The ultimate punishment, the death penalty, violates the 8th Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. America frequently executes, or sentences to die, the intellectually disabled, people with severe brain injury or survivors of extreme childhood trauma and abuse. Others sentenced to die are of questionable guilt. One 2014 study found that if all death-sentenced defendants remained under sentence of death indefinitely, at least 4.1% would be exonerated.

The Recidivists: New Report on Rates of Prosecutorial Misconduct

Originally Published: July 13, 2017; Updated: August 9, 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...
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Oklahoma Commission Recommends Extending Death Penalty Moratorium

The Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission, a bipartisan commission of legal experts, along with community leaders and advocates, was convened in 2016 to comprehensively examine Oklahoma’s death penalty system. The commission recently concluded its investigation...
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Arkansas Poised to Execute Kenneth Williams

Kenneth Williams is scheduled for execution tonight. Five IQ scores place him within the intellectual disability range, but no Court has ever considered whether he is categorically barred from the death penalty. Unless this Court intervenes, he will be executed...
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Arkansas Executes Ledell Lee Despite Disability, Innocence Questions

On Friday, April 21, the state of Arkansas executed Ledell Lee despite serious concerns about his intellectual functioning. It is possible Lee suffered from a disability that should have excluded him from the death penalty. There were also concerns raised about the...
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New Report: Prisoners on Arkansas’s Execution List Defined By Mental Illness, Intellectual Disability, and Bad Lawyering

Introduction Since the Supreme Court reinstituted the death penalty in 1976, Arkansas has executed just 27 people.[1] It has not sent an inmate to the death chamber since 2005.[2] But beginning on April 17, Arkansas intends to execute an unprecedented eight men in...
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Aramis Ayala Becomes First Elected State Attorney in Florida to Refuse to Seek Death Penalty

The Fair Punishment Project applauds Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala’s decision to refrain from seeking any death sentences during her tenure. Robert J. Smith, the Project’s director, issued the following statement in support of her decision:...
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New Report: Death Penalty Disproportionately Used Against Persons with Significant Mental Impairments in Five Florida Counties

Introduction The Florida Supreme Court recently held that the state’s capital punishment statute is unconstitutional. Approximately 380 people sentenced to death under the now-invalidated sentencing scheme remain on death row.[1] While litigation is still pending over...
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Reaction From The Fair Punishment Project On The Florida Supreme Court’s Decision to Invalidate Approximately 150 Unconstitutional Death Sentences

Today, the Florida Supreme Court invalidated approximately 150 unconstitutional death sentences. In a decision earlier this year the same court held that Florida’s capital sentencing statute is unconstitutional because it does not require a unanimous jury decision on...
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New Report: Oregon’s Death Penalty Disproportionately Used Against Persons with Significant Mental Impairments

Introduction Oregon retains capital punishment mostly as an exorbitantly expensive legal fiction.[1] In practice, as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy recently noted, the State falls on the abolitionist “side of the ledger” because “Oregon has suspended the...
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Part II of Our Report on America’s Outlier Death Penalty Counties Released

Today, we released Part II of  a new report offering an in-depth look at how the death penalty is operating in the handful of counties across the country that are still using it. Of the 3,143 county or county equivalents in the United States, only 16—or one half of...
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Death Penalty

by | Mar 3, 2016 |