Hey NAPD community! I'd like to introduce you to a brand new initiative brought to you by Harvard Law School's Charles Hamilton Houston for Race & Justice and its Criminal Justice Institute called the Fair Punishment Project (FPP). The Project will work to highlight the gross injustices resulting from prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective defense lawyers, and racial bias and exclusion. We are dedicated to illuminating the laws that result in excessive punishment, especially the death penalty and juvenile life without parole. To get the latest research, updates, and news from FPP, please Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter!
We would very much appreciate any advice or leads. Is there a prosecutor in your jurisdiction that continually makes improper remarks during closing argument? Someone who repeatedly violates discovery orders? Is there a confederate flag flying outside of your court house or a judge who says racist things? Do you have cases in your state courts raising new issues of law that relate to excessive punishments (e.g. Do Graham and Miller apply to de facto life sentences?). Is there a funding rule that inhibits the defense in capital cases from thoroughly conducting mitigation investigations? Whatever is important to you, we'd like to know.
We are a relatively small operation, so we can't always help. But we will try our best, and we have a team that will file amicus briefs, release reports, blog and tweet regularly, and try to help as much as possible behind the scenes (for example, with drafting help or organizing an amicus strategy for a case). My work email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, to get the latest research, updates, and news from FPP, please Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter!
Also, we'll be releasing our first report in the next day or two, so keep an eye out–you don't want to miss it. Future reports will highlight the troubling attributes that outlier death penalty counties have in common, examine America's top 10 deadliest prosecutors, and look deeply into counties that are plagued by prosecutorial misconduct.
For now, though, here are a few of the blog posts that we've created today. I hope you find them interesting and useful:
1. MY NAME IS JOHN THOMPSON. PROSECUTORS INTENTIONALLY TRIED TO WRONGFULLY EXECUTE ME [This is a guest post from John Thompson on the 5th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court case that bears his name–Connick v. Thompson].
2. WHAT THE FERGUSON EFFECT, CRACK BABIES, AND SUPERPREDATORS HAVE IN COMMON.
3. WHARTON COUNTY ASSISTANT DA OUTS BOSS FOR RACIST JURY SELECTION.
4. CHALLENGING JUVENILE LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE: BELL V. ARKANSAS [This post discusses the friend of court brief that the Fair Punishment Project filed in the U.S. Supreme Court in Arkansas v. Bell, a case at the petition for certiorari stage, which the Court is likely to consider it in May].
5. On the death penalty, we have a series of very short posts on how the death penalty operates in the tiny handful of counties that continue to impose new sentences:
A. OUTLIER DEATH PENALTY COUNTIES DEFINED BY RACIAL EXCLUSION
B. OUTLIER DEATH PENALTY COUNTIES DEFINED BY INEFFECTIVE LAWYERS
C. OUTLIER DEATH PENALTY COUNTIES DEFINED BY OVERZEALOUS PROSECUTORS
D. PEOPLE WITH CRIPPLING IMPAIRMENTS SENTENCED TO DIE IN OUTLIER DEATH PENALTY COUNTIES
E. OUTLIER DEATH PENALTY COUNTIES DEFINED BY WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS OF THE INNOCENT