October 27, 2005
STANLEY "TOOKIE" WILLIAMS is a charismatic symbol of what's wrong with the death penalty -- and of what's wrong with the debate about the death penalty. His story of sin and redemption powerfully illustrates the unfairness of capital punishment. But to argue that capital punishment is unjust for some defendants is to concede that it may be acceptable for others. The reason to oppose capital punishment has to do with who we are, not who death row inmates are.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 16, 1996
Re " 'Freeway Killer' May Finally Face Execution," Jan. 6: I am outraged that you would elect to report that despite 14 years on death row his lawyer says that William Bonin "is concerned but his spirits are good." As a member of the 1981 grand jury that handed down a murder indictment on Bonin, I have a clear recall of his testimony. The murder involved a young boy of about 12 who was planning a trip to Disneyland on his birthday. He came to the home of his sister who lived across town to collect some unused tickets, which were used for Disneyland rides in those days.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 2, 2001
Convicted killer Justin Merriman will become the 12th man sent to death row from Ventura County since the death penalty was reinstated in California in 1978. Here is a look at the other men and their crimes: * Kenneth McKinzie was convicted in 1999 for strangling 73-year-old Ruth Avril during a botched robbery at her Oxnard apartment building Dec. 21, 1995.
May 8, 2007 |
LAST MONTH, the state of Texas executed James Lee Clark, a plumber's assistant who raped and killed a teenage girl. Clark's lawyers argued in vain that their client, a high school dropout with a low IQ, should have been spared because of his mental impairment. Within hours of Clark's death, California's highest court spared Jorge Junior Vidal from a possible death penalty trial in the torture and murder of a teenager because he is mentally retarded. Five years ago this June, the U.S.
March 30, 2011 |
A bitterly divided Supreme Court on Tuesday tossed out a jury verdict won by a New Orleans man who spent 14 years on death row and came within weeks of execution because prosecutors had hidden a blood test and other evidence that would have proven his innocence. The 5-4 decision delivered by Justice Clarence Thomas shielded the New Orleans district attorney's office from being held liable for the mistakes of its prosecutors. The evidence of their misconduct did not prove "deliberate indifference" on the part of then-Dist.
April 8, 2014 |
It's hard to get executions right. This week, the Supreme Court denied appeals by Louisiana and Missouri death row inmates who argued that they were entitled to know the source of the drugs with which they are to be executed, and that denial of that information compromises their right to due process. It's unclear why the court refused to hear the cases, but the underlying argument remains potent. Another challenge is underway in Oklahoma, where two inmates are seeking stays of execution because state officials have revised protocols on the fly as the lethal drugs they usually use have become more difficult to obtain.
December 24, 2010 |
It's not that difficult to find the heart of this small east Texas city with wide-open spaces and lanky pine trees that breach the pale blue sky. Cruise past the 67-foot statue of Sam Houston (who's buried here), the town square and the plantation-style homes with the porches that wrap all the way around. Turn on to Avenue I, and there it stands: high, red brick walls the color of a schoolhouse. Inside are cramped cinderblock cells, inmates, guards and ? what put Huntsville on the map ?
March 12, 1999 |
A judge dismissed murder charges against a man who spent nearly 17 years on death row before Northwestern University student journalists helped gather evidence to clear him. Since Anthony Porter's release Feb. 5, key witnesses have recanted their testimony and Alstory Simon of Milwaukee was videotaped admitting to the 1982 shooting deaths of two teenagers in Chicago.
October 23, 2002 |
Gov. George Ryan said he has "pretty much ruled out" granting blanket clemency to Illinois' death row inmates. As Ryan spoke in Springfield, the state's Prisoner Review Board was in its second week of clemency hearings for 142 of the 160 inmates on death row. The board was flooded with clemency petitions after the governor said he might commute all death sentences to life without parole. Ryan said his main concern is to make sure no innocent person is executed.