March 30, 2005

The New Abolitionist

"The New Abolitionist" is published by "Campaign To End the Death Penalty," a national grassroots organization with chapters in several cities across the country.

Current Edition


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March 17, 2005

ACLU Report Finds Virginia Death Penalty System Riddled with Flaws

New ACLU Report Finds Virginia Death Penalty System Riddled with Flaws, Recommends Sweeping Changes

November 12, 2003

RICHMOND, VA - Virginia�s death penalty system is so flawed that it cannot ensure a reliable determination of guilt or innocence, according to an American Civil Liberties Union study released today.

The study, entitled Broken Justice: The Death Penalty in Virginia, was endorsed by a broad range of organizations, including the Rutherford Institute, the Virginia NAACP, the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. 

"Support for capital punishment is based on the belief that it is applied rationally and fairly, and is reserved for the worst of the worst offenders," said Rachel King, a staff attorney with the ACLU�s Capital Punishment Project and author of the report. "But we found example after example where this was simply not the case. No one can assure that the people on death row are actually guilty, and if they are guilty, that they should have been sentenced to death."

According to the study, prosecutorial misconduct and incompetent counsel, combined with arbitrary restrictions on presenting evidence and fixing trial mistakes, have created a flawed system that can convict innocent people and deprive others of a fair hearing. 

"In Virginia, whether or not you are sentenced to death has little to do with the crime, and everything to do with your race, where you live, and who prosecutes your case," said John Whitehead, Executive Director of the Rutherford Institute. "This is in direct contradiction to America�s fundamental faith in �blind� justice."

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