Marking the anniversary of Furman v. Georgia: 44 years later, the death penalty remains “arbitrary, capricious, and discriminatory”

Today, June 29, marks the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Furman vs. Georgia (1972), which overturned all existing death penalty laws in effect at the time.  In Furman, the Justices ruled that the death penalty system, as it was being administered, was arbitrary, capricious, and discriminatory.  Justice Potter Stewart said death sentences were as cruel […]

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U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case of Duane Buck Involving Racial Bias

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Buck v. Stephens, a Texas death penalty case raising extraordinary issues of racial bias. Duane Buck was condemned to death in 1997 in Harris County after his own trial attorneys inexplicably introduced testimony from a psychologist who stated that Buck was more likely to be dangerous in the future because he is Black.

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Attorneys for Scott Panetti appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

Citing trends which demonstrate an emerging consensus against the use of capital punishment against people with severe mental illness, attorneys for Mr. Panetti today filed for a stay of execution at the U.S. Supreme Court, with a petition for a writ of certiorari challenging the constitutionality of Mr. Panetti’s execution. Mr. Panetti was diagnosed with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder decades before the crime for which he is scheduled to be executed this Wednesday, December 3rd, in Texas.

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Retired Judges Support Appeal of Rodney Reed

On July 21, 2014, eight retired federal and state judges petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to accept an appeal from Rodney Reed, who is scheduled to be executed on January 14, 2015. Among them are Royal Ferguson of Texas, a retired federal judge appointed by President Bill Clinton, and Judge Charles Baird, who served eight years on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and four years as a state district judge in Austin.

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