Archive for

2015



Junk Science?

For the layperson how much of our understanding of forensic science is shaped by entertainment? In a sixty-minute television episode, a forensic investigator examines a gruesome crime scene; finds a pivotal piece of evidence; expertly analyzes the evidence in a state-of-the-art lab; pieces together the clues for a decisive resolution to the crime by episode’s end.

But in the words of The Atlantic, CSI is a lie.

This week the Washington Post ran a devastating story covering massive incompetence and outright deception by the FBI’s forensic unit over a two-decade period. At the heart of the report is the revelation that forensic experts gave flawed testimony in 268 trials, some of which were death penalty trials that led to executions. In Tennessee, sixteen state defendants were affected by the testimony, including four who are currently on death row. This is not to say that all of those imprisoned are innocent, rather that flawed forensic testimony aided the prosecution’s case against them. There have been, however, four defendants who have been exonerated. The fact remains that unreliability of some forensics practices has come under tremendous scrutiny, as often reported by journalists like Radley Balko evidenced by his most recent article.

This week’s news is just one more glaring piece of evidence that the death penalty system cannot be fixed, relying on unreliable components that are subject to human error.

Photosource: http://observer.com/2013/11/morning-links-forensics-edition/

 

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Death Penalty Controversy Not Going Away in Tennessee

Something happened while the legislature wrestled over Insure TN and the latest piece of gun legislation–a Tennessee Republican joined Democrats in sponsoring a bill to repeal the death penalty.

Now to be clear, Representative Jeremy Faison is a death penalty supporter. However, one of his constituents is Ray Krone, the 100th man exonerated in this country after spending years in prison and on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. Representative Faison, though not ready to repeal the death penalty, does believe that the death penalty statute in Tennessee is too broad and is concerned about the kind of evidence that it currently takes for someone to end up on death row. He joined in sponsoring this bill in order to begin a conversation about ways to address these concerns, and for that, we are grateful.

Still, we know that all the tweaking in the world will not “fix” the death penalty system. Other states have tried and failed and finally repealed the death penalty. Even as I write this blog, an effort to repeal Nebraska’s death penalty (an effort led by a majority of Republicans), is as close as it has ever been to succeeding. The issue for many of these Nebraska Republicans is not whether or not the death penalty is justifiable in some cases, as many of them believe that it is. The issue is instead whether or not the state can carry out executions in a just, fiscally responsible way with 100% accuracy every time. And these legislators are now convinced that it can’t. We have some convincing to do in Tennessee as well.

 

Photo Attribution

 

 

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 malfunction 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.

National Latino Evangelical Coalition announces opposition to the death penalty

On March 27, this past Friday, the National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC) announced its opposition to the death penalty. NaLEC President Rev. Gabriel Salguero stated:

“After prayer, reflection, and dialog with anti-death penalty organizations like Equal Justice USA, we felt compelled to add our voice to this important issue…. As Christ followers, we are called to work toward justice for all. And as Latinos, we know too well that justice is not always even-handed. The death penalty is plagued by racial and economic disparities and risks executing an innocent person. Human beings are fallible and there is no room for fallibility in matters of life and death.”

This announcement coincided with the Southern Baptists Ethics and Religious Liberty (ERLC) summit on Race and Reconciliation in Nashville. This gathering of Southern Baptist pastors, laypeople, and academics was convened in order to examine how churches and other institutions might improve racial relations within the denomination. Some attention was given to criminal justice matters, too, given the national flashpoints of Ferguson and the Eric Garner killing. While both gatherings had very different aims, the fact remains that evangelicals are becoming more engaged in criminal justice reform at varying degrees. This is all encouraging news, as the conversation on these matters keeps expanding to include new dialogue partners.

(Photo source: http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/54934/20150327/prominent-evangelical-group-joins-effort-to-repeal-death-penalty-in-groundbreaking-move.htm)

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 soul 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 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.

Sunshine Week in Tennessee

Over the weekend, the weather changed for the better in Tennessee just in time for the kickoff to Sunshine Week, as citizens rallied in order to call for more government transparency.

We could not help but think about these developments in light of Oklahoma’s own revelations over the botched execution of Clayton Lockett last year (April 2014). New reports show staggering levels of incompetence and government secrecy most aptly symbolized by the blinds being closed during Lockett’s last few minutes of life. The laundry list of bizarre components of Oklahoma’s protocol include:

  • Three executioners driven to and from the prison wearing hoods. They were interviewed at an undisclosed location and their interviews were not transcribed in any way.
  • Lockett himself suggested they attempt to insert a needle into his leg after attempts on his arm, neck, and toes were unsuccessful
  • A paramedic correcting a physician’s notion of how to carry out the procedure
  • A panicked execution team who felt substantial pressure to carry out the execution even though it was clearly failing.
  • A doctor who testified that he was not asked for a copy of his medical license before the execution.
  • Freedom of Information Oklahoma was denied access to public records concerning the Lockett execution.

With secrecy laws on the uptick nationwide, citizens have every reason to be concerned. Still, even if Tennessee and other states continue to keep information about execution protocols from public scrutiny, what the state can’t hide is the fact that the death penalty system is extremely costly to taxpayers, that the long and drawn-out process inflicts more pain and suffering on grieving families, and that the state cannot guarantee that an innocent person will not be executed. When the sun shines on the death penalty system in Tennessee, its failures are all to clear.

** For extensive summaries, see articles from the Tulsa World and CNN

 

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 malfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying soundness 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 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.

Death Penalty Repeal Bill Passes Arkansas Senate Committee

Yesterday a bill to repeal Arkansas’ death penalty, sponsored by Senator David Burnett, passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee by a voice vote with no audible “nays.” The Arkansas Senate Judiciary Committee is composed of four Democrats and four Republicans.

Burnett himself prosecuted five death cases and served as a judge on five more. One of those was the West Memphis Three case, in which Damien Echols was sentenced to death. Echols and two co-defendants eventually were released from prison after strong evidence of their innocence came to light. Burnett said the death penalty doesn’t do anything to prevent murder or capital crime. “I think the time has come for us to reconsider the death penalty as a form of punishment.” Burnett’s bill, SB 298, would make sentencing options for a capital crime life in prison or life in prison without parole.

Though it is unlikely that a repeal bill will pass through the Arkansas legislature, this news is encouraging for us in Tennessee and provides further evidence that leaders on both sides of the aisle are increasingly willing to express their concerns about taxpayer dollars propping up a failing system.

Here in Tennessee, Tennessee Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty (TCCATDP) is making its debut at Justice Day on the Hill on March 4, bringing more Tennessee conservatives to the table to talk about this broken policy. If you would like to be a part of Justice Day on the Hill, register here and join us as we lay the groundwork for Tennessee to become the next Southern state to get a repeal bill through committee.

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 health 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.

Student Conference is an Unprecedented Success

The pace of the TADP office has briefly slowed this week after finishing our most well attended Student Conference on the Death Penalty to date. This past Saturday, on one of the warmest days yet in 2015, over 160 high school, college, and graduate students, as well as some community members, spent their morning and afternoon inside at Belmont University listening to speakers and panelists talk about their knowledge and experience with the death penalty system in Tennessee. Students came to the conference from over 20 schools and institutions from around the state. Having been a student participant in the past, I was fortunate to help plan this year’s conference as a TADP intern.

The product of many months of planning and preparation, the 9th Annual Student Conference on the Death Penalty featured a wide range of voices, each bringing their own perspective and experience to share. The day began with our featured speaker, Stephen Owens, who shared his journey of forgiveness and reconciliation that spanned almost 30 years. As a child, Stephen testified in the trial that sentenced his mother, Gaile, to death for the murder of Stephen’s father. It wasn’t until 25 years later in 2009 that Stephen visited his mother in prison, and eventually helped advocate for her release. Governor Bredeson commuted Gaile’s sentence to life, and she was able to walk out of prison in 2011. Gaile was in attendance, and graciously answered questioned along side her son, which many students said was the highlight of the conference. You can read more about their incredible story in Stephen’s book Set Free. We hope to provide a link to Stephen’s keynote and Q&A in the near future.

The day also featured two panels. TADP’s short film, To Honor Life, was shown, followed by a panel of some of those from the film, including Charles Strobel, Preston Shipp, Brad MacLean, and Gayle Ray. The panel spoke of the brokenness of the entire death penalty system, and the need to dispel common myths that are too often assumed as truth. After taking a lunch break, we were incredibly grateful to have three defense attorneys and an investigator who work in various phases of the capital process. Moderated by TADP board member Randy Spivey, the panel (Rob Gown – Shelby County Public Defender, Debbie Drew – Post Conviction, Alexis Soler and David Paschal – Federal Public Defender) spoke to the grueling and traumatic nature of the entire capital process, not only on death row inmates, but jurors, attorneys, judges, correctional officers, and family members of victims and inmates as well. It became clear that each of the panelists face difficult battles with the cases they work, and without legislative repeal, the death penalty will continue to take its toll on everyone involved.

Sixty-nine people currently sit on Tennessee’s death row. Hundreds of people have been involved with each of those cases, some of which joined us at our conference to share of their experiences. Their stories highlight the brokenness of a failed system.

The calm won’t last long here at TADP.  After a successful and eye-opening conference, it is now time to take action. Come join us at Justice Day on the Hill on March 4 as we tell the Tennessee Legislature that the death penalty is not good for anyone involved. The voices from the student conference must be heard on Capitol Hill.

Register for Justice Day on the Hill here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/justice-day-on-the-hill-2015-tickets-15472236877

 

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 health problem such as core trouble. Albeit the erectile disfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile disfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying heartiness 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 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.

Not Intellectually Disabled Enough: Georgia Executes Warren Hill

TADP has followed Warren Hill’s case for years as he fought to demonstrate to the state of Georgia that he was, in fact, intellectually disabled. Georgia requires that defendants prove their intellectual disability, “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the highest legal burden of proof. In Mr. Hill’s case, all seven medical experts who examined him, including three appointed by the state, determined that he was intellectually disabled. His attorneys claimed that their client had “the emotional and cognitive ability of a young boy.” The American Bar Associate, the ACLU, the Georgia chapter of the NAACP, the Vatican, the European Union, mental health organizations, and even the family of Mr. Hill’s victim, Joseph Handspike, along with some of the jurors from his trial, all opposed his execution. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Atkins v. Virginia in 2006 those with intellectual disability could not be executed, but only two members of the court, Justices Stephens and Sotomayor, voted for a stay for Warren Hill.  At 7:55 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, Warren Hill was declared dead, executed by the state of Georgia.

Many of you signed petitions and sent letters to the parole board in Georgia, asking them to stop this egregious constitutional violation, and we are grateful. Mr. Hill’s execution tragically demonstrates once again the failure of our nation’s death penalty system. How many more Warren Hill’s will be executed before we recognize that our death penalty system must be dismantled?  Mr. Hill’s attorney Brain Kammer stated, “the memory of Mr. Hill’s illegal execution will live on as a moral stain on the people of this State and on the courts that allowed this to happen.”

When will we stop allowing this to happen in Georgia, in Tennessee, and across this nation?

TADP’s Student Conference on the Death Penalty is scheduled for February 7, 2015, at Belmont University. Our Justice Day on the Hill is planned for March 4, 2015. Both of these events provide participants the opportunity to learn more about just how broken this system is and how all of us can get involved to end it. We will stop allowing this to happen when we all get informed and empowered to act. TADP wants to help us do that here in Tennessee. Please join us.

Photo from Reuters/Georgia Department of Correction

 

 

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 soul trouble. Albeit the erectile disfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying heartiness 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.

TADP Starts 2015 Strong

A new year brings new opportunities to get involved with TADP’s work to repeal Tennessee’s death penalty. Currently, TADP is planning what we hope will be our largest student conference to date on February 7, 2015, at Belmont University in Nashville. Though this conference is geared to students, the wider community is invited to attend.

This conference provides an annual opportunity for students, educators, community leaders, legal professionals, and those affected by the death penalty to gather to learn more about Tennessee’s failed policy. Our keynote speaker is Stephen Owens,  the son of Gaile Owens—a woman who spent decades on Tennessee’s death row before her sentenced was commuted to life.  Owens will share his journey toward forgiveness and reconciliation with his mother following her conviction of murdering his father as chronicled in his book, Set Free. In addition to Owens’ amazing story, the conference includes a showing of the short film, “To Honor Life,” with a panel discussion to follow. To conclude the conference, a panel of attorneys will speak about the challenges involved with defending capital cases and how they navigate those challenges.

Registration for the student conference is free and can be found here.

Just a few short weeks following the student conference, TADP will hold its annual Justice Day on the Hill on March 4, 2015. Justice Day provides the opportunity for Tennesseans who are concerned about the death penalty system to come to Nashville for face-to-face meetings with their legislators. We gather at the Capitol for a brief training and then meet with lawmakers, educating them on the problems with the death penalty and asking them to consider repeal. This is an important year to connect with your legislator as Tennessee faces scheduled executions in 2015. As the event approaches, more information will be provided on our website, Facebook page, and Twitter. Stay tuned!

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 dysfunction 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 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.