News and Updates

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.


In the Rearview Mirror, Oklahoma and Death Row


Credit: Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
James Fisher with Charlotte Morrison, a senior lawyer for the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit group, in Montgomery, Ala.
By: DAN BARRY
New York Times
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You can never come back, ever. If you plead guilty to that long-ago murder in Oklahoma City, you will be released from prison, where you have spent most of the last 27 years on death row. But once free, you will be banished from Oklahoma. O.K.?

O.K., said James Fisher, trading his black-and-white-striped prison top for a blue-and-white-striped dress shirt. Then, without shackles or escort, he stepped into the late afternoon of a state that once wanted him dead and now just wanted him gone.

First, though, Mr. Fisher’s lawyers and supporters thought that the end to his Hitchcockian case, a study in the cost of appalling legal representation, warranted at least dinner. So they took him to Earl’s Rib Palace for the celebratory opposite of a last meal.


Death Row Inmate's Team Fights to Save Case

By: Alyson M. Palmer
law.com
Monday, August 9, 2010

Lawyers for Troy Davis are fighting to fix the damage caused by their failure to call at a recent hearing the man they say committed the murder for which Davis has been sentenced to die.

The problem occurred in June, during an event Davis' supporters had fought for years to achieve: an evidentiary hearing at which Davis could press his claims that he did not kill Savannah, Ga., police officer Mark Allen MacPhail.

Courtesy of an unusual order from the U.S. Supreme Court, they received that opportunity before U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr.


Unusual Alliance Protests Execution


Credit: Ohio State Public Defenders Office, via Associated Press
Kevin Keith is scheduled to be executed in Ohio next month.
By: BOB DRIEHAUS
New York Times
Monday, August 9, 2010

CINCINNATI — An unlikely array of Republicans and Democrats, attorneys general and federal and state judges and prosecutors has lined up to fight the execution of a death row inmate many believe to be innocent.

Dozens of former officials have joined death penalty opponents to appeal to Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio, a Democrat, to spare the life of the inmate, Kevin Keith. They say emerging evidence of investigative errors, inadequate defense and the existence of another suspect merit a pardon or at least a new trial.

The diverse group, including some who generally support the death penalty, is scheduled to appear at a news conference at the Statehouse in Columbus on Tuesday, ahead of a clemency hearing on Wednesday.


Interview with Darby Tillis, Exonerated Death Row Prisoner

youtube.com
Sunday, August 8, 2010

The television network RT talks with Darby Tillis, Illinois' first exonerated death row prisoner. Darby is a talented musician, entertainer and activist. He has been speaking out against the death penalty since his release in 1987 and is a long-standing member of the CEDP.