High Plains Public Radio

death penalty

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This week the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the death penalty in Texas. Since the U.S. made the death penalty legal again in 1976, Texas has been responsible for more than a third of the prisoners executed in America.

And, as The New Yorker reports, Texas has often put to death prisoners who would have been deemed exempt in other parts of the country due to intellectual disability.

Omaha World-Herald

Next month, Nebraska and Oklahoma voters will go to decide state initiatives on the death penalty. In general, the trend in America is heading away from capital punishment.

As the Omaha World Herald notes, Nebraska is one of 20 states that have done away with the death penalty. Eight of those 20 states have done so in the last decade.

KTUL

Oklahoma’s ballot initiatives can be confusing to those who haven’t studied them. To help voters understand the measures, KTUL has published a guide. Here are some highlights:

SQ 776: Oklahoma Death Penalty

Voting yes supports protecting the death penalty in the state constitution.

Voting no opposes amending the Oklahoma constitution to protect the death penalty.

SQ 777: Oklahoma Right-to-Farm Amendment

Ken Piorkowsky / Flickr Creative Commons

Last week, the Lone Star State concluded a record-breaking gap in executions, reports The Houston Press.

Before last Wednesday, the State of Texas had gone six months without putting anyone to death. That’s the longest stretch without an execution since 2008. Back then, a moratorium had been called while the U.S. Supreme Court considered the legality of lethal injections.

news9.com

In two weeks, Oklahoma will enter year two of its statewide stay on death-row executions, reports News 9.

Despite the long delay, there’s still no evidence that the state's board of corrections is drawing any closer to making a decision on execution protocol. The halt came in 2015 after a series of bungled executions sparked widespread shock and criticism. First Oklahoma nearly used the wrong drug on inmate Richard Glossip. Then that same drug was used to execute Charles Warner, who writhed in agony and took 43 minutes to die.

Austin American-Statesman

A Texas appeals court judge has questioned the fairness of the state’s life-without-parole sentences.

As The Austin American-Statesman reports, Judge Larry Meyers charged that no-parole sentences lack legal protections. The longtime Texas judge equated life-without-parole sentences to a slow-motion death penalty.

Judge Meyers was once a Republican, but is now a Democrat. He is the longest-serving member of the state’s highest criminal court.

The death penalty is costing Nebraskans over $14 million annually, reports the Omaha World-Herald. The number comes from a new study commissioned by Creighton University.

The Nation

The Oklahoma grand jury tasked with looking into the state's troubled executions released its report last week, and the contents were troubling. The study found that jail staff did not verify which drugs they were using for lethal injections before giving them to death row inmates. And after the wrong drugs were administered, staff remained in the dark about their mistake.

Oklahoma Marks 100 Years of Executions

Dec 22, 2015
Paul B. Southerland / The Oklahoman

Oklahoma recently reached a grim milestone. As pf this month, the state has been executing criminals for a century, according to The Oklahoman.

Stephen Koranda / kansaspublicradio.org

Kansas reinstated the death penalty in 1994, but has not yet executed anyone in last 20 years. Opponents of the death penalty are hoping to replace the option with life in prison without the possibility of parole. Anti-death penalty advocates are renewing their push to change the law reports Stephen Koranda for Kansas Public Radio.

http://nomadicpursuits.com/

Politics are polarizing in traditionally moderate Colorado.  Colorado has been a swing state for a long time with basically an even split between Democrats, Republicans, and the “unaffiliated.”  However the divide is widening mostly due to the rightward drift of Republicans reported the Economist.