Death Penaly - Captial Punishment

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Sociology > Criminal Justice > Death Penalty

Gov. George Ryan of Illinois Clears Death Row (January 2003)
Illinois Commission on Capital Punishment - (dead link)
Commission created by then Governor George Ryan
Includes: Executive Order ; Commission Members ; Commission Report

Ryan's Speeches

  • Northwest University Law School - (dead link) (January 11, 2003)
    - From CNN
  • Depaul University College of Law (January 10, 2003
    Includes photos and text of the speech

Atkins v. Virginia (Decided June 20, 2002)
Supreme Court ruling that the mentally retarded cannot be put to death.
Includes: Opinion ; Dissent 1 ; Dissent 2.

Cornell Death Penalty Project
Sections include: Recent Events ; Clinical Cases ; Capital Jury Project ; Legal Research ; Scholarly Articles ; Links.
Cornell Law School

Death Penalty Information Center (English or Spanish)
" a non-profit organization serving the media and the public with analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment. The Center was founded in 1990 and prepares in-depth reports, issues press releases, conducts briefings for journalists, and serves as a resource to those working on this issue."

Death Penalty Statistics - (dead link)
"These sites provide detailed information on executions, death row populations, jurisdictions authorizing capital punishment, capital offenses, Supreme Court death penalty cases, changes in state statutes, and other information."
- University of Alaska, Anchorage - Justice Center

The Execution Tapes
" an hour-long public radio special hosted by Ray Suarez featuring excerpts of recordings made in Georgia's death house during state electrocutions. This broadcast is the first time a national audience is able to hear what takes place during a state-sponsored execution."
From Sound Portraits

[Green River Killer - Gary Ridgway] Law Center - Ridgway Case
"Ridgway Confesses to 48 Killings in Green River Case" - Nov. 5, 2003
Includes: Video of Prosecutor Jeff Baird reading statement in court by Ridgway confessing to killing 48 women ; Legal Documents ; Ridgway's Statement.

[Green River Killer - Gary Ridgway] Green River Killings
"The Green River Killer is blamed for the slaying of 49 women between 1982 and 1984 in the greater Seattle area...On Friday, Nov. 30, 2001, Gary Leon Ridgway was arrested as a suspect in four of the killings..."
Sections include: Background Information ; Map ; Green River Victims ; Related Cases ; Suspect ; Charges ; Probable Cause ; The Victims [four women linked to Ridgway] ; DNA Evidence.
- Seattle Post-Intelligencer Special Report

[Green River Killer - Gary Ridgway] Seattle Times - Green River Killings
"Green River killer Gary Ridgway pleaded guilty Nov. 5, 2003, to the murders of 48 women from 1982 to 1998, bringing to an end the largest unsolved murder case in the country."
Sections include: About the Case: The Victims ; Timeline ; Digging for Evidence ; Where Victims were Found ; Area of Disappearances ; Legal Documents: Summary ; Plea Agreement ; Second Amendment ; Statement of Defendant.

[Green River Killer - Gary Ridgway] - - River of Death - (dead link)
"The Green River Killer may be the worst serial murderer in U.S. history. It's one cop's mission to stop him."
By Terry McCarthy
From the January 03, 2002 issues of Time Magazine

Human Rights Watch Reports

Library of Congress - The Harry A. Blackmun Papers
"Harry A. Blackmun (1908-1999) was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1970 by President Richard Nixon, and he served until his retirement in 1994 at the age of 85."
Online sections include: Oral History Videos and Transcripts ; Case Material Highlights ; Finding Aids ; Selected Bibliography.

LLRX Court Rules, Forms & Dockets
"This site includes links to over 700 sources for state and federal court rules, forms and dockets. You can browse to find the resource you need, or search by keyword.

National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP)
"...provides information, advocates for public policy, and mobilizes and supports individuals and institutions that share our unconditional rejection of capital punishment."
Sections include: Facts & Stats ; Juvenile Campaign ; Press Releases ; In the News ; Domestic Alerts ; Int'l Action ; Affiliate Links ; Directories.

PBS - Frontline - Requiem for Frank Lee Smith
"How did he end up on death row for a crime he didn't commit? And why did he die there, despite possible evidence of his innocence?"
Sections include: 8 Things to Know About This Case ; Taking a Closer Look ; Frank Lee Smith's Long Hard Life ; The Bitter Aftertaste of Justice ; Video Excerpt ; Readings & Links.

Punishment and the Death Penalty
Selected Internet Resources on Punishment and the Death Penalty
"There are a number of helpful types of resources available on the web that relate to punishment in general and capital punishment in particular. These include links to court decisions, legislation, statistical information, and information about particular sites."
By Lawrence M. Hinman, University of San Diego
- From Ethics Updates

U.S. Department of Justice

Report from Questia Online Library (paid sponsor)

1 Overview
The Present Status of the Abolitionist Movement

Despite the fact that the movement to abolish the death penalty got under-way in the mid-nineteenth century, by 1965 when Norval Morris reported to the United Nations, only 12 countries (plus a few constituent states) had completely abolished it, and a further 11 countries had abolished it for ordinary crimes in peacetime. Since then the abolitionist position has been embraced by an ever increasing number of countries.

Any review of the situation with regard to the abolition of the death penalty on a world-wide basis over the last thirty years is complicated by the fact that, during this period, the political map of the world has changed considerably. In particular, many newly independent states have emerged, some of them, of course, being fragmentary parts of formerly unified states. During the thirty years since 1965, 58 countries have abolished capital punishment: 46 of them absolutely for all crimes, and 12 of them for 'ordinary crimes'. Several of these countries had been, at the time they abolished the death penalty, abolitionist de facto, meaning that they had not executed anybody for at least ten years.

The pace of change towards abolition has further increased in the six years since the first edition of this survey was published in 1989. Since then, 25 countries have abolished capital punishment, 23 for all crimes, whether in peacetime or in war. In comparison, 35 countries abolished the death penalty (25 absolutely and 10 for ordinary crimes) in the 23 years between the survey undertaken for the United Nations by Norval Morris, and that carried out in 1988 for the first edition of this report. In other words, the annual average rate at which countries have abolished the death penalty has increased from 1.5 to 4 per year, or nearly three times as many. A list of all abolitionist and retentionist countries with the date of abolition and of the last execution, in those which are abolitionist or abolitionist de facto, can be found in Appendix 1.

Amongst the retentionist states, at least 30 have not executed anybody during the last ten years, and often far longer. Thirteen of these countries have reached this abolitionist de facto status only since 1989. However, 10 countries which had been previously considered de facto abolitionist moved in the opposite direction by resuming executions and were still considered to be retentionist in 1995. Three more countries, and two states of the United States of America, which had abolished the death penalty, re-instated it, although none of them have yet carried out any executions.

Although the world-wide movement towards abolition has proceeded at an increasing pace, it has to be recognized that this has not occurred evenly across the globe. Many of the recent abolitionist states are in Africa south of the Sahara, with some in Asia--regions where very few countries were abolitionist six years ago. On the other hand, there has been a marked resistance to appeals for change, indeed official support for capital punishment, in various parts of the world. Furthermore, the creation of 15 independent states, all but one of them retaining the death penalty, within the boundaries of the former Soviet Union, inevitably distorts any comparisons between 1988 and 1995.

By the end of December 1995 there were 58 totally abolitionist countries, 14 abolitionist for ordinary crimes, 30 abolitionist de facto, and 90 still retentionist (see Appendix 1). Bearing in mind that the countries are not necessarily the same in 1988 as they were in 1995.

Even though, by the end of 1995, less than a third of all separate political entities had completely abolished the death penalty de jure, more than half had abolished it either in law or in practice.

Of great significance has been the adoption of protocols to conventions on human, civil, and political rights which endorse the abolition of the death penalty as an international goal. In December 1982 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted Protocol No. 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), article 1 of which provides for the abolition of the death penalty in peacetime. Article 2, however, does allow a state to make provision in its law for the death penalty in time of war or of imminent threat of war. Seven years later, in December 1989, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 1 of the Optional Protocol states: 'No one within the jurisdiction of a State party to the present Optional Protocol shall be executed'. Although article 2, like the Sixth Protocol to the ECHR, allows a reservation to be made 'which provides for the application of the death penalty in time of war pursuant to a conviction for a most serious crime of a military nature committed during wartime', the reservation can only be made at the time of ratification or accession. In June 1990, the General Assembly of the Organisation of American States adopted the Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty (ACHR). Article 1 calls upon states to abstain from the use of the death penalty, but does not impose an obligation on them to erase it from the statute book. Thus de facto abolitionist countries may also ratify the Protocol. None of these instruments, of course, fully endorse the complete abolition of the death penalty.

However, a significant move was made in this direction when, in 1994, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recommended that a further Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights should be established. This would provide for the complete abolition of the death penalty with no possibility of reservations being entered for its retention in any special circumstances. In addition, the Assembly resolved that 'the willingness to ratify the [Sixth Protocol] be made a prerequisite for membership of the Council of Europe'. The importance of these international developments is discussed further in paras 87-89 below.

Maintained by Mike Madin.
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