FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 17, 2014
(SALEM, Oregon) Death sentences in Oregon declined in 2014, with only one new death sentence this year. This single sentence represents a 42% decline over the last ten years. According to the 2014 Death Penalty report, issued today by the Death Penalty Information Center, in Washington DC, nationwide, there were 72 new death sentences in 2014, a 40-year low.
Chairman Ron Steiner reviews the many accomplishments of 2014. Honing winning campaign messages through polling and focus groups will require creativity, skilled professional guidance, and your support.
On the 10th of October, the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty and other abolitionists worldwide will mark the 12th World Day Against the Death Penalty by drawing attention to the special concerns faced by accused and condemned prisoners with mental health problems.
Submitted by David McNeil on Fri, 08/01/2014 - 6:00am
Federal Judge in California Rules State's Death Penalty Unconstitutional: U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney holds that California's death penalty, implemented so rarely and so long after the offense, serves no penological purpose. Jeff Ellis Comments on California Decision: "California has nothing on Oregon. Our death penalty system is even worse." Women Can Get Us Over the Top: History tells us that women will again propel abolition of Oregon's death penalty--this time, for good. The September 21st Project: The International Day of Peace this year will coincide with the third anniversary of the execution of Troy Anthony Davis. Help us mark these two important events in your community. Analysis of Hall v. Florida by Prof. Charles Ogletree, Jr.: From the Washington Post, July 19, 2014, we reprint in full an op-ed foreseeing the end of the death penalty in America. Harvard Law Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., highlights Justice Kennedy's focus in the majority opinion on human dignity as the basis for Eighth Amendment jurisprudence, and explains why the death penalty is an affront to the human dignity both of those executed and of the society that executes them. A must-read for death penalty opponents.
A federal judge has ruled that California's death penalty system is unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney handed down an order Wednesday, finding that the system is arbitrary and in violation of the Constitution's 8th Amendment.
September 21, 2014 marks the third anniversary of the execution of Troy Davis. This sad occasion remembers the frustration of peace-minded people throughout the country, and throughout the world, trying to stop an execution of an individual believed to be innocent of the crime he was convicted of. In spite of mounting evidence of Mr.Davis’ innocence, the State of Georgia and the United States Supreme Court allowed his execution to take place.
WASHINGTON — For 40 years American politicians have assumed that favoring the death penalty is a winning political position. Is that era coming to an end? Is support for capital punishment, like opposition to gay marriage, evaporating?
We can't be sure. But we're seeing the first signs that it could happen.
Submitted by David McNeil on Tue, 07/08/2014 - 7:38pm
On behalf of Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, let me respond to Oregonian reporter Bryan Denson's April 30 article criticizing OADP's participation in the recent Oregonian poll about the death penalty. First, thank you to The Oregonian for providing a forum for discussing the death penalty in Oregon. Gov. John Kitzhaber called for a vigorous statewide debate on this issue, and that is what OADP is trying to promote. We welcome the participation of all Oregonians, whatever their views, and we appreciate The Oregonian's help. We will, of course, continue to make our views known through all available avenues, including The Oregonian’s poll. We are not trying to silence anyone else from making their views known and fully expect death penalty proponents will do so as well. The fact is, the death penalty is a wasteful and ineffective response to violent crime. We believe that when Oregonians understand this, they will choose to replace it with life in prison without possibility of parole as the most serious sanction for murder. Six other states have done so in the last few years (New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Illinois, Connecticut and Maryland), bringing the total of states without the death penalty to 18.
By Frank Thompson, a retired prison superintendent from the Oregon Department of Corrections.
Because of the moratorium that Gov. John Kitzhaber declared, the gruesome events that unfolded during the execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma did not happen here. But for our governor's bold leadership, it could have. Oklahoma officials injected Mr. Lockett with a "newly tried" cocktail of drugs that caused him to "writhe and gasp" and cry out in pain minutes after he'd been declared unconscious. At one point, he "tried to rise [from the table] and exhaled loudly," prompting prison officials to pull a curtain in front of witnesses. An execution that should have taken little more than 10 minutes was stretched to an agonizing 43 minutes and ended with Mr. Lockett dying of a massive heart attack. Our constitution requires that, if a state wishes to use the death penalty, we must guarantee that it is not cruel punishment. And for good reason.
Capital punishment is legal in the U.S. state of Oregon. The first execution under the territorial government was in 1851. Capital punishment was made explicitly legal by statute in 1864, and executions have been carried out exclusively at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem since 1904. The death penalty was outlawed between 1914 and 1920, again between 1964 and 1978, and then again between a 1981 Oregon Supreme Court ruling and a 1984 ballot measure. Since 1904, about 60 individuals have been executed in Oregon. Aggravated murder is the only crime subject to the penalty of death under Oregon law.
The current method of execution in Oregon is lethal injection.
The mission of Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (OADP) is to repeal the death penalty in Oregon as an essential step toward a more cost-effective, humane and restorative response to violent crime, and thus toward safer, more peaceful and just communities.