Death Penalty News
On May 27, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered its opinion in Hall v. Florida, finding Florida’s method for assessing intellectual disability in capital cases to be unconstitutional. The decision marked the first time that the Court had considered the standard for executing the intellectually disabled since its 2002 opinion in Atkins v. Virginia.
In recent months, the lethal injection process has come under close scrutiny by courts and the public following two botched executions in two states. Attorneys have argued that use of experimental protocols with unreliable drugs from unknown sources violates the prisoners’ First and Eighth Amendment rights.
On March 31, 2014, the Supreme Court of Mississippi granted relief to death row prisoner Michelle Byrom, reversing Ms. Byrom’s conviction and death sentence and remanding the case for a new trial.
On September 23, 2013, the Department of Justice issued new rules for "certifying" states that can benefit from shorter time limits for death penalty appeals. The Rule is intended to go into effect on October 23, 2014.
On May 22, 2014, the New Hampshire Senate blocked the second attempt in recent months to repeal the death penalty. Repeal legislation would have made New Hampshire the seventh state within the past seven years to abolish capital punishment and the nineteenth state in the country without a death penalty.