Orlando murder victims’ families of color express frustration. Their basic needs are not being met.

Orlando press conference
While Florida considers expanded rights for crime victims, local murder victims’ families are expressing their dismay that the voices of local victims are too-often ignored and that current resources and agencies aren’t sufficiently meeting the needs of many victims of color.

Over a dozen murder victims’ families held a news conference Thursday morning in front of the Orlando Police headquarters. Those participating are members of local victims’ support groups, including Let Your Voice Be Heard Inc., Beautiful Safe Beginnings, and Men of Purpose.

Thursday’s speakers included the parents and children of individuals murdered in the Orlando area. They asked the Orlando Police Department for an official meeting to hear about victims’ and surviving families’ needs in the wake of violence, to express concerns about how the Orlando Police Department has interacted with communities of color, and to work toward better communication going forward.

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State lawmakers continue re-evaluating the death penalty

Photo of the New Hampshire State Capitol

We’re less than a quarter into 2018, and the movement to end the death penalty has already made major strides in state capitols around the country.

In Utah, a Republican-sponsored repeal bill passed out of a House committee for the first time ever. Two years ago, Utah came close to ending the death penalty but ran out of time before getting to the House. This year, Utah’s session was extra short, but with strong backing from conservative lawmakers and civic leaders, the state is primed and ready to take repeal the rest of the way in 2019.

Washington’s death penalty also appears to be on its last legs. The Senate voted ‘yes’ on a repeal bill and so did a House committee, leaving just one final hurdle left. But like in Utah, Washington lawmakers ran out of time before they could get the bill to the Governor’s desk. The state, however, was a veritable echo chamber of voices calling for repeal, from families of murder victims, law enforcement, newspaper editorial boards, and, recently, from Kirk Bloodsworth, who had the personal experience of being exonerated from death row. Stay tuned for what is sure to be an exciting campaign next year.

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You can help end the death penalty in Florida!

The Florida legislature is now in session, and a bill to end the use of the death penalty needs your help!

If you live in Florida:

We need you to contact your legislators and ask them to co-sponsor this important legislation. Ask them to say YES to ending the death penalty.

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What Happened to Crime in Camden? | Reimagining Justice This Month

Reimagining Justice This Month highlights stories about effective responses to violence – responses that disrupt cycles of violence, heal trauma, and address structural racism.

What Happened to Crime in Camden?, CityLab
Five years ago, the police department in Camden, NJ was disbanded, reimagined, and born again with fewer officers, lower pay, and a strategic shift toward community policing. In 2017, they had their lowest homicide rate since the 1980s.

‘Bold step’: King County to look at youth crime as public-health risk, The Seattle Times
King County, WA, home of Seattle, announced that its Juvenile Detention Services will aim to create a “trauma-informed” approach to incarcerated youth. The ultimate goal is zero youth incarceration: “Credible research suggests that we can reduce crime by bringing a rehabilitative, public health approach to juvenile justice.” Continue Reading →

No executions in 2018?

We’re closer than ever.

This fall support for the death penalty plunged to its lowest level since 1972. You made that happen. You stood by us year after year, and now even red states and Republican lawmakers are leading the charge.

Will you help us continue our work in 2018? Please make as generous a gift as you can. We need to raise $50,000 by December 31st and the first $25,000 we raise will be matched!

This year you’ve literally saved lives: Continue Reading →

Did you know?

Did you know that Florida has second largest death row in the country? If you care about ending the death penalty, Florida is ground zero.

Florida also has the highest number of known wrongful convictions. And its death penalty is in chaos, with hundreds of old cases in sentencing limbo after recent court rulings.

It’s shameful. Florida is throwing millions of dollars behind the relentless pursuit of executions while communities lack resources to prevent and heal from violence.

Your help is needed to help demonstrate that Floridians want safety, healing, and justice – not the death penalty. A gift of $25, $50, $75, or even $100 today will make sure survivors of Florida’s broken system are heard!

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Tell the Governor: No more executions!

Florida: No More Executions!Last month, after years of uncertainty, Florida resumed executions. But there are still serious concerns surrounding the fairness of the state’s death penalty system, and the legitimacy of hundreds of death sentences remains in question.

In the midst of this chaos, Florida shouldn’t be executing at all. Send an email to Governor Rick Scott today and tell him to halt executions.


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Conservative group forms to challenge Florida’s death penalty

FL CCATDP launch
Florida’s death penalty system has come to epitomize the typical big, dysfunctional government program. It is marred by failures, including wrongful convictions and rising costs. It fails to adequately protect society, often harms murder victims’ families, and the Sunshine State’s capital sentencing scheme has been declared unconstitutional twice in just the last year. As a result, roughly 200 people on death row must be resentenced.

As the death penalty’s many shortcomings have come to light, an increasing number of notable conservatives from across the country have turned against it. Many in Florida have taken note of CCATDP’s activities and reached out to me, asking how they can become more involved.

Consequently, I helped organize a press conference on June 14, where the Florida Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty officially launched, making it the 12th state-based CCATDP group so far. Conservative leaders from around the state passionately explained why the death penalty is inconsistent with conservatism, and they called on prosecutors to reject death sentences for those whose cases are now in limbo. Continue Reading →

More Exonerations – an update from CCATDP

In the past month, we’ve been confronted with our death penalty system’s dangers and flaws again. Rodricus Crawford was released from Louisiana’s death row in April and Ralph Daniel Wright Jr. from Florida’s death row just days ago because they had both been wrongly convicted and sentenced to die. Regrettably, this isn’t a rare occurrence. In fact, these exonerations bring the total number of wrongful capital convictions in the US since 1973 to 159, while others have been executed who might have been innocent.

The Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission concluded its year-long examination of the state’s capital punishment program, and their findings reflected what has been discovered in many other states. Oklahoma’s death penalty is dangerously flawed, has led to wrongful convictions, and it costs far more than life without parole.

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Racist hate mail a reminder of the death penalty’s true colors

Last month, an African American prosecutor in central Florida received an especially disturbing piece of hate mail: a racist note and a noose.

The prosecutor, State Attorney Aramis Ayala, made national news earlier this year when she announced she would not seek the death penalty in future cases. Her constituents broadly supported the decision, and a grassroots movement sprang up in support. But Florida’s Governor Rick Scott made the reactionary decision to transfer all her death penalty eligible cases to a neighboring prosecutor.

The specter of a white Governor stripping the state’s first black States Attorney of almost two-dozen cases for exercising her lawful discretion was discomfiting enough. But that battle is now buried in a thicket of legal arguments.

Lest the courtroom drama obscure the obvious racial implications of the entire saga, a noose in the mail brings them back into stark relief.

A noose is not just a threat; it’s a symbol of lynchings – which themselves were precursors to the modern death penalty.

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