Death Penalty Archives

It seems like the best way to point out the tragic absurdity of capital punishment is simply to look to Texas, which puts to death more people than any other state. A few months ago, the Lone Star State was the focus of national scrutiny after a New Yorker article on the case of Cameron Read More

David Martin, the trial attorney for the executed Cameron Todd Willingham, said Willingham was guilty on Anderson Cooper’s 360 and dismissed as biased the science debunking the “science” that determined the fire was arson. While plenty of experts have called the arson investigators’ work mysticism and folklore, the fire investigator who found evidence of arson Read More

Remember that David Grann piece in the New Yorker that asked whether Texas had executed an innocent man? Texas Governor Rick Perry replaced the chairman and two members of a commission set to hear evidence in the case. The new chairman appointed by Perry cancelled the hearing. A spokesman for the governor told the New Read More

I think, as dispassionate observers of the legal system, we can all agree that Charles Hood probably got a fair trial despite the newly established fact that the prosecutor and judge were having an affair. Besides, if that was an issue, Hood’s lawyers should have just raised it at trial. What, don’t think so? Communist. Read More

This week’s New Yorker features this breathtakingly tragic and much-discussed piece by David Grann about Cameron Todd Willingham, a Texas man who was sentenced to death for starting the fire that killed his three kids. Grann’s piece points to evidence that more or less invalidates the entire case against Willingham, and exposes the shoddy “fail-safes” Read More

Adam Liptak reported on a study that found the way race factors into the death penalty in Harris County, Texas. This is important because Harris County (where Houston in located) puts more people to death than any other state in the U.S. (besides Texas, of course). So what did the study find? Well, besides echoing Read More

We like to think of Christopher Hitchens as our surly, crotchety uncle. You know, if our uncle were a chain-smoking, ruddy-faced Englishman with a penchant for hyperbole and who was constitutionally incapable of being nice. In Crusty Uncle Chris’s latest diatribe, he argues that no one should be surprised at Bill Clinton’s playing the race Read More

It was mostly symbolic: New Jersey hasn’t actually executed someone it’s sentenced to death in more than forty years. But its decision to repeal the death penalty last week was still a seismic political event. The decision emboldened anti-death penalty lawmakers in other states like Nebraska and Maryland. (Four other states where the death penalty Read More

With Hillary’s stumbling Tuesday night, Obama had the chance to wow the crowds and make up some lost ground in the polls. And…well, he didn’t. Obama is a homerun hitter; he’s capable of delivering towering, inspirational speeches to large crowds that can create the feel of a church revival. But Tuesday’s debate format didn’t really Read More