death penalty

Dark green statue of Justice magnified through black camera lens on red brick and brown stone walkway in front of brown building and white car

Landmark Case Set to Expose Racial Bias In Capital Punishment

“They feared that breaking the link between the death penalty and race would remove too many people from death row. They decided they were willing to accept racial bias to keep the death penalty.”

Bryan Stevenson. Black man in gray jacket suit, black pants and tie, white shirt, standing on the steps of a courthouse.

EXCLUSIVE: Powerful Clip From HBO Doc on Bryan Stevenson's Liberatory Work

In “True Justice,” the Equal Justice Initiative founder connects the dots between enslavement and death sentences for Black people—and breaks down why he is committed to ending mass incarceration.

Black-and-white image of a newspaper article with black text featuring image of a Black teenager in a suit

Viola Davis Offers 'The Last Defense' For People on Death Row

The new docuseries explores the case of Julius Jones, a Black college student sentenced to death for killing a White man despite his repeated protests of innocence.

Heroin Epidemic

'Terrible People': Trump Again Calls for Death Penalty for Drug Traffickers

President Donald Trump outlines blueprint to tackle opioid crisis; critics pan his proposal as recycled draconian measures that target communities of color and have failed to reduce drug use.

Gurney and electric chair

Death Penalty Abolitionists Rally to Stop Arkansas Executions

Seven people are scheduled to be executed by month’s end.

Nine Consecutive Life Sentences Added to Dylann Roof's Punishment

The Charleston Massacre shooter was sentenced to death in federal court earlier this year.

Mugshot of White man looking at camera and in profile

Dylann Roof Sentenced to Death for Charleston Massacre

Reactions to the decision are…complicated: “Killing Dylann Roof won’t do anything to rid our country of White supremacy. It’s in our bones, it’s in our soil, it’s in the White House.”

Dylann Roof to Represent Himself for Sentencing

Jurors found Roof guilty of killing nine Black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina. Now he faces sentencing for his crimes.

White man in grey and blue striped prison uniform sitting next to White man in black suit against grey background

BREAKING: Dylann Roof Found Guilty of Charleston Church Massacre

The jurors, who found Roof guilty of all 33 charges against him, will decide on his punishment next month.

READ: Why Some Parts of U.S. Are Seeing an Explosion of Death Sentences

The New York Times Magazine explores how racism and bias impact crime and punishment.

DOJ Seeks Death Penalty for Dylann Roof

Roof killed nine Black worshippers at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last year. 

Charleston Shooter's Trial Delayed Until Next Year

Dylann Roof faces the death penalty for killing nine Black worshippers at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Chuch in Charleston, South Carolina, last year.  

Ohio Suspends Death Row Executions Until 2017

Ohio—like many states—is having trouble obtaining the drugs needed to carry out lethal injections.

STUDY: In Louisiana, Death Penalty Reserved Almost Exclusively for Cases with White Victims

Someone who kills a white woman is 48 times more likely to be executed than someone who kills a black man.

ICYMI: Connecticut Rules Death Penalty Unconstitutional

The Connecticut Supreme Court rules that the death penalty “fails to comport with our abiding freedom from cruel and unusual punishment.”

Supreme Court Says Controversial Lethal Injection Drug Is Legal

SCOTUS rules that states can continue to use controversial drug midazolam for lethal injections—despite claim that it doesn’t prevent pain during executions.

Latino Evangelicals Push—and Win—on Death Penalty Abolition in Nebraska

Latinos make up just 10 percent of Nebraska’s population—but account for half the inmates on death row. 

Race and the Death Penalty by the Numbers

A national and state-by-state look at how the race of prisoners—and victims—intersect with executions. 

North Carolina Repeals Its Racial Justice Act

The unique law allowed death-row inmates to challenge their sentences if they showed that racial bias played a role in their sentencing.

Study: Harris County, Texas Juries Twice As Likely to Demand Death Penalty for Black Defendants Than White

The new report was released alongside a new appeal to demand a fair sentencing hearing for death row inmate Duane Buck.