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SW Online's ongoing coverage and analysis
Capital punishment and the injustice system



 

SUBJECTS BELOW:
Inside the execution machine
The criminal injustice system
The execution of Stan Tookie Williams
The struggle in Illinois

LATEST NEWS AND ANALYSIS

Federal court denies new trial for Mumia
Mumia Abu-Jamal suffered a setback in his struggle for justice when a federal court upheld his murder conviction and refused him a new trial.

Justice denied again for Troy Davis
The Georgia Supreme Court isn't going to let the truth stop the state from executing an innocent man.

Casualties of "tough on crime"
The number of Americans behind bars is equal to the combined populations of Atlanta, Miami, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Kansas City and Pittsburgh.


INSIDE THE EXECUTION MACHINE

Will abolitionist victory in N.J. spread?
Gov. Jon Corzine signed legislation in December 17, 2007 making New Jersey the fourteenth state without the death penalty.

Execution machine switched off
The machinery of death in the U.S. has been halted while the U.S. Supreme Court decides on a case in which the constitutionality of lethal injection is at stake.

A letter from Kenneth Foster:
We touched the world
A former Texas death row prisoner, saved from execution hours before he was to be put to death, writes to express his thanks to activists who organized to save his life.

Victory in Texas
In an inspiring victory for the anti-death penalty struggle, Kenneth Foster Jr. won clemency August 30, hours before he was scheduled to be executed in Texas' death chamber.

How we dented the Lone Star State's armor
Following the lead of Kenneth himself, activists set out to make Texas, the nation and the world aware that a man was about to be executed even though he had killed no one.

Kenneth Foster speaks out from death row:
Struggling to survive the Texas death machine
Facing an execution date of August 30, Kenneth Foster answers SW's questions about the travesties that landed him on death row, and his struggle to survive the execution machine.

Pardoned death row prisoner Stanley Howard:
The legal lynchings that still go on today
A former condemned prisoner on the latest developments in the battle against the death penalty.

Is the tide turning on the death penalty?
Following a series of court rulings and decisions by governors, the death penalty is on hold or not used in more than half of U.S. states.

Lethal injection under scrutiny
Tortured in the death chamber
The execution system was halted in December in three states that account for almost a third of prisoners awaiting the sentence of death.

Prisoners organize against barbaric conditions
Texas death row: Cruel and unusual
The horrific suicide of a Texas death row prisoner hours before his scheduled execution highlights the cruelty of a system that prisoners are organizing against from on death row.

Texas plans to execute a beautiful young man
Don't let them kill Justin
My friend Justin Fuller is scheduled to be executed on August 24. He is a smart, generous and beautiful young man.

Evidence of terrible injustice in Texas
Executed and proven innocent?
Cameron Todd Willingham was executed by the state of Texas in 2004, for a crime that he always said--and that the Innocence Project now says it can prove--he did not commit.

Evidence at new hearing shows how Rodney Reed was...
Railroaded onto Texas death row
Almost a decade after Stacy Stites was found murdered, the small Texas town of Bastrop is being shaken again by evidence suggesting that the person convicted of her murder is innocent.

Vernon Evans' execution halted in Maryland
Maryland death row prisoner Vernon Evans won a reprieve hours before he was scheduled to be put to death, in a resounding victory for anti-death penalty activists.

The state of Texas executes an innocent woman
We won't forget Frances
The state of Texas went forward with the state-sanctioned murder of Frances Newton, despite new and already existing evidence of her innocence.

The fight for Kevin Cooper
Socialist Worker looks at how the struggle that stopped the state of California from executing Kevin Cooper was organized.

Kevin Cooper: "Ritual of Death"

The execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg
It is 50 years since the execution of the Rosenbergs--a cold-blooded murder committed by the U.S. government in the name of the Cold War fight against communism.

Interview with the Rosenbergs' son Robert Meeropol:
"What we need to do is speak out"


THE CRIMINAL INJUSTICE SYSTEM

"Blacks don't stand a chance in Jena"
Louisiana teenager Mychal Bell was convicted last week in a case that should be sparking outrage around the country about the racism of America's injustice system.

Double standards of North Carolina "justice"
The public repudiation of prosecutor Mike Nifong for his part in the Duke lacrosse rape case had nothing to do with concern for due process or the rights of the accused.

Anger erupts at conditions in a for-profit prison
The consequences of the for-profit prison industry became all too clear in Indiana when a riot broke out among prisoners at the medium-security New Castle Correctional Facility.

Why the U.S. locks up more people than any other country
Incarceration nation
We are often told that the U.S. is the "freest" nation on the planet. But to judge from the U.S. prison system, the exact opposite is the case.

Why has Gary Tyler spent three decades behind bars?
Miscarriage of justice
The case of Gary Tyler--one of the great travesties of justice of our time--is back in the national spotlight after a series of articles by New York Times columnist Bob Herbert.

Boiling anger at the NYPD
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets December 16 to protest the NYPD murder of Sean Bell, only hours before he was supposed to be married on November 25.

Will the real story finally come out?
Chicago police torture exposed
A special prosecutor has spent the last four years investigating a police torture ring that terrorized nearly 200 Black men in Chicago. But his report has still not seen the light of day.

Why is Santos Reyes facing 26 years to life in prison?
A "three-strikes" injustice
Santos Reyes could spend the rest of his life in a California prison. His crime? He took the written portion of a driver's license test for his cousin, to help him qualify for a license.

Consequences of New York's Rockefeller drug laws
Rotting away in prison
Anthony Papa, a victim of the Rockefeller drug laws, author and activist, describes the injustices of New York's mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders--and the movement to change them.

The crime of mandatory minimums
During the decades-long hysterics about drugs, politicians introduced "mandatory minimum" sentences. The result? Countless lives wasted, families torn apart and jails filled to the bursting point.

The rich get richer and the poor get prison
Bush & Co. claim that they're getting tough on corporate crime. But as thsi Socialist Worker special feature shows, there is a shocking difference in punishment for crime in the streets versus crime in the suites.


THE EXECUTION OF STAN TOOKIE WILLIAMS

Watching state-sponsored torture at San Quentin
Witness to an execution
Barbara Becnel, advocate, coauthor and editor for Stan Tookie Williams, describes what she witnessed when Stan was put to death in San Quentin's death chamber.

The execution of Stan Tookie Williams
They murdered a peacemaker
The state of California rewarded redemption with cold-blooded murder--justified with a press release and carried out in the dead of night.

The governator's hit list
In rejecting clemency for death row prisoner Stan Tookie Williams, Arnold Schwarzenegger smeared the legacy of 11 Black and Native American revolutionaries. SW tells their stories.

Interview with Stan Tookie Williams
Speaking out from death row
Phil Gasper interviews Stan by phone from his specially secured "death-watch" cell in San Quentin.

Elaine Brown:
Background to Stan's story
A former leader of the Black Panther looks at the factors and conditions that generated mass violence attributed to the Stan Tookie Williams' Crips.

How the system fails poor and minority communities
"It's a set-up for failure"
SW talked to two supporters of Stan about why the system places no value on their lives--and consigns them to a world of violence and repression.

The people's clemency hearing
Why Tookie deserves to live
SW convenes a people's clemency hearing to gather testimony from community activists, former gang members and death penalty opponents in support of Stan Tookie Williams.


THE STRUGGLE IN ILLINOIS

 

The road to victory
Socialist Worker tells the story of the years of struggle against the death penalty in Illinois--a struggle that ended in victory when Gov. George Ryan pardoned four death row prisoners and commuted the sentences of every other prisoner facing execution in Illinois.

Voices from the struggle
Interviews with former death row prisoners, family members of those on death row and anti-death penalty activists on the victory in Illinois and the fight ahead.

A look inside Illinois' broken death penalty system
The real face of death row
George Ryan has said that he will review the cases of all Illinois death row prisoners during his final months in office. What will he learn?

Illinois' broken death penalty system
The death penalty is too flawed to fix--and it's time to end it once and for all. That was the message that some 600 people--packed into the United Church of Hyde Park in Chicago last January--wanted to send to Illinois lawmakers.

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