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Death Penalty Topics

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Since 1996, Democracy Now! has closely followed the national debate over capital punishment in the United States. See our interviews with key scholars, journalists and activists over the years. We have covered extensively the death row cases of Troy Davis and Mumia Abu-Jamal.

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  • Scotus
    After historic rulings that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide and upheld a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, this week the Supreme Court handed down its final rulings for the current term, dealing with abortion access, air pollution, executions and elections. We examine the decisions and look at pending rulings on affirmative action and union dues with Ian Millhiser, editor of ThinkProgress Justice and author of "Injustices:...
    July 01, 2015 | Story
  • Dzhokhar-tsarnaev-boston-marathon-bombing-death-sentence-2
    Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been formally sentenced to death for his role in the attack that killed three and injured hundreds in 2013. Addressing survivors inside the courtroom, Tsarnaev apologized for the first time, saying in part: "I am sorry for the lives that I’ve taken, for the suffering that I’ve caused you, for the damage that I’ve done." Some of the bombing’s survivors have echoed a...
    June 25, 2015 | Story
  • Boston-bombing-dzhokhar-tsarnaev-death-penalty-protest-1
    A federal jury has sentenced 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death by lethal injection for setting off bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon that killed three and injured more than 260. The sentence was issued in Massachusetts, a state which has banned the death penalty since 1987 and has not carried out an execution since 1947. Polls show 85 percent of Bostonians oppose the death penalty for Tsarnaev, as well as 80 percent of Massachusetts...
    May 18, 2015 | Story
  • Robert-jay-lifton-witness-extreme-century-3
    For the past five decades, eminent psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton has written extensively on the psychological dimensions of war, from the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, to doctors who aided Nazi crimes, to nuclear war. In 1967, Lifton won a National Book Award for his work, "Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima." In 1970, he would testify before a Senate committee about the Vietnam War, warning about the need to help rehumanize...
    May 07, 2015 | Story
  • Glenn-ford-1
    In Louisiana, former prosecutor Marty Stroud has met with former death row prisoner Glenn Ford to apologize to him for wrongfully charging him with murder. After 30 years in prison, Ford was released from death row last year after the state admitted new evidence proves he was not the killer. Stroud recently wrote a three-page letter in the Shreveport Times calling on the state to stop refusing to compensate Ford, who now has stage 4 lung...
    April 17, 2015 | Story
  • Column_default
    By Amy Goodman with Denis Moynihan — A jury in Boston has returned a guilty verdict on all 30 counts against the Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Now the jury must deliberate on the punishment, which could be either life in prison or death. Capital punishment is outlawed in Massachusetts, but Tsarnaev was tried in federal court, where the death penalty is allowed. The case provides a new reason to take a hard look at capital...
    April 09, 2015 | Columns & Articles
  • Dzhokhar-tsarnaev-trial-boston-bombings
    A federal jury has found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty on all 30 charges for his role in the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and injured hundreds two years ago this month. Tsarnaev was also convicted in the murder of a police officer in the ensuing days. During the trial, Tsarnaev’s defense attorneys admitted he joined his older brother, Tamerlan, in setting off two explosions. The jury will now choose between the death penalty and...
    April 09, 2015 | Story
  • Anthonyrayhintonimage
    Days after being exonerated and freed from an Alabama prison, Anthony Ray Hinton recounts how he got through nearly 30 years on death row as an innocent man. Hinton was convicted of murdering two fast-food managers in separate robberies in 1985, based on scant evidence that later turned out to be false. Hinton is said to be among the longest-serving death row prisoners ever to be freed after presenting evidence of innocence. Hinton joins us...
    April 06, 2015 | Story
  • Glennfordimage
    After three decades on death row in Louisiana, Glenn Ford was freed in March 2014 based on new evidence clearing him of the 1983 fatal shooting a jewelry store owner. Ford is African-American and was tried by an all-white jury. In 2000, the Louisiana Supreme Court ordered an evidentiary hearing on Ford’s claim that the prosecution suppressed favorable evidence related to two brothers initially implicated in the crime. Then in 2013, an...
    April 06, 2015 | Story
  • Lethal-injection-death-penalty
    A leading association for pharmacists in the United States has instructed its members to stop providing drugs for use in lethal injections, a change that could make carrying out executions even more difficult for death penalty states. Late last month, delegates of the American Pharmacists Association approved a declaration saying the organization "discourages pharmacist participation in executions on the basis that such activities are...
    April 06, 2015 | Story