April 22 to 29, 2012
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty endorses this year's theme: "Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim," which has a special urgency in light of the evidence of continued disparities in services and support to victims based on race, economic status, and attitudes toward capital punishment.
We encourage all advocates for capital punishment and criminal justice reform to use this week to consider how we might work together to improve services and support and greater equity among victims through our organizations and individual work.
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty's Rachel’s Fund Program is here to help you. Please contact our office for resources and support.
Also, please click here to visit the web page of the National Center for Victims of Crime, where you can learn more about the needs of crime victims. You will also find resources to help crime victims everywhere know about, understand, and access crime victims' rights and the resources and services available to them.
Governor Dannell P. Malloy has pledged to sign LCO 3121/SB 280, An Act Revising the Penalty for Capital Felonies, and he is expected to do so this week. When that happens, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty will be sure to let you know. Then, Connecticut will become the 17th and the 5th state in as many years, to have abandoned the death penalty!
Meanwhile, repeal campaigning continues across the country and there's a lot that can be replicated from the Connecticut and other victorious campaigns. Robert Nave has been at the heart of Connecticut's efforts for well over a decade. Read his blog post about the role that murder victim family members played in the campaign, and how Catholics are having a large inpact on the work of our movement, here.
Momentum to stop executions nationwide just keeps building. The latest indicator? Yesterday's certification that the 800,000+ signatures gathered to put replacing the death penalty onto the November ballot were way more than was needed to meet the requirements.
The effort has even been joined by the architects of California's current death penalty system, which they call a "colossal failure." The Los Angeles Times has this on yesterday's announcement, and you can learn more and support the effort at www.safecalifornia.org.
April 22nd marked the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in McCleskey v. Kemp, in which the U.S. Supreme Court declined to recognize McCleskey’s proof of discrimination. We wrote about this in last week's Abolition Times, and were thrilled at the juxtaposition of the McCleskey anniversary with Friday's ruling in North Carolina, which we explain here.
We mark the anniversary of McCleskey v. Kemp to remind ourselves - and you - that addressing racial bias in the administration of capital punishment is still unfinished business. The North Carolina Racial Justice Act is an achievement that must be celebrated and replicated across the country, and federally.
To raise more awareness about this aspect of our work, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty partnered with a number of other organizations to highlight the impact of McCleskey over the past week. Please visit and share http://mccleskeyvkemp.com/.
Also, the ACLU created a special series of daily posts on its "Blog of Rights," which wrapped up yesterday with a reflection by National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty executive director, Diann Rust-Tierney.
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty acknowledges in particular the extraordinary leadership of Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, who was instrumental in not only achieving the passage of the North Carolina Racial Justice Act but also in assuring that the measure was not repealed in the last legislative session. Reverend Barber, the NAACP and the members of the Legislative Black Caucus raised the level of the moral debate and the legislature and the governor answered. We thank them for holding North Carolina to a higher level of accountability with regard to racial bias in the administration of the death penalty—they have set a high bar for fairness that we must now insist on in every state.