News and Updates

America's Jim Crow Gulag

Michelle Alexander argues that there's nothing "colorblind" about the U.S. criminal justice system. Ken Richardson reviews her important new book.


Shackled prisoners are led outside to begin a day of labor
By: Ken Richardson
socialistworker.org
Friday, September 10, 2010

The United States is a country that was built on a foundation of racism. Historically, racism has taken many forms and served different purposes for those at the top of U.S. society. Whether it was chattel slavery or Jim Crow segregation, structural and overt racism have been a major feature of American life for many generations.


Troy Davis Innocence Claim Denied

By: Jean Marlowe
The Nation
Wednesday, September 8, 2010

On June 23, outside a federal courthouse in Savannah, Georgia, anti–death penalty activists began arriving at 5 AMfor a critical two-day hearing in the case of Troy Anthony Davis, a prisoner on Georgia's death row. In a highly unusual move, the US Supreme Court had ordered the evidentiary hearing, giving Davis a rare opportunity to clearly establish his innocence. The bar for establishing innocence was high—the burden of proof was on Davis.


Death penalty march comes to Denton

By: Taylor Jackson
North Texas Daily
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A crowd took to Oak Street on Saturday to show opposition to the death penalty.

The group of about 50 marched along the path from the Denton Square to Wooten Hall, yelling chants from hand-written notes.


Ga. Death Row Inmate Failed to Prove Innocence, Rules Federal Judge

Condemned inmate's lawyers say they will appeal; case could move directly to the U.S. Supreme Court

By: Alyson M. Palmer
Fulton County Daily Report
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A federal judge in Savannah, Ga., on Tuesday ruled against Troy Davis' claims that he is innocent of the 1989 murder for which he's been sentenced to death.


The cruel and unusual punishment of Teresa Lewis

The case of the first woman to be executed in Virginia for a century highlights America's death row sham


Credit: Getty Images/Joe Raedle
A death chamber in Huntsville, Texas, where execution is conducted by lethal injection. In Virginia, inmates may choose between lethal injection and electrocution.
By: Alex Hannaford
guardian.co.uk
Sunday, August 22, 2010

On 23 September, 40-year-old Teresa Lewis will become the first woman to be executed in the state of Virginia for almost a century. She'll also be the first woman put to death in the US since 2005. Considering that, in the intervening five years, around 220 men will have been executed, it puts it into perspective: executing women is unusual. Of more than 1,200 executions carried out since the US supreme court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, only 11 were of women. And each time that happens, it's stunningly bad PR for an increasingly unpopular facet of the American justice system.


Troy Davis judge in Ga. won't reconsider evidence

Associated Press
Thursday, August 12, 2010

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - A federal judge says he won't reconsider testimony he refused to hear in court in the case of Georgia death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis. The judge ruled Thursday against a motion by Davis' attorneys, who argued the judge wrongly rejected a witness who was to testify she heard another man confess to killing a Savannah police officer in 1989.

A federal judge says he won't reconsider testimony he refused to hear in court in the case of Georgia death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis.

U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. ruled Thursday against a motion by Davis' attorneys, who argued the judge wrongly rejected a witness who was to testify she heard another man confess to killing a Savannah police officer in 1989.


He deserves his day in court


Credit: Matt Beamesderfer | SW
Texas protesters call for an end to the death penalty
By: Mark Clements
Socialist Worker
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

FREDERICK BELL could become the fourth person executed this year by the state of Mississippi if the courts refuse to take up his plea that evidence of his innocence be heard.

In May 1991, 19-year-old Bell was charged for the robbery and murder of store clerk Bert Bell (no relation). He was tried, convicted and sentenced to death in 1993, largely because his trial attorneys failed to even investigate the case or conduct DNA testing beforehand.

Since 1993, Bell has sat caged in a prison cell on Mississippi's death row, denied access to the courts, despite newly discovered evidence that strongly suggests he is completely innocent in this case.


'Rock and a hard place' for city over Burge costs


Credit: Jose M. Osorio, Chicago Tribune
By: Matthew Walberg, Tribune reporter
Chicago Tribune
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

After already paying hefty legal fees connected to the torture claims against former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge, city officials are bracing to spend more on his defense rather than face even worse potential court damages from a host of related civil lawsuits.

Over the past two decades, the city has shelled out roughly $10.1 million to defend Burge, itself and other defendants in the torture scandal that led to Burge's federal conviction in June for lying about acts of torture from the 1970s and '80s.


Calif. borrows from budget to build new death row.

Associated Press
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Despite California's $19 billion budget deficit, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration said Wednesday it will borrow nearly $65 million from the state's cash-strapped general fund to begin building a new 1,152-bed death row at San Quentin State Prison.


Hillary Clinton to Iran: stop using death penalty so much

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday expressed concern about the case of a Iranian woman sentenced to death for adultery. Only China uses the death penalty more.


Credit: Amnesty International/AP
This undated image made available by Amnesty International in London shows Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a mother of two who is facing the punishment of stoning to death in Iran, on charges of adultery. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has condemned what Iranian human rights activists say is expanding use of execution in Iran.
By: Howard LaFranchi, Staff writer
Christian Science Monitor
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday added her voice to the growing international chorus condemning what Iranian human rights activists say is expanding use of execution as almost routine punishment in Iran.

The high-profile case Secretary Clinton cited in a statement is that of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman who was handed a sentence of death by stoning after she was found guilty of adultery.