News and Updates

Kevin Cooper

and ending the death penalty in California

Kevin Cooper, Pat Foley, Jack Bryson and Crystal Bybee at San Quentin’s death row
By: Crystal Bybee

“The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man.” You would expect to hear this statement from activists such as myself. But this statement was made by five judges of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on May 11, 2009.

They were referring to Kevin Cooper, who has been on death row in California for the past 25 years. Kevin will likely be one of the first people to be executed if the state of California restarts the death machine.

Murdered by racism

Trayvon and Troy

By: Rebekah Skelton

A 17-year-old walked to a convenience store near his father’s house to buy Skittles and iced tea. A 20-year-old went to a pool party and stopped at a Burger King on his way home. Both were young men who were guilty of nothing more than living while being Black. Now, both are dead. 

Trayvon Martin was shot on February 26 in a residential neighborhood in Sanford, Fla., because he was wearing a hoodie, and George Zimmerman thought he looked “suspicious.” Troy Davis was executed by the state of Georgia last September because two decades ago, the Savannah Police Department was determined to arrest and try someone in connection with Officer Mark MacPhail’s murder, regardless of his guilt or innocence.

New evidence makes clear: Rodney Reed must be freed!

Rodney's mom Sandra speaking at a rally February 2015
By: Lily Hughes

On February 23, just days before his scheduled execution date, Texas death row prisoner Rodney Reed was granted a stay from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA). 

In the preceding months and years Rodney's many advocates -- his family, his legal team, and supporters from around the world -- have fought to stop the execution and to make  the courts to finally recognize the truth: Rodney is innocent of the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites in Bastrop, Texas. 


The racist prosecutors who run U.S. courts

By: Lily Hughes
Socialist Worker

Lily Hughes, a member of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, describes how racism is aided and abetted by prosecutors in America's injustice system.

IN EARLY June of this year, the State Bar of Texas stripped Charles Sebesta of his law license and formally disbarred him. His crime? Prosecutorial misconduct that led to the wrongful conviction of exonerated death row prisoner Anthony Graves.

Stop the execution of Richard Glossip!

By: Lily Hughes

RICHARD GLOSSIP GRANTED A TWO WEEK STAY! Please sign and keep sharing the petition below - let's keep the pressure on! 

Check out the latest story at The Intercept from Jordan Smith and Liliana Segura.

Take action in the case of Richard Glossip, innocent on death row in Oklahoma!

From behind death row's walls

Mumia Abu-Jamal
By: Lily Hughes
Socialist Worker

Lily Hughes, a leading member of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, reviews a new collection of essays by political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Death penalty dysfunction in 2015

Crosses mark the graves of inmates in Huntsville, Texas, April 23, 1997. About 1,300 people from the Texas prison system are buried here, among them 200 who died on death row.
By: Liliana Segura
The Intercept

ON DECEMBER 8, the state of Georgia carried out its fifth and final execution of the year, killing 47-year-old Brian Keith Terrell by lethal injection for a 1992 murder. It was a fight over money, the state said. Terrell forged checks belonging to an elderly family friend, then shot the man after he was found out.

End to California Execution Moratorium Raises Controversial Death Penalty Case

Credit: Courtesy Kevin Cooper's attorneys
Kevin Cooper on Oct. 23, 2013.
By: By Ari Melber
NBC News

California lifted a moratorium on executions in November and is now set to execute Kevin Cooper — even though several federal judges say he may be innocent. 

Having exhausted all his options in court, Cooper, 57, is about to file a last-ditch appeal with Gov. Jerry Brown. In a new interview from death row, Cooper says he is pleading with Brown to bring "an open mind" about the evidence in his case. 

Texas Sees an Unusual Lull in Executions

By: Jolie McCullough
The Texas Tribune

The last execution in Texas was more than five months ago, the longest gap since 2008. While the hiatus eight years ago reflected a nationwide pause as the U.S. Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of lethal injection, this time the reasons for the slowdown are less clear.

Execution dates are still being set, but judges and courts have been rescheduling or stopping executions. At least two judges on the state's highest criminal court say better lawyering by defense attorneys has contributed to the recent stays. Death penalty opponents are looking for a silver lining, hoping the court is more deeply scrutinizing the constitutional use of the punishment.


End the Death Penalty or Speed It Up – California Faces Opposing Ballot Initiatives

Credit: Photo: Eric Risberg/AP
A condemned inmate is wheeled back to his cell on death row at San Quentin State Prison on Aug. 16, 2016.
By: Liliana Segura
The Intercept
ON THE DAY a California jury sentenced 25-year-old Irving Ramirez to die, Dionne Wilson went out to a bar to celebrate. “We had a major party,” she told me. Ramirez had shot and killed her husband, Dan, in 2005 — the first Alameda County cop to be murdered in the line of duty in almost 40 years.