May 2007 Issue 42

Articles in this Issue:

The Texas killing machine should be shut down!

By: Randi Jones

The Texas killing machine is out of control.

As of the second week in April, Texas had executed 12 people—which accounted for all but one of all executions throughout the U.S. so far in 2007. Eight more prisoners are scheduled to be put to death in Texas before August. Last year, Texas accounted for 24 of the 53 executions around the U.S.

Abolition advancing

By: Marlene Martin

The winning of a moratorium on executions in Illinois seven years ago was a significant moment in the fight for abolition.

The beginning of this year marks another significant moment. The controversy swirling around lethal injection and whether it is a “humane” way to put people to death—or whether it is, in fact, torture—has led 11 states to put executions on hold as the whole process is reevaluated.

Life without parole is retribution

By: Mary Ellen Johnson

hose of us fighting to abolish the death penalty will likely find, if we succeed, that capital punishment is replaced with life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) sentences. What do abolitionists have to say about this sentence?

Mary Ellen Johnson is executive director of the Pendulum Foundation (, kids serving kids serving life. We invited her to submit an article on this subject.

Illinois’ Death Penalty

Still Too Flawed to Fix

By: Julien Ball

It’s now been seven years since Illinois declared a moratorium on executions. Former Gov. George Ryan called the death penalty system in Illinois, “broken” and was compelled to shut it down.

It is a shameful record—one that executed 12 and freed 13—that led Ryan to enact the moratorium on executions and decide the system was so flawed that he had to grant clemency to all 167 death row prisoners—and pardon four of the Death Row 10—Madison Hobley, Stanley Howard, Leroy Orange and Aaron Patterson.


American as apple pie

By: Illinois pardoned death row prisoner Stanley Howard

The American execution system is grinding to a halt. The number of executions is dropping. And because the public is learning more about the death penalty, juries are rebutting bloodthirsty prosecutors by rejecting death sentences.

We closed the door to executing juveniles and the mentally retarded, and now, doctors and anesthesiologists, who take an oath to preserve life, are refusing to participate in the barbaric process of killing human beings.

Voices From the Inside

By: Mumia Abu-Jamal, Mark Clements, and Vernon Evans

Fight for Mumia Abu-Jamal’s freedom

The fight for justice for Mumia has entered a critical stage.

“I will never be free of death row”

By: Darby Tillis and Alice Kim

DARBY TILLIS, along with his co-defendant Perry Cobb, were the first to be released from Illinois’ death row in 1987 after spending more than nine years on death row for a crime they did not commit.

Since then, Darby has traveled around the country speaking out against the injustices of the death penalty. He is a musician who plays a mean harmonica, he has written his own one-man show, and he is a loving father. He spoke with ALICE KIM about the twenty years since he left Illinois’ death row.

Highlights Of The Struggle

Reports From Campaign Chapters Around The Country

Baltimore, Maryland/Washington, D.C.
By Mike Stark

The local abolitionist movement has been united in an effort to support abolition legislation in Maryland. The legislation was narrowly defeated after weeks of intensive activism and lobbying in the State’s capital by area abolitionists.

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Gary Tyler’s quest for justice

By: Dave Zirin

This article is by sportswriter and Nation columnist David Zirin, and is reprinted with his permission.

The history of the American legal system is scarred with instances of injustice: the Haymarket martyrs, Sacco and Vanzetti, the Scottsboro Boys, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Add to this list the case of Gary Tyler, convicted of murder at the age of 16.