, Law, Donald Trump, Death Penalty Information Center, Kennedy, HuffPost, Dunham, Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Robert Dunham, Raich, Cornell Law School, Earl Warren, Douglas A Berman, John -RSB- Roberts


DPIC releases 2017 year-end report noting "second lowest" executions and death sentences in a quarter century

This press release from the Death Penalty Information Center, titled "U.S. Sees Second Fewest Death Sentences and Executions in 25 Years," provides a summary of the DPIC's 2017 year-end report on the administration of the death penalty in the United States. Here are excerpts from the press report: Executions and death sentences remained near historically low levels in 2017, as public support for the death penalty fell to its lowest level in 45 years, according to a report released today by the...
Tags: Florida, Texas, Law, Alabama, United States, Arkansas, Death Penalty Information Center, U S Supreme Court, Clark, Riverside, Dunham, Riverside CA, Maricopa, HARRIS COUNTY Texas, Douglas A Berman, DPIC


Lies, damn lies, and executions statistics for the first year of recent presidential terms

This recent story, reporting that Texas' last scheduled execution of the year was canceled, suggests it is not too early to start taking stock of 2017 with respect to the application of the death penalty.  This DPIC upcoming execution page reports that no more executions are slated to go forward in 2017, meaning that Ohio closed the books on 2017 executions with its failed efforts to kill Alva Campbell (details here) and that Texas and Florida were the last states to actually complete executions...
Tags: Florida, Texas, Law, California, Virginia, US, Alabama, Barack Obama, Georgia, Ap, Ronald Reagan, Arkansas, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Ohio, Houston


Should Justice Ginsburg be accused of propagating "fake news" about the death penalty?

The somewhat tounge-and-cheek question in the title of this post is prompted by a short passage in this New York Times article by Adam Liptak discussing some recent public comments by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  Here is that passage: Justice Ginsburg spoke at George Washington University Law School, at an event sponsored by the Washington Council of Lawyers, a bar association. Asked about the future of the death penalty in the United States, Justice Ginsburg did not mention a 2015 dissent in ...
Tags: Law, California, US, United States, New York Times, Adam Liptak, Ginsburg, AG, Stephen G Breyer, Douglas A Berman, George Washington University Law School, Oklahoma Nebraska, DPIC, Ruth Bader Ginsburg Here


DPIC provides mid-year review of of 2017 death penalty developments

I just noticed that the Death Penalty Information Center recently provided this effective review of 2017 death penalty developments to date. Here are the details with links from the original: As we reach the mid-point of the year, executions and new death sentences are on pace to remain near historic lows in 2017, continuing the long-term historic decline in capital punishment across the United States.  As of June 30, six states have carried out 13 executions, with 30 other executions that had ...
Tags: Florida, Texas, Law, Virginia, Court, Alabama, Barack Obama, Georgia, United States, Missouri, Arkansas, Connecticut, Davis, Ohio, Louisiana, Delaware