Archive for

November, 2012



Record Number of Countries Support UN Resolution Against Death Penalty

Last week, 110 countries voted for a resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty in the United Nations General Assembly’s Third Committee, which addresses human rights issues. This was the largest number of countries to ever support the resolution, which is voted on every two years. In 2010, 107 countries backed the resolution.

In addition to the European Union nations, Australia, Brazil, South Africa and Israel supported the non-binding resolution. Sadly, the United States joined Japan, China, Iran, India, North Korea, Syria and Zimbabwe along with 31 other countries in opposing the resolution, and 36 countries abstained.

France, along with other abolitionist nations, launched a campaign to get the full General Assembly to pass a resolution next month calling for a death penalty moratorium. Although such a resolution would also be non-binding, supporters say that it would help to increase moral pressure to end the death penalty worldwide.

Though it is disappointing that the United States did not join the majority of nations who support this resolution, it is encouraging that more nations are doing so. With growing support for repeal within the U.S. and five states having abolished the death penalty in the in the last five years, the United States is making progress as we move toward joining the ranks of the nearly 150 abolitionist countries.

(Photo courtesy of earthtimes.org)

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Giving Thanks and the Road Ahead

In the struggle to end the death penalty, we can sometimes get discouraged by the challenges that we face. This year, however, we have much thanks giving to do.

In April, Connecticut became the fifth state in five years to repeal the death penalty. Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon issued a death penalty moratorium a year ago, and it has continued to foster action towards repeal there. Though California recently failed to repeal the death penalty in a referendum, over four million Californians voted in favor of repeal. And, according to a 2011 Gallup Poll, support for the death penalty has dropped 19 percent over 17 years.

Here at home in Tennessee, we are seeing change as well. Gussie Vann became Tennessee’s third exoneree when all charges against him for the 1992 murder of his daughter were dropped. Ndume Olatushani (formerly Erskine Johnson) was released in June on an Alford plea after spending 27 years behind bars, including 19 years on death row. More murder victims families are joining TADP to let Tennesseans know that the death penalty system does not serve their needs and that the protracted process only prolongs their suffering while more fiscal conservatives are acknowledging that the our state cannot afford the exorbitant cost of the death penalty.

With our thanksgiving for these achievements comes a renewed dedication to the work that still needs doing. Former death row inmate Timothy McKinney continues to fight for his freedom as he awaits his third capital trial. Michael Dale Rimmer’s conviction and death sentence were thrown out by a Memphis judge, and now he waits to see if he will be retried. Currently there are still 85 inmates on Tennessee’s death row, including those like Abu-Ali Abdur’ Rahman and Olen Hutchison, who are in danger of getting execution dates.

TADP will continue to educate the people of Tennessee about just how broken the death penalty system is, and we look forward to holding our annual student conference at Lipscomb University on February 23, 2013. In years past, this conference has provided an excellent opportunity to bring students from across the state into the death penalty conversation, and we are working diligently to bring even more to the table next year. We are grateful to have Ray Krone, the nation’s 100th exoneree, featured as our keynote speaker, sharing his amazing story with students statewide.

Thanks to all who support this work for repeal. During this Thanksgiving season, we at TADP are truly grateful for you and your support.

(Photo from C. A. Muller)

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual appeal among men is the erectile dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile malfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as heart trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile malfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health conditions that can be very dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile malfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.

If the Word Fits

In last Tuesdays’ Tennessean (Nov. 13), an article debuted Oxford Dictionary’s “Word of the Year.” Given Britain’s ongoing media debacles and its government’s notable 2012 gaffes, this year’s word is “omnishambles.”

Oxford University Press defines this word as, “a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations.”  Upon reading this definition, I could not think of a better word to describe the state of our nation’s current death penalty system: omnishambles.

Innocent people sentenced to death. Rampant racial and class bias. Exorbitant amounts of taxpayer dollars wasted. Ineffective attorneys. Executions of individuals with severe mental illness. Victims’ families waiting decades for the promise of an execution.  Disproportionate sentencing. Coerced confessions. Faulty eyewitness identification.  Withheld evidence–omnishambles.

I hope in the near future when I think of the death penalty system and all its failings, another word will come to mind–history.

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual appeal among men is the erectile dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong heartiness problem such as heart trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying soundness conditions that can be extremely dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile dysfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.

Former TN Death Row Inmate Receives Life Sentence

On Friday, Leonard Edward Smith, a man who has been on and off Tennessee’s death row for decades for the 1984 murder of Novella Webb, a Sullivan County grocery store co-owner, had his sentence reduced to life in prison.

Two retrials that ended in death sentences followed Smith’s initial trial and death sentence. Of the three accomplices, Smith was the only one to receive the death penalty. One received a life sentence, and the other a 25-year sentence in return for testifying against the other two. Last year, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that Smith should receive a new sentencing hearing because his attorneys never attempted to have the judge from an earlier sentencing hearing recused, even though the judge had been a former prosecutor who prosecuted Smith for robbery years earlier. The Court also ordered a new hearing to determine if Smith had an intellectual disability, which would exempt him from the death penalty.

After three capital trials,  the Sullivan County District Attorney Barry P. Staubus decided against pursuing the death penalty again. Novella Webb’s family agreed since, after decades of legal wrangling, they wanted this ordeal to end and to get some legal finality.

Twenty-seven years and untold amounts of taxpayer dollars later (according to a 2004 report by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office a capital trial costs 48 percent more than non-capital trial), Smith received a life sentence–a sentence he could have been given in 1985.  Instead, the victim’s family has had to endure the agony of three capital trials and years of pain and uncertainty. Tennessee can do better for victims’ families and for all Tennesseans, by putting an end to this costly, broken system and replacing it with one that still holds offenders accountable, provides more legal finality, and redirects resources to needed services and programs that provide for public safety.

(Photo courtesy of aafe.org)

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual appeal among men is the erectile dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as heart trouble. Albeit the erectile malfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile disfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health conditions that can be highly dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile dysfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.

Reflecting on the Death Penalty and Victims’ Families

As an intern here at TADP, I have the opportunity to reflect on many aspects of the death penalty. I will be sharing some of these thoughts here occasionally, and I hope you will consider engaging in a dialogue with me.

Watching proposition 34 fail in California was a disheartening experience for me. But, this loss opened my eyes to a strange side-effect of the death penalty on our sense of justice. Many in our society continue to see the death penalty as an important aspect of carrying out justice. One of the prevailing messages of maintaining the death penalty is that it gives closure to murder victims’ loved ones.  In fact, I think that it only complicates the suffering of the family and friends of murder victims. Letting the death penalty remain allows us to pretend that relieving their loss and giving them justice is a simple process. Truth, however, continues to resist such simplifications.

Whichever side of abolition one stands on, we all care for the suffering of those who shared a life with victims. The death penalty is a response, however, that allows us to simplify this suffering. If the perpetrator is executed, we hope that the family will find closure and be able to move on with their lives. We want it to give a concise endpoint to their suffering. Listening to families of murder victims has taught me that death penalty cases last years, meaning ‘a clear cut endpoint’ is in fact a far distant, uncertain future. In other cases, the Alford plea is offered which allows a defendant who may have real evidence of innocence to plead to a lesser charge  and leave prison while maintain his or her innocence. This plea is often granted because the prosecution fears that it will lose during a new trial. Such an outcome leaves these families, again, with no legal closure. It goes down as a “win” because the plea is still guilty. The case is closed, regardless of the fact that the victims’ family and friends will never have an answer to their questions.

It is an unfortunate truth that no amount of legal process will ever replace the loved one lost. Neither judge nor jury has the power to heal these hearts, but we can certainly cause more or less harm through the process. The death penalty pretends that suffering can be turned off and on by a single action. I have not yet met anyone who has lost a loved one whose grief is that straightforward.

Photo from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alfon18/2439293687/

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual complaint among men is the erectile dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as core trouble. Albeit the erectile malfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health conditions that can be so dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile malfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.

Latest FBI Crime Report Shows Drop in Murder Rates

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for 2011 was recently released and reveals that violent crime is on the decline for the fifth straight year. Overall, the number of violent crimes in the U.S. dropped 3.8 percent from 2010 to 2011 and the national murder rate dropped 1.5 percent. This promising news coincides with the declining use of the death penalty nationally.

The Death Penalty Information Center conducted an analysis of the FBI report and found that the Northeast region, which uses the death penalty the least of any of the four geographic regions of the U.S., had the lowest murder rate and actually experienced a 6.4 percent decrease in its murder rate in 2011, the largest drop of any region. In contrast, the South, which carries out the most executions, did see a small decrease in murders from 2010, but still had the highest murder rate in the country. The Midwest experienced a slight increase, while the murder rate in the West stayed about the same.

While four of the five states with the highest murder rates have the death penalty, and four of the five states with the lowest murder rates do not, studies like these only further discredit the argument that the death penalty acts as a deterrent.

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual appeal among men is the erectile dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as core trouble. Albeit the erectile malfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying soundness conditions that can be highly dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile dysfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.

Despite Defeat, Over 4 Million Californians Voted to End the Death Penalty

Yesterday, California’s Proposition 34, an initiative to replace the death penalty with a sentence of life without parole, was narrowly defeated by a vote of 53 percent to 47 percent. Although a majority of voters chose to retain the death penalty, over four million Californians voted for repeal, representing a dramatic shift away from capital punishment.

The 1978 ballot initiative that enacted the state’ death penalty statute passed with the support of 71 percent of the voters. In 1986, California Chief Justice Rose Bird was removed from office by 67 percent of voters because she was perceived as blocking the death penalty.

This change in public opinion in California that we witnessed yesterday matches declining support for the death penalty across the country. The most recent Gallup Poll shows a drop in support of the death penalty from 80 percent in 1994 to only 61 percent in 2011. Moreover, when respondents are given alternatives such as life without parole, support for capital punishment falls below 50 percent.

California’s use of the death penalty has declined in recent years. Death sentences dropped from 40 in 1981 to only 10 in 2011, and the state has not carried out an execution since 2006. Nationwide, new death sentences dropped to 78 in 2011, a 75 percent decline since 1996, when 315 individuals were sentenced to death. This marks the first time since 1976 that the country produced fewer than 100 death sentences in one year. Executions have also steadily decreased nationwide, with 43 in 2011 and 46 in 2010, representing a 56 percent decline since 1999, when there were 98.

We are thankful for all of the hard work and education that was done by our colleagues in California, and we congratulate them on moving their state closer to repeal. The fact that such a large percent of Californians voted to end the death penalty is testament to the fact that people are increasingly concerned about the very real risk of executing the innocent, as well as the fairness and effectiveness of such a costly, broken system.

(Photo of Prop 34 volunteers taking down a banner in San Francisco on November 6, 2012. Courtesy of Susana Bates, San Francisco Chronicle)

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual complaint among men is the erectile disfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as heart trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying heartiness conditions that can be so dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile dysfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.

Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly Joins Other Conservatives in Supporting Repeal in California

Conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly of Fox News recently endorsed California’s Proposition 34, the ballot initiative that would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole. O’Reilly joins many other conservatives in supporting this initiative, including Ron Briggs, who led the 1978 effort to reinstate California’s death penalty.

In an op-ed about O’Reilly’s endorsement, Briggs outlines the conservative argument for repeal, calling the death penalty “a fiscal disaster.” He notes continuing concerns about innocence and the traumatic effects of the process on victims’ families.  Briggs states that the  death penalty system is “light years away from the conservative mantra of ‘smaller, smarter, simpler’ government,”  and urges other conservatives to support Prop 34.  Read the full op-ed here.

Californians will decide tomorrow if they have had enough of the death penalty which has cost them $4 billion to maintain. If the measure is successful, California will join states like Illinois and Connecticut who have recently decided that they can do better than the death penalty.

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual appeal among men is the erectile disfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong heartiness problem such as heart trouble. Albeit the erectile disfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile disfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying soundness conditions that can be extremely dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile disfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.