McClatchy News Service
Read Stephen Henderson's full series on death penalty defense, "No Defense: Shortcut to Death Row."
"Revenge Begins to Seem Less Sweet," The Economist, 08/30/2007
Citing concerns over a flawed system that may execute innocents and an increasing discomfort with the "cruel and unusual punishment" of state-sanctioned lethal injections, The Economist reports that Americans – with the exception of Texans -- are apparently "losing their appetite for the death penalty."
"Racial Disagreement Over Death Penalty Has Varied Historically," The Gallup Poll, 07/30/07
For at least 35 years, Gallup polling has found whites to be more supportive than blacks of the death penalty. But numbers also indicate that support for the death penalty among both groups has waxed and waned over the years.
"Death Row's IQ Divide," Los Angeles Times, 05/08/07
An editorial by Sara Catania, a contributing writer for Mother Jones, raises the question: how low should IQ be to spare capital punishment? Without specific Supreme Court rulings, Catania points out, the law changes from state to state -- and so does the convicts' destiny.
DEATH PENALTY & THE LAW
United States Supreme Court
As the highest court in the United States, the Supreme Court leads the judicial branch of the U.S. federal government.
United States Department of Justice
Facts, data and statistics on capital punishment.
Death Penalty Information Center
The Death Penalty Information Center is a non-profit organization serving the media and the public with analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment. Among its many resources is "Capital Punishment in Context," an online curriculum supplement that looks at two actual capital cases, providing educators and students with narrative summaries, links to relevant Supreme Court decisions, video interviews with key figures in the cases, and other primary and secondary sources.
American Bar Association – Death Penalty Representation Project
Created in 1986 by the ABA, this project aims to raise awareness about "the lack of representation available to death row inmates, offering pro bono attorneys training and assistance in capital cases, and working for systemic changes in the criminal justice system to ensure that those facing the death penalty are represented at all stages of the proceedings by qualified, adequately compensated counsel." Since 1997, the ABA, while not taking a position against the death penalty, has called for a moratorium on executions, citing systemic problems and a lack of fairness in the application of the death penalty in the United States.
American Civil Liberties Union
The ACLU is an organization dedicated to preserving individual rights; it ranks among its stated goals the abolition of the death penalty, seeing it as "the ultimate denial of civil liberties." An ACLU report on prison conditions on Mississippi's death row inspired Henderson to look into Ronnie Lee Conner's Case.
Virginia Fair Trial Project
The Virginia Fair Trial Project is a non-profit that works to improve the quality of defense for indigent clients.
Georgia Capital Defenders
Featured in EXPOSÉ, Georgia Capital Defenders is the state-funded office created in 2005 to defend death row inmates, an apparently promising development in indigent defense. On August 31, 2007, the head of Georgia's Capital Defenders Office resigned, citing funding shortfalls that were compromising his office's ability to defend death row clients.
The Spangenberg Group
The Spangenberg Group is a criminal justice research and consulting firm that specializes in improving justice systems, with particular expertise in indigent defense; over the past 15 years, it has conducted empirical research in all fifty states. Its findings on indigent defense in Georgia and the inherent problems in its county-funded structure lead the state to fund the Georgia Capital Defenders office.