Author: Fair Punishment Project

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore Questions the Appropriateness of a Life Sentence for Second Time in Six Months

Late last week, the Alabama Supreme Court denied an inmate’s writ, which had asked the justices to review his first-degree robbery conviction and life sentence. Chief Justice Roy Moore dissented from the Court’s denial, and he issued an opinion to explain why he believes the case warrants judicial attention. For the second time in six months, Chief Justice Moore has expressed serious concerns about the “difference between justice and overkill.” Willie Lee Conner was convicted of first-degree robbery and sentenced to life in prison under Alabama’s habitual offender law. The evidence indicated that Conner was stopped by employees of...

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Rethinking Juvenile Life-Without-Parole Sentences in Georgia

Last week, the Georgia Supreme Court overturned a life without parole sentence given to Robert Veal, who was only 17 years old at the time at the time of his crime, based on the recent Supreme Court decisions in Montgomery v. Louisiana and Miller v Alabama, sending the issue back to the trial court. In a pivotal moment, the court determined that the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings had transformed its interpretation of Miller. The Georgia Supreme Court determined that, while under the Miller ruling alone, Veal’s sentencing might have been proper because the judge had utilized permissible discretion. However, Montgomery imposed additional...

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Wharton County Assistant DA Outs Boss for Racist Jury Selection

In a case last month, Wharton County, Texas prosecutor Nathan Wood eliminated all Black individuals from the jury pool, leaving an all-white jury in violation of the Supreme Court’s holding in Batson v. Kentucky that a prosecutor cannot strike a juror for race or gender. After Judge Randy Clapp rejected his argument that the cuts were for “race neutral” reasons, Wood revealed that his boss, DA Ross Kurtz, advised him to exclude Black residents from juries “as a matter of trial strategy.” Wood later admitted that this explicit instruction to exclude Black jurors made him feel “uncomfortable.” Sadly, this...

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My name is John Thompson. Prosecutors intentionally tried to wrongfully execute me.

My name is John Thompson. Prosecutors intentionally tried to wrongfully execute me. I proved that, saved my life, and was awarded civil damages for what I’d suffered. Five years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court declared in Thompson v. Connick that I deserved no compensation, instead declaring prosecutors essentially immune from lawsuits. The Court ruled that education, training, internal supervision, bar oversight, and criminal sanctions were sufficient protections to ensure that prosecutors would consistently act within their legal and ethical guidelines. Yet each of those things were – and remain – essentially a joke in my case. In the...

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