Ending the death penalty by elevating voices of color | 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.

“Justice from Within: The Death Penalty and a New Vision for Criminal Justice through a Racial Justice Lens,” Nonprofit Quarterly
In a new article, EJUSA’s Fatimah Loren Muhammad highlights the history of racial bias in the application of the death penalty and the evolution of EJUSA’s work to end the death penalty by elevating voices of color. She also offers insights into the kinds of transformative internal work that allows EJUSA to more fully engage in racial justice campaigns and work toward our new vision for justice, centered in racial equity and healing.

“L.A. Leads in New Approach for Juveniles Who Have Committed Felonies,” The Chronicle for Social Change
In a historic move, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to adopt a plan for diverting tens of thousands of youth from the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The plan aims to connect youth with a comprehensive array of supportive services – education, employment, housing, healthcare and more – at a fraction of what it would cost to lock them up. 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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Will Virginia Execute an Innocent Man? – an update from CCATDP

On April 11, we released a letter that has received national attention. It was signed by 25 notable Virginia conservatives calling on Virginia Governor McAuliffe to halt the planned execution of Ivan Teleguz. His execution is scheduled for April 25, despite a complete lack of physical evidence and the fact that two of the three witnesses who originally linked him to the crime have since recanted their testimony. The third witness had incentive to lie because he received a lighter sentence in exchange for testifying against Teleguz.

Considering all of this, there is simply too much doubt to execute Teleguz, and there is reason to believe that he may actually be an innocent man. Thus, pro-life conservatives in Virginia signed the letter respectfully asking Gov. McAuliffe to commute Teleguz’s sentence. You can read it in its entirety and see the signatories here.

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Florida Prosecutor Rejects Death Sentences – an update from CCATDP

Last week, Florida State’s Attorney Aramis Ayala announced that she will not seek any death sentences during her tenure as the prosecutor in the 9th district (serving Orange and Osceola Counties). This is welcome news given that Orange County has historically been one of the leading death penalty counties in America.

There are good reasons to eschew capital punishment. It costs millions more than its alternatives, doesn’t protect society, and can harm murder victims’ families. Most importantly, it risks innocent lives because the criminal justice system is dangerously fallible.

Consider the recent report from the University of California Irvine, where researchers found that more people were exonerated of various crimes in 2016 than in any other year – a total of at least 166 people from only the 25 states that were studied. The same fallibility that led to these wrongful convictions also affects capital cases, and as such, Ayala should be commended for her decision to avoid death sentences during her term.
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157 – an update from CCATDP

Late last month, after serving several years on Delaware’s death row, Isaiah McCoy was released and acquitted of the murder for which he was originally convicted. There was no physical evidence linking him to the crime, and the testimonies that were used against him were inconsistent. Despite this, McCoy was sentenced to die, but after receiving a new trial, he was acquitted of murder. Upon hearing the news, McCoy wept and said that he plans on spending the coming days with his daughters. McCoy is the 157th person to be released from death row due to a wrongful conviction.

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Georgia Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty – An update from CCATDP

Last year, Georgia led the nation in executions with nine, which was the most in the Peach State’s history. While executions are at record levels, no one has been sentenced to die in Georgia in nearly three years, which suggests that its death penalty is slowly dying. However, there are many in Georgia who wish to hasten its demise. Just last week, a group of conservatives and libertarians came together to launch the Georgia Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty (GA CCATDP) group and call on the state legislature to reexamine capital punishment. The press event was attended by a conservative state representative, former Republican Party official, think tank leader, and activists from across the state who described in detail why capital punishment is inconsistent with their values.

Republican State Representative and press conference participant, Brett Harrell, said, “I like to make sure that government is as efficient, effective, and small as possible,” but when speaking about the death penalty, “the government has failed to provide an efficient, effective, accurate system.”

If you missed the press conference, you can watch it here.

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Georgia conservatives launch new efforts to re-examine death penalty

Georgia Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, a network of conservatives questioning the alignment of capital punishment with their conservative principles, officially launched last week with a news conference at the Georgia State Capitol.

“Georgia may have led the nation in executions in 2016, but our state is actually moving away from the death penalty,” said Marc Hyden, EJUSA’s National Coordinator for Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty and a longtime Georgia resident. “Georgia conservatives stand for life, fiscal responsibility, and limited government, but the death penalty violates these core conservative tenets.”

Marc was joined on stage by a current state legislator, a former congressional district chairperson for the GOP, the COO and Chairperson of two local conservative think tanks, the former president of a local pro-life organizations, and the past chair of a local college Republicans group.

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#IAmTroyDavis

Troy Davis

Troy Davis was executed 5 years ago today, and, unfortunately, the struggle did not end with him. We must continue to support repeal until the death penalty is gone for good.

Sign the “I Support Repeal” petition in hour of Troy today.

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Death penalty chaos around the country

Death penalty chaos around the country

Nevada just became the ninth death penalty state to go a decade or more without an execution. Add those nine to the 19 states without capital punishment, and you have 28 states that have abandoned executions in either law or practice.

And in the remaining states? The death penalty is in complete chaos.

Florida’s death penalty law has already been thrown out twice in 2016. The first ruling came from the U.S. Supreme Court in January. The Florida legislature then passed a “fix” to the law, and last month a Miami judge threw it out again. Alabama’s death penalty law is similar to Florida’s, and the Supreme Court sent a death sentence back for review for the third time this week because of those similarities.

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Georgia refused to listen. Share your outrage.

Thank you so much for your letter last week to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. Thanks to people like you, we generated over 650 letters to stop an execution tainted by racial bias and a sleeping lawyer.

Georgia refused to listen. Kenneth Fults was executed last night for the 1997 killing of Cathy Bounds.

This is a stark reminder that the death penalty is broken beyond repair.

Share your outrage on Facebook and Twitter so your friends and followers can learn the truth and join us in the fight to end the death penalty.
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