Bipartisan Effort to Abolish Death Penalty Gains Momentum in Washington

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With the backing of the state’s governor and attorney general, Democratic and Republican sponsors of a bill to repeal Washington’s capital-punishment statute have expressed optimism that the state may abolish the death penalty in 2018. In 2017, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a Democrat, was joined by former Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican, in calling […]

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

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On Martin Luther King Day, DPIC looks at the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s views on the death penalty. Dr. King’s philosophy of non-violence had no room for capital punishment. In one of his most famous sermons, “Loving Your Enemies,” Dr. King preached: “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night […]

Experience Shows No “Parade of Horribles” Following Abolition of the Death Penalty

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States that have recently abolished the death penalty have not experienced the “parade of horribles,” including increased murder rates, predicted by death-penalty proponents, according to death-penalty experts who participated in a panel discussion at the 2017 American Bar Association national meeting in New York City. Instead, the panelists said, abolition appears to have created opportunities […]

Murder Victims’ Family Members Speak of Moving Forward, Without the Death Penalty 

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Family members of murder victims share no single, uniform response to the death penalty, but two recent publications illustrate that a growing number of these families are now advocating against capital punishment. In From Death Into Life, a feature article in the January 8, 2018 print edition of the Jesuit magazine America, Lisa Murtha profiles […]

Conservative Voices Continue to Call for End of Death Penalty

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From October 2016 to October 2017, support for capital punishment among those identifying themselves as Republicans fell by ten percetage points. Two op-eds published towards the end of the year illustrate the growing conservative opposition to the death penalty. Writing in The Seattle Times on December 27, Republican State Senator Mark Miloscia (pictured, l.) called […]

Retired Lt. General: Exclude Mentally Ill Vets from the Death Penalty

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Saying that the death penalty should “be reserved for the ‘worst of the worst in our society,’” retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General John Castellaw (pictured) has urged the Tennessee state legislature to adopt pending legislation that would bar the death penalty for people with severe mental illnesses. In an op-ed in the Memphis newspaper, The […]

Supreme Court of Kenya Declares Nation’s Mandatory Death Sentences Unconstitutional

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The Supreme Court of Kenya has declared the nation’s mandatory death sentencing procedures unconstitutional. In a December 14, 2017 ruling that could affect 7,000 death-row prisoners, the high court overturned Section 204 of Kenya’s Penal Code, which required that judges impose death sentences upon conviction of murder or armed robbery. The decision resolves conflicting rulings […]

DPIC Year End Report: New Death Sentences Demonstrate Increasing Geographic Isolation

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Nearly one-third (31%) of the 39 new death sentences imposed in the United States in 2017 came from just three counties, Riverside, California; Clark, Nevada; and Maricopa, Arizona, according to statistics compiled for DPIC’s annual year end report. In a press release accompanying the annual report, DPIC said that the year’s sentences reflect “the increasing […]

America Had Fewer Executions In 2017 Than In 23 Of The Last 25 Years

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Why Execution Numbers Continue To Fall Off A Cliff Midday on Tuesday, November 28, the Texas Court of Criminal appeals stayedthe execution of Juan Castillo, who was convicted and sentenced to death as the trigger-man in a 2003 robbery-murder on a San Antonio lovers’ lane. At Castillo’s trial, another inmate testified that Castillo had confessed his role […]

District attorney who prosecuted Jeff Wood now wants him off death row

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The prosecutor in the death penalty case of a man who didn’t kill anyone has asked the parole board and Gov. Greg Abbott to change his sentence to life in prison. BY JOLIE MCCULLOUGH The Texas prosecutor who sought the death penalty almost 20 years ago against a man who never killed anyone has now asked that […]