Death Penalty

Maurice Possley 8-30-2017

While there still have been no executions in California since 2006 — largely due to a court battle over lethal injection drug protocols — that could change if the state’s proposed single-drug method for lethal injection passes legal muster. More than 15 of the state’s death row inmates have exhausted all of their appeals, so if it does, prosecutors undoubtedly will be asking judges to set immediate execution dates.

Menachem Wecker 8-08-2017

Madrid Museo Nacional del Prado's Goya galleries, including "The Second of May" and "The Third of May." Courtesy of the Prado.

More than 50 years later, California still lists lethal gas as a legal execution means. So do five other states: Arizona, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, although Mississippi and Oklahoma, which use nitrogen hypoxia, don’t use that term. (More on that below). I learned this as I searched on my phone standing in front of John Singer Sargent’s monumental 1919 painting “Gassed,” which is on display in the New-York Historical Society’s exhibition “W​orld War I Beyond the Trenches” (through Sept. 3).

the Web Editors 6-30-2017

Image via JP Keenan/ Sojourners 

When will the killing end? Why does the government, 31 states and the U.S. Supreme Court, sanction the killing of people who kill to show that killing is wrong? Some 140 countries, including the European Union, and 19 states in the U.S., no longer practice the death penalty. On Jan. 17, 2017, we, 12, along with many others, went to the Supreme Court, the highest Court in the land, to call on the Court and the nation to stop executions.

Image via Adelle M. Banks/ RNS 

“The Church has both the unique ability and unparalleled capacity to confront the staggering crisis of crime and incarceration in America,” the declaration reads, “and to respond with restorative solutions for communities, victims, and individuals responsible for crime.”

the Web Editors 6-13-2017

Image via bakdc/Shutterstock.com

On June 9, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted Adam Purinton, a white man from Kansas, with hate charges for allegedly shooting three men. Two of the men were Indian nationals, and one died of his wounds. According to the Kansas City Star, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, the Indian national who was fatally shot, worked at the company Garmin’s Olathe, Kansas location as an engineer, alongside fellow engineer Alok Madasani, the second Indian national who was shot.

Deena Guzder 5-24-2017

Image used with permission from Mitchell McCoy / KARK.

Griffen is still flummoxed how a ruling on a routine property case coupled with participation in his church’s Good Friday prayer vigil put him in the eye of a political storm — one that may now cost him his job. But he suspects the issue goes deeper than whether or not he impartially followed the law.

Karen Clifton 5-08-2017

Image via RNS/Arkansas Department of Corrections

You might think these men were sentenced to death and slated for execution simply because of the gravity of their crimes. You’d be wrong.

There is something beyond the terrible crimes that determined their fates even more so: poverty. The death penalty preys on poor and vulnerable populations.

Bobby Ross Jr. 5-03-2017

Image via RNS/Bobby Ross Jr.

“Many of the findings of the commission’s year-long investigation were disturbing, and led commission members to question whether the death penalty can be administered in a way that ensures no innocent person is put to death,” according to the in-depth report.

On the Monday after Easter, as the state of Arkansas fought a stay of execution for seven prisoners in order to put them to death, I meditated on a simple truth: When people are executed, Christ is crucified all over again.

Jack Jones (left) and Marcel Williams, image courtesy Arkansas Department of Corrections/Handout via REUTERS

Arkansas carried out back-to-back executions on Monday night, administering lethal injections to two men convicted of rape and murder to become the first U.S. state to put more than one inmate to death on the same day in 17 years. Marcel Williams, 46, was pronounced dead at 10:33 CDT, a little more than three hours after the execution of 52-year-old Jack Jones, according to officials at Cummins Unit prison, about 75 miles southeast of the state capital, Little Rock.


Inmates Bruce Ward(top row L to R), Don Davis, Ledell Lee, Stacy Johnson, Jack Jones (bottom row L to R), Marcel Williams, Kenneth Williams and Jason Mcgehee are shown in these booking photo provided March 21, 2017. Courtesy Arkansas Department of Corrections/Handout via REUTERS
 

Arkansas, which has not conducted an execution in 12 years, at one point had planned to execute eight inmates in 11 days, the most of any state in as short a period since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

the Web Editors 4-18-2017

Image via Rainier Martin Ampongan / Shutterstock 
 

Rutledge claims that nothing is in place preventing the next five executions, according to the AP. She says she will continue to fight against any legal challenges hindering the executions.

the Web Editors 4-15-2017

Inmates Bruce Ward(top row L to R), Don Davis, Ledell Lee, Stacy Johnson, Jack Jones (bottom row L to R), Marcel Williams, Kenneth Williams, and Jason Mcgehee. Scheduled to be executed in Arkansas, beginning April 17. Courtesy Arkansas Department of Corrections/Handout via REUTERS

A U.S. judge in Little Rock on Saturday temporarily blocked plans by Arkansas to hold a rapid series of executions this month, after the inmates argued the state's rush to the death chamber was unconstitutional and reckless.

Brian McLaren 4-07-2017

Image via RNS 

Indeed, a comprehensive analysis of deterrence studies by the National Academy of Sciences found no evidence that the death penalty impacts murder rates in either direction. Ayala emphasized that her office pursues evidence-based practices, not policies such as the death penalty whose deterrent effect rests on faith alone.

Inmates Bruce Ward(top row L to R), Don Davis, Ledell Lee, Stacy Johnson, Jack Jones (bottom row L to R), Marcel Williams, Kenneth Williams, and Jason Mcgehee. Scheduled to be executed in Arkansas, beginning April 17. Courtesy Arkansas Department of Corrections/Handout via REUTERS

The last time a U.S. state tried to execute two inmates on the same day, a poorly secured intravenous tube popped out, lethal injection chemicals sprayed in the death chamber, and staff said the pressure of dual executions exposed flaws in the protocol. That scenario in 2014 in Oklahoma, where executions are now on hold, has not stopped Arkansas from pursuing an unprecedented plan to put eight inmates to death in back-to-back lethal injections on four days this month.

Shane Claiborne 3-03-2017

Shane Claiborne and others are arrested on the steps on the Supreme Court, Feb. 2017

Law enforcement shackled us with chains on our hands, waist, and feet, and held us in jail for more than 30 hours. While we were there, the government that imprisoned us for holding a banner executed Ricky Gray. It does raise the question of what is right and what is wrong, doesn’t it?

Tobias Winright 1-30-2017

Image via Missouri Department of Corrections

As ​a ​Catholic ​moral ​theologian​ (and a former corrections officer and reserve police officer)​, ​I​ urge you to stay Mark Christeson’s execution, scheduled for Jan. 31. There are still ongoing federal appeals concerning Christeson’s right to representation by competent and adequately funded counsel.

Shane Claiborne 1-25-2017

Photo by JP Keenan/Sojourners

They removed all the black folks from the pool of potential jurors.

In the trial of a black man convicted of killing two white folks.

Not in 1950 ... but in 2002.

Dhanya Addanki 1-17-2017

Photo by JP Keenan / Sojourners

“We are standing with families who have had their loved ones murdered and families who have had their loved ones executed or put on death row,” said Shane Claiborne, co-director of the Red Letter Christians, who was arrested during the protest.

“Violence is a disease not the cure,” he continued, “as families themselves say, remember our loved ones but not with more killing. That’s our message today.”

Shane Claiborne 1-12-2017

We march on Jan. 17 because it is the 40th anniversary of the first "modern-era" execution, after our courts ruled in favor of the death penalty following a decade-long moratorium. On that day, Gary Gilmore was executed by firing squad in Utah in revenge for his murders of Max Jenson and Ben Bushnell. Since then there have been 1,442 other executions. We will hold 40 signs, one for each year since 1977, with the names of those executed each year. We will also carry roses for the victims — both those who have been murdered and those who have been executed — declaring that violence is the disease … not the cure.

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