Newsletter: January, 2021

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Our newsletters are sent to members at the end of every month. They are composed of articles (usually US death penalty-themed) written by members for members.

We publish an abbreviated version here shortly after it is sent out. If you'd like to write for the newsletter and support us, click here to become a member.

In the News

The death penalty lost more ground in 2020 — except in the Trump administration
In recent years, the US has been steadily backing away from capital punishment as a result of the public's growing resentment towards it. For nearly two decades, that is until 2020 when President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr pushed through the executions of many federal death row inmates, there were no executions issued by the federal government... Read more by becoming an Amicus Member.

How the system kept failing the old woman on death row
Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row, was executed at 06:31 GMT on 13 January 2021 despite serious concerns about her competence and mental state. After two postponements, the first due to Covid-19 and the second under Judge James Hanlon who had doubts about Montgomery's competence, there was some hope that Montgomery would live until Joe Biden's inauguration... Read more by becoming an Amicus Member.

Decline in death penalty use in Texas due to the Covid-19 pandemic and changing prosecutors  
The use of the death penalty in Texas has clearly fallen in recent years, due in part to the Covid-19 pandemic and a shift in focus by newly elected prosecutors towards criminal justice reform. We have welcomed a steady decline in the number of executions in the past twenty years. This reflects seismic change, particularly in the state of Texas which typically carries out... Read more by becoming an Amicus Member.

Association of American Architects changes its ethics code to prohibit the design of execution chambers
Solitary confinement and execution chambers may be the subject of contested ethical debates, but these are rarely directed towards those who design the blueprints and map the composition of these deadly spaces. The American Civil Liberties Union estimates that 80,000 people are held in solitary confinement every day in America. Experts now conclude that solitary confinement can be as distressing as physical torture... Read more by becoming an Amicus Member.

Outgoing state attorney issues death penalty waivers in two high-profile murder cases
Anti-death penalty Florida state attorney Aramis Ayala has continued her bid to prevent death sentences by issuing waivers on death penalty cases in Osceola Country during her last month in office. Ayala's anti-death penalty viewpoint has been well documented and highly controversial during her career... Read more by becoming an Amicus Member.

The power of clemency for federal death row prisoners 
The power of clemency is one of the strongest presidential powers in the United States constitution. This power is afforded to the president alone, who can pardon the sentence of any person convicted of a federal offence. The Trump administration pursued more federal executions than any other White House administration since reliable records began in 1927. This is hardly surprising given Trump has historically been a strong proponent of the death penalty... Read more by becoming an Amicus Member.