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Warren Hill: An execution that defies belief

Warren HillEvery doctor that ever examined him found Warren Hill to be intellectually disabl

Memorial: EJUSA remembers Governor Cuomo’s death penalty leadership

Mario CuomoFormer New York Governor Mario Cuomo passed away on New Year’s Day at age 83. He was well known for vetoing reinstatement of the death penalty 12 times – once for every year he was in office.

EJUSA Executive Director Shari Silberstein reflected on this legacy in an op-ed in Newsday this week:

“Today, it is well known that states that impose the death penalty make mistakes, that it is applied unevenly, wastes millions of dollars, distracts from public safety, and puts the families of murder victims through hell. When Mario Cuomo was governor, those truths were heresy.

“But his heresy was prescient.”

Cuomo governed in the late 80s and early 90s, when violent crime – particularly in New York City – was high and the hunger for expanding punishment was even higher. “In the heat of those times,” Shari wrote, “Cuomo could have done what many politicians would do: relent. Or he could have vetoed the bill silently, behind closed doors, in the dead of night, with wringing hands and a sweating brow. But he did the opposite.”

Death penalty continues to decline

DPIC report - death sentences2014 set some new records, according to a new report released by the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC). Specifically, death sentences have reached a 40-year low and executions have reached a 20-year low. We’re happy to usher in 2015 with those kinds of trends at our backs.

States that carry out executions remain an isolated few. The report also highlighted each of this year’s seven people exonerated from death row and three botched executions, as states turned to untested drugs from unreliable sources to perform increasingly secretive lethal injection processes.

DPIC’s annual report shows how the death penalty is growing increasingly out of favor around the country. The 40-year low for death sentences means only 72 cases across the country resulted in a death sentence – down from a high of over 300 death sentences. Prosecutors are not seeking death sentences as often, wary of the costs to both the taxpayers and to the families of the victims, who endure decades of uncertainty. And juries are more and more aware of the risk of executing an innocent person, increasingly handing down alternatives to a death sentence.

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