States grapple with restitution for the wrongfully convicted

Glen Edward Chapman’s story is repeated across the country.

COLORADO SPRINGS — Robert Dewey spent almost 18 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Now he spends his time waiting. Waiting for food stamps, or his monthly $698 disability check. Swallowing painkillers and waiting for his wrenched back to stop aching. Waiting for the state to repay him for lost time.

…. Colorado is one of 23 states that have no system to compensate the wrongfully convicted. It does not provide a formal network of counseling, education or other assistance, which advocacy groups like the Innocence Project say aggravates an already difficult and meager transition back to civilian life.

To read the rest, click here.


Former executioner changes sides

Jerry Givens executed 62 people.

His routine and conviction never wavered. He’d shave the person’s head, lay his hand on the bald pate and ask for God’s forgiveness for the condemned. Then, he would strap the person into Virginia’s electric chair.

Read the rest of the story here.

Prosecuting the prosecutor

This is the prosecutor who put Michael Morton in a Texas prison for 25 years by suppressing evidence. Here’s a story by Joe Nocera, from The New York Times.



In just about a month from now, Texas will witness a rare event: a former prosecutor is going to be held to account for alleged prosecutorial misconduct.

He is Ken Anderson, who for nearly 17 years was the district attorney in Williamson County, a fast-growing suburb of Austin. (In 2002, Gov. Rick Perry made him a district judge.) As Pamela Colloff writes, in a brilliant two-part series in Texas Monthly, Anderson was the kind of prosecutor who “routinely asked for, and won, harsh sentences and fought to keep offenders in prison long after they became eligible for parole.”


(This is the famous case in which a bloody bandana was found near the scene, but its existence was hidden for years.)

Later in the NYT story we read:

In truth, Anderson isn’t the only Williamson County prosecutor who faced consequences as a result of the Morton case. His successor, John Bradley, was the one who had fought for years against the DNA testing of the bandana. Seven months after Morton was set free, Bradley, who had always been a shoo-in for re-election as district attorney, was resoundingly defeated.

To read the rest of the story, click here.

Another innocent man finally freed

Damon A. Thibodeaux,  who spent 15 years on death row for a murder he did not commit was released Friday from prison in an exoneration brought about by the Innocence Project.

Read the rest of the story here.

Great coverage of Ed Chapman’s story

Glen Edward Chapman, or “Ed,” was exonerated in 2008 after spending 15 years on death row for crimes he did not commit. Though North Carolina is one of the 27 states with statutes that provide some level of compensation for the wrongfully convicted, the state continues to refuse Chapman any compensation for the loss of his freedom, reputation, family, friends and much more.

Click here for the full story.

RJA saves a life

Those of you involved in advocating for the passage of the NC Racial Justice Act in 2010 can take heart! The first case to be tested under its auspices has resulted in commutation to life without parole.

Read the story here.

Fourth Annual Freedom Ball!

Judge overturns 1991 murder conviction, death sentence

WILMINGTON – The second-longest serving inmate on Delaware’s death row may be freed on bail as soon as next week.

At a hearing that left prosecutors speechless today, Superior Court Judge John A. Parkins overturned the conviction and death sentence against Jermaine Marlow Wright for the 1991 slaying of liquor store clerk Phillip Seifert. To read the full story, click here.

Michael Moore on OWS and the murder of Troy Davis.

Here’s a segment from Keith Olbermann interview with Michael Moore.

Benin closer to abolishing the death penalty

Amnesty International Report

19 August 2011

Benin has taken an important step towards abolishing the death penalty after the country’s National Assembly yesterday voted in favour of ratifying an international treaty banning capital punishment.

Benin would be the 74th state worldwide to join the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which calls for the death penalty to be abolished.

Read the full story here.