News and Updates

Were the Newburgh 4 Really Out to Blow Up Synagogues? A Defendant Finally Speaks Out.

Credit: J.B. Nicholas, Christopher Sadowski Splash News/Newscom
From left: James Cromitie, David Williams, Laguerre Payen, and Onta Williams.
By: Graham Rayman
The Village Voice
Wednesday, March 2, 2011

On March 24, David Williams IV and three other Newburgh, New York, men face possible life prison sentences for plotting to blow up two synagogues in the Riverdale section of the Bronx and to shoot down military planes at Stewart Airport.

Georgia Prison Guards Arrested for Retaliatory Abuse of Inmate

Credit: istock/Frances Twitty
By: Julianne Hing
Friday, February 25, 2011

On Monday seven Georgia prison guards were arrested for their involvement in the December  beating of Terrance Dean, a 29-year-old prisoner in Macon State Prison after a highly publicizedprison strike.

Hospira to Stop Making Lethal-Injection Drug

Credit: Associated Press
This November 2005 photo shows the death chamber at the Southern Ohio Corrections Facility.
By: Nathan Koppel
The Wall Street Journal
Saturday, January 22, 2011

The sole U.S. maker of a key execution drug has decided to permanently halt production of the drug, which could lead many states to face delay in carrying out the death penalty.

Burge sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison

Credit: John J. Kim / AP
By: Annie Sweeney
The Chicago Tribune
Friday, January 21, 2011

Former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge, accused for years of torturing confessions from murder suspects, was sentenced today to 4 1/2 years in prison on perjury and obstruction of justice charges.

Hours before U.S.

Illinois poised to abolish death penalty

By: Mary Wisniewsk
Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Illinois was poised to become the first state since 2009 to abolish the death penalty after the state Senate on Tuesday approved the ban and sent it to Democratic Governor Pat Quinn for his signature.

The Senate vote came after House approval late last week. The Senate vote was 32-25.

Death penalty ban passes Illinois House on second try

By: Ray Long and Todd Wilson
Chicago Tribune
Thursday, January 6, 2011

SPRINGFIELD --- The Illinois House today voted to ban the death penalty, but the legislation’s ultimate fate is uncertain in the final few days of the General Assembly’s lame-duck session.

The 60-54 vote came hours after the plan failed in the House by a single vote on the first try.

DNA clears Cornelius Dupree from 30 years in Texas jail

Credit: AP
Mr Dupree served 30 years behind bars between December 1979 and July 2010
BBC News US and Canada
Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A man in the US state of Texas has had his robbery conviction overturned after serving 30 years in jail - longer than anyone in Texas cleared by DNA.

Cornelius Dupree Jr was jailed from 1979 to 2010 as part of a 75-year sentence for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon.

On hunger strike, to be on death row

By: Denis O’Hearn
Youngstown Vindicator
Monday, January 3, 2011

Why would anyone want to go on death row?  A federal judge from Ohio once asked that question. To be specific, he asked, “Why would anyone rather be on death row than at Ohio State Penitentiary?”

Why, indeed!

I’ve been asking myself that question since I began visiting OSP Youngstown a few years ago.

Schwarzenegger Commutes Sara Kruzan’s Sentence

Rare commutation highlights the excessive nature of life without parole sentences for youth

The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth
Monday, January 3, 2011

Yesterday, Sara Kruzan’s life without the possibility of parole sentence was commuted by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to a 25 years to life sentence with parole eligibility.  He wrote that, “given Ms. Kruzan’s age at the time of the murder and the significant abuse she suffered at his hands, I believe her sentence is excessive.” This decision provides a second chance for a young woman who was told at sentencing that she was undeserving and would die in prison. 

The death penalty: It's time for capital punishment to become Texas history.

The Houston Chronicle
Saturday, January 1, 2011

The death penalty in Texas is fraught with demonstrable error, and the people of the state seem more willing to deal with that fact than their leaders.