Recommended: College Republicans in Kansas endorse repeal

KFCR logo

Citing pro-life views and fiscal responsibility, the Kansas Federation of College Republicans unanimously adopted a resolution calling for repeal of the death penalty. The group urged Kansas legislators to pass repeal and joined ranks with the Republican Liberty Caucus of Kansas, who announced support for repeal last year. The Kansas Republican Party has also dropped death penalty support from its platform.

Check out this article in the Huffington Post that puts the College Republicans’ new stance into a boarder context of bipartisan support for death penalty repeal.

Connecticut Supreme Court puts a nail in the coffin of state’s death penalty

CT Supreme Court building

Three years ago, EJUSA joined our partners at the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty and a broad coalition of supporters to celebrate Connecticut’s repeal of the death penalty. Now, the Connecticut Supreme Court has taken things a step further and ruled the death penalty unconstitutional.

Repeal in Connecticut was prospective, meaning it only applied to cases after the law was passed. It left 11 men on the state’s death row. The Court said that “the death penalty now fails to satisfy any legitimate penological purpose and is unconstitutionally excessive,” ruling that those 11 men will now be resentenced.

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Campaign in Nebraska shifts focus to 2016 election

Voting booth

Last week, death penalty supporters in Nebraska submitted petition signatures to put repeal legislation in front of voters in the 2016 election.

The signatures have now been sent to county clerks, who will attempt to verify them against registered voters in the next 40 days. The official numbers will come out in October from the Secretary of State’s Office, but it seems there are enough for the death penalty to go before Nebraska voters next fall.

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Breaking: Nebraskans to vote on the death penalty

Voting booth

Today, a group of death penalty supporters submitted signatures for a referendum on death penalty repeal – enough to suspend repeal and put it on the November 2016 ballot if they are all verified.

The media might tell you that this kills the repeal of the death penalty that you helped achieve this spring. They might say that Nebraskans across the state disagreed with repeal and will vote to bring the death penalty back next fall.

But here’s the truth:
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Recommended Links: Oklahoma again poised to execute Richard Glossip

Richard Glossip

June’s Supreme Court Decision in Glossip v Grossaddressed one small debate about a specific lethal injection protocol. It also opened the door to many new questions about the future of the death penalty and the likelihood that the Supreme Court will one day rule on the constitutionality of the policy itself. At the heart of the court’s decision, though, was the case of one man: Richard Glossip. This past January, Glossip came within one day of his scheduled execution. When notice came that the Supreme Court was hearing his appeal, he was already in the process of saying goodbye to his family. Another execution date now looms, despite Glossip’s strong claims of innocence. Sister Helen Prejean is leading a campaign to halt the execution and to give Glossip’s lawyers the opportunity to present his case of innocence.

See Sister Helen’s action page for Richard Glossip.

Read The Intercept’s story on the Glossip case.

Young liberty activists continue to question the death penalty

Marc Hyden & Ron Paul

EJUSA’s Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty (CCATDP) project spoke to a standing room only crowd of young liberty activists at last month’s Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) National Conference.

YAL members at the workshop learned more about the death penalty and the movement to end it. One participant approached EJUSA’s Marc Hyden after the workshop with a confession. “I came here tonight for the sole purpose of heckling you,” he said. “Now I am 100% with you.”

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EJUSA bids farewell to longtime ally and advocate, North Carolina’s Steve Dear

Steve Dear

After 18 years, Steve Dear will hang up his hat as executive director of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty (PFADP). When Steve started at PFADP, it was a statewide organization in North Carolina with just a few hundred determined supporters, mostly in the Raleigh-Durham area. Under Steve’s leadership, PFADP has grown to a national organization that has mobilized thousands of religious leaders in support of death penalty repeal campaigns around the country.

Steve’s tenure at the helm of the organization is coming to a close, though he’s staying on part-time to help PFADP prepare for its next phase. Even so, Steve isn’t slowing down. Late last month, he spoke to the original Moral Monday gathering about North Carolina’s efforts to increase secrecy around executions. “Today we can begin a new century without the death penalty,” he said, “one that promises to be not one of retributive justice but one of restorative justice, one that really protects the people.”

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Narrow Supreme Court ruling gives glimpse at future of death penalty

Supreme Court Building

On the last day of its spring session, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a long-anticipated death penalty case, Glossip v Gross.

Though the case’s scope was narrow – only relevant to one drug used in a handful of state execution protocols – the oral arguments held in April unfolded with rare courtroom drama and revealed deep disagreement between the Justices about the death penalty in the United States.

The Court’s final ruling in favor of Oklahoma’s right to use the drug in question – midazolam – seemed to ignore the fact that the death penalty is falling into disuse around the country and that there is a growing consensus across the political spectrum that it is broken beyond repair. But those facts were not lost on the Court’s minority.

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What’s next for the death penalty debate in Nebraska?

Nebraskans for Public Safety

It’s hard to imagine that after all that work done to pass repeal in Nebraska, the debate over the death penalty is still not over. But it’s not.

Why? Because some lawmakers are clinging so desperately to the death penalty that they are scrambling to get illegal execution drugs and trying to force the issue onto the ballot. If death penalty supporters get enough signatures, a decision about death penalty repeal will go on the November 2016 ballot in Nebraska.

(We put together a geeky rundown of the “Veto referendum” process, since our equally-geeky rundown of the Nebraska legislative process was so popular.)

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Recommended link: Texas has not sentenced anyone to death in 2015

Texas

While Texas may seem like an outlier in the national trend away from the death penalty, even the Lone Star State is turning away from the antiquated, broken system.

For the first time in more than 20 years, no jury in the previous 6-month period has imposed the death penalty.

Read the full story in the Dallas Morning News’s Blog