Archive for

December, 2013



Death Penalty Support Continues to Slip

With 39 executions in 2013, this year marks only the second time in nearly 20 years that the U.S. has executed less than 40 people according to a year end report released by Death Penalty Information Center. These numbers represent about a 10% decline from 2012.

“Twenty years ago, use of the death penalty was increasing. Now it is declining by almost every measure,” said Richard Dieter, DPIC’s Executive Director and the author of the report. “The recurrent problems of the death penalty have made its application rare, isolated, and often delayed for decades. More states will likely reconsider the wisdom of retaining this expensive and ineffectual practice.”

Still with its pursuit of execution dates for at least ten people, Tennessee is moving in the opposite direction of much of the nation. Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey recently had an op-ed in The Tennessean that encouraged the resumption of executions in the state with no acknowledgement of the mounting evidence of flaws throughout Tennessee’s death penalty system. In a 2007 report conducted by Tennessee experts for the American Bar Association, the experts discovered that of 93 guidelines for a fair and accurate death penalty system, Tennessee fully complies with only seven.  Tennessee has released four men from death row after decades of litigation when evidence of their innocence was discovered. These men are free not because the system worked but despite the system’s every effort to keep them on death row.

Lt. Governor Ramsey also fails to mention the expense of the system to taxpayers. Nowhere does he acknowledge that maintaining Tennessee’s death penalty system costs taxpayers millions more than the alternatives of life or life without parole.  As a fiscal, limited government conservative, I would hope Lt. Gov. Ramsey would be concerned with such a bloated, expensive, inefficient system and instead of pushing to resume executions, would push to comprehensively study its cost to the state.

As I travel the state talking to Tennesseans, what I discover is that support for the death penalty is a mile wide and an inch deep.  Tennesseans deserve better than this broken, expensive, ineffective system and more than ever, Tennesseans are moving away from their support of the death penalty.

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You Get What You Pay For

A story in yesterday’s Tennessean described an overburdened and under-resourced public defenders office in Nashville that does not have the ability to defend any more capital cases at this time.

In the story, Assistant Public Defender Mike Engle explained the public defenders’ office currently has just a few attorneys who are qualified to defend capital cases, two of whom are already working on one case and the other who is preparing to retire.  Others at the office are already supervising other public defenders, making it impossible to also take on a death penalty case. Engle referenced the American Bar Association estimation that a typical death penalty case takes upward of 2,000 hours of preparation as it is the most serious and complicated of cases to defend.

Dawn Deaner, Nashville’s public defender, states, “There are maximum caseload standards that are recommended for public defenders in Tennessee. If you apply those standards to the number of cases we handled in fiscal year ’13, we were 22 lawyers short in our office to be able to handle the workload that we have.”

If Tennessee wants the death penalty, the state will have to pay for it. Already our state is spending untold millions on a system that has executed six people in 53 years, and we are still not spending nearly enough to ensure that each defendant has adequate representation at trial. When are we going to figure out that we can’t afford the death penalty?

In the legislative Tennessee Committee to Study the Administration of the Death Penalty that met from 2007-2009, David Raybin, the attorney who wrote Tennessee’s death penalty statute, called the death penalty a “luxury item” in the state’s budget. He told the committee, “if you want to do it right, be prepared to pay for it.”

The state of Tennessee is not prepared to pay for it, and if fact, does not want to  know what we are already paying for it as our state has no centralized method of tracking the comprehensive costs. With alternatives available to us that are less expensive and don’t risk the lives of the innocent, individuals who themselves may have had little defense at trial because of the very issues outlined in this article, why would we continue to utilize the death penalty?

Picture from Wikipedia

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Remembering Delbert Tibbs

On November 23, 2013, Delbert Tibbs died at his home at the age of 74.  He was a poet, the Assistant Director of Membership and Training for Witness to Innocence, and a man who spent time on death row for a crime he didn’t commit.

NCADP Executive Director Diann Rust-Tierney wrote this remembrance of Tibbs published today in the Huffington Post.

Rest in peace, Delbert. You will be missed.

Picture by Peter Kramer via Getty Images

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Remembering Nelson Mandela

Today as the world celebrates the life of  Nelson Mandela, we at TADP join with so many to honor this great human being and to give thanks for his witness to the power of forgiveness and reconciliation.

After suffering from the oppression and brutality of apartheid in South Africa, enduring unspeakable suffering as his friends and fellow South Africans were murdered and as he himself was locked up for 27 years, Mandela chose another way. He saw the viciousness of the cycle of violence and retribution and understood that if he pursued such a course as President, his country would be awash in more blood.  Instead, he turned toward forgiveness and worked to bring together those who were once called “enemies,” in order that his nation could become a nation that treats all its citizens–no matter who they are–with dignity and equality.

Not long after Mandela’s election to the South African Presidency  in 1994, the nation’s courts abolished the death penalty on June 6, 1995.  In a nation where, during the apartheid regime, state violence and retribution were the norms, the nation followed their leader in choosing another way.

In 2005, I was honored to travel to South Africa and attend the 50th wedding anniversary celebration of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife, Leah, after their daughter Naomi (a member of TADP ‘s Advisory Board) invited me. Nelson Mandela attended the celebration, and I had the opportunity to meet him very briefly. This moment was one of the highlights of my life as his witness continues to inspire me in my work today.

As we all remember and celebrate this great leader, let us also be inspired by his example and work even more diligently to end the death penalty system in the U.S., joining the nation of South Africa as a abolition nation.

Picture from NBC News

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 heartiness conditions that can be very much 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.

“Generations” Show a Huge Success Even as Tennessee Schedules Executions

“I just don’t like killing people.” With those words, singer/songwriter John Hiatt summed up his opposition to the death penalty during last night’s annual Generations Against the Death Penalty Show at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville.  

In addition to John Hiatt and his daughter, Lilly Hiatt, other performers included parent and son duos Gail Davies and Chris Scruggs; Riders in the Sky’s Ranger Doug and James Green; and Marcus and Levi Hummon playing with their band The Hummons. Dr. Lee Camp of Lipscomb University in Nashville was the emcee for the evening and conducted interviews with Charles Strobel, TADP board member  and murder victim’s family member, as well as Ray Krone, the nation’s 100th death row exoneree.

And though their was a packed house for this amazing event with high hopes for repeal, the headline in today’s Tennessean read, “Tennessee makes unprecedented push to execute 10 killers,” a stark reminder of just how important our work is and how much more needs to be done.  And, though the trend in our nation is clearly moving away from the death penalty with public support at its lowest level since 1972, the state of Tennessee is moving toward execution, though there is clear and convincing evidence that the system in our state is broken and cannot be trusted.

Please join TADP in our efforts to move this state toward repeal. Donate to TADP today and sign up to join our mailing list. Submit letters to the editor to your local papers highlighting the death penalty’s unfair application, exorbitant cost, and risk of executing the innocent.  We need you now more than ever to raise our collective voices, to educate our communities, and to tell our leaders we do not want 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 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 dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction 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.