News Update 04.01.08
The latest filing in the ongoing Council of State litigation is available here. The inmates – Archie Billings, James Campbell, Jerry Conner, Marcus Robinson, and James Thomas – have asked the Superior Court to reject the State’s Motion to Dismiss and review the Council of State’s November decision to ignore the findings of an Administrative Law Judge and approve the Department of Correction’s proposed execution protocol. You can read past posts on the topic here, here, here, and here. The Council of State litigation affects only North Carolina cases, as opposed to Baze v. Rees, which affects death row inmates nationwide.
Through this weekend, you can catch the play “Still…Life” at UNC-Chapel Hill. From the web page: “Still…Life examines the Death Penalty in North Carolina using interviews with people from across the state that have been impacted by the Death Penalty. This process began in June, 2005. Interviewees included Death Row inmates, their families, victims, chaplains, attorneys, a warden, prison guards, and others.”
On April 14, Michael Radelet will be speaking at UNC-Greensboro as part of the Department of Sociology’s Colloquium Series. Radelet’s topic: The Changing Nature of Death Penalty Debates. Radelet’s work on wrongful capital convictions dates back to the 1980s, and he was a key figure in the Illinois study that led Governor Ryan to commute the sentences of everyone on death row. Call (336) 334-5295 for more information.
The ACLU of Northern California has released two reports on capital punishment in that state. The Hidden Death Tax details the true cost of the death penalty in California (e.g. executing everyone now on death row would cost $4 billion more than letting them die in prison), while Death by Geography shows how the death penalty is disproportionately administered across the state (e.g. if a murder is committed in Alameda County, the defendant is eight times more likely to be sentenced to death than had the same crime occurred in nearby Santa Clara). See also this report that California judges, prosecutors, and other law enforcement officials are calling for significant reforms in capital punishment.
Hopefully folks in Pennsylvania have been checking out the Voices of Hope, Agents of Change Tour, which wraps up this Thursday in Lancaster. Events feature talks from persons who have lost loved ones to murder as well as persons who have lost years of their lives to wrongful convictions. More here.
In the wake of its decision in Medellin, the Supreme Court has rejected the final appeals of seven Mexican nationals on Texas’ death row. (c/o CDW)