Author: Fair Punishment Project

New Report: Prisoners on Ohio’s Execution List Defined by Intellectual Impairment, Mental Illness, Trauma, and Young Age

INTRODUCTION On July 26, 2017, Ohio ended its three-year execution moratorium and put Ronald Phillips to death. Phillips, 19 at the time he committed his crime, had the intellectual functioning of a juvenile, had a father who sexually abused him, and grew up a victim of and a witness to unspeakable physical abuse – information his trial lawyers never learned or presented to a jury.[1] Ohio intends to execute three more people in 2017 and then 23 more between 2018 and 2020.[2] We examined the cases of these 26 men, relying on available legal pleadings, court opinions, and where...

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New Report: California’s District Attorneys Out of Step With Voters

Today we released a new report, along with the ACLU of California, that examines the policy positions of the District Attorneys in California’s nine largest counties: Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, and Sacramento. Each county has more than one million residents and combined they make up about 70 percent of the state’s total population. In the report, we compare local voters’ positions with their elected district attorneys’ public statements on four successful statewide criminal justice reform ballot measures in recent years: Propositions 36, 47, 57 and 64. These four ballot measures...

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New FPP Supreme Court Amicus Brief on Solitary Confinement

The Fair Punishment Project has filed an amicus brief in support of Shawn Walker’s petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Walker is asking the Supreme Court to hear his challenge to the conditions of his confinement while on death row, and subsequently during the period he awaited resentencing after his death sentence was vacated. Mr. Walker was held in solitary confinement of one form or another for 20 years. The Fair Punishment Project’s amicus brief urges the Supreme Court to hear Mr. Walker’s case. As the brief points out, there is a strong...

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FPP Files Amicus Briefs on Behalf of Four Juvenile Defendants (Updated 8/15/17)

The Fair Punishment Project has filed an Amicus Brief in People of the State of Michigan v. Skinner on behalf of Tia Marie-Mitchell Skinner, who is challenging the life without parole sentence she received for an offense committed when she was a juvenile. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Montgomery v. Louisiana, said that life without parole sentences for juveniles violate the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution “for all but the rare juvenile offender whose crime reflects irreparable corruption.” While Miller v. Alabama initially created the rule banning life without parole sentences imposed without consideration of a juvenile’s individual...

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The Recidivists: New Report on Rates of Prosecutorial Misconduct

Originally Published: July 13, 2017; Updated: August 9, 2017; Please read our explanation of updates made on September 11, 2017. Introduction Prosecutors wield extraordinary power in the criminal legal system. How they exercise their power can be the difference between fairness and inequality, justice and corruption, and a community with faith in its justice system or one that feels betrayed by it. Newspapers across the country have featured elected prosecutors and their offices where there have been failures to use this authority ethically, and in many cases, where prosecutors have engaged in illegal behavior in order to win convictions.[1]...

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