That was the official conclusion of a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) review of the federal death penalty system released in September. The study shows that the federal death penalty is used disproportionately against minorities, especially African Americans -- and that it is applied in a geographically arbitrary way, with some states, like Virginia and Texas, accounting for a large share of death penalty prosecutions.
One phone call last June may have provided some of the evidence to free Kenneth Collins from Maryland's death row.
Andre Thorpe called Kenny's attorney and admitted that he lied under oath in order to help to convict Kenny. Thorpe says that he is willing to officially recant his testimony, even though this might leave him open to face perjury charges.
Opponents of the death penalty have been demanding that Alex Williams' sentence of death in Georgia be commuted. In August, we got some good news. With his scheduled execution just days away, the Georgia Supreme Court granted a stay of execution to decide on a series of issues in Alex's case.
Alex was arrested in March 1986 for the robbery, rape and shooting of a 16-year-old white girl in Augusta, Georgia. After a four-day trial, Alex was convicted and sentenced to death.
A special thank you to the Crossroads Fund and the Funding Exchange, which helped to fund our mobilization to the Unity 2000 protest of the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia this past summer. According to ABCNews.com, "It was hard to ignore the shouts from the anti-death penalty group criticizing Governor George Bush for his support of the death penalty." Let's keep up the pressure!
Also, thank you to the Wolf Foundation for its generous donation this past summer.
Polls Show Growing Opposition To The Death Penalty
By: Matt Nichter
Mounting evidence of injustice in the administration of the death penalty is having a profound impact on popular opinion.
According to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll taken this summer -- in the wake of the execution of Gary Graham in Texas -- 63 percent of those surveyed said they favored a halt on executions nationally. This represents an increase of 26 percentage points in just a couple of months when a similar poll was taken by Newsweek.
And a huge majority of people -- 94 percent -- say they believe innocent people are wrongfully convicted.
"Committing to Conscience" National Conference:
Building a Unified Strategy to End the Death Penalty
"Committing to Conscience" is a national conference to appeal to a broad range of activists. The conference will provide intensive workshop sessions, networking opportunities and powerful speakers such as Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, Sister Helen Prejean and Senator Russ Feingold.
The Death Row Ten are prisoners on Illinois' death row who were beaten and tortured by former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and his detectives. In 1993, Burge was forced into taking early retirement, but Burge and his cronies were never charged. Burge now spends his time fishing on his boat in Florida!
In the summer of 1998, the Death Row Ten decided to become a group and asked the Campaign to End the Death Penalty to help them organize.
The clock continues to tick for Pennsylvania death row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Mumia and his supporters are anxiously awaiting his day in court, which has been repeatedly postponed. At the end of October, Federal District Court Judge Yohn was deciding whether or not to hear new evidence that could lead to a new trial for Mumia.
Chanting "Governor Death, you can't hide! We've got justice on our side!" and demanding a moratorium on executions from Texas Gov. George W. Bush, 700 protesters marched and surrounded the Governor's mansion in Austin, Texas, on October 15.
At a student activities fair at Columbia University in New York City, 700 people signed up to get involved with the Campaign to End the Death Penalty. And the Campaign's national office has received numerous requests for information on how to start a chapter.
So here are some practical steps to help you get started.
After nearly to a dozen years on death row, Nathson Fields won a new trial in 1997. But he has spent the last three years in Chicago's Cook County Jail while prosecutors appeal for more time to prepare.
Both in jail and on death row, Nathson has been the victim of brutal violence by guards. In this letter, he describes a terrible beating in late July.
Please allow me to share this recent incident with you.
We are the "forgotten ones" of America's society. We are the masses condemned to be executed at the hand of the State -- in the guise of "justice." We are like "castaways," shipwrecked and lost without anyone hearing their S.O.S.
May I please have copies of any brochures or pamphlets you have concerning your Campaign to End the Death Penalty? It will be very much appreciated.
Within this death penalty campaign, does anyone ever think about a campaign concerning the overly excessive life sentences being passed out so frequently? What is a life sentence if not a slow death penalty? Something to think about.
Gregory Ratliff, #A91992
PO Box 515
Joliet, IL 60432
I sat here on death row today thinking and watching TV as the whole world rang in the New Year 2000: What will the future be?
I've been watching workers build the new door for the death house now known as Q-wing. Our state government is going to change the way they kill people here -- so it doesn't seem so cruel, but something nice and neat. Just lay down and get a shot, and then you're dead. Nice and neat, no flames from your head.
Hello, My Name is Rage!
I am an angry man.
They have managed to turn me into an animal!
I tried to fight them off, believe me, I tried my hardest.
There are so many unanswered questions in my mind.
Like: Who is it that I'm actually mad at?
Is it myself for getting into such an uncontrollable situation?
Or for allowing them to make me into this ball of Rage?
My body hurts so bad some days.
My heart boils and pumps lava through my inner functions.
My tears are streams of blood!
My rage is not a RAGE of violence!
Although sometimes I feel it might help to