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The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily those of TCP, its committees, or boards. 

El gobernador de Washington, Jay Inslee, hizo estas declaraciones al decretar una moratoria a las ejecuciones de la pena de muerte en su estado: “La aplicación de la pena de muerte es inconsistente e inequitativa. Es tiempo de asegurarnos que haya igualdad ante la ley....Hay demasiadas fallas en el sistema penal, y cuando la última decisión implica la muerte, no podemos aceptar un sistema imperfecto”.... Read More

Capital punishment is inconsistent and unequal, and it’s time to have a conversation about ensuring equal justice under the law . . . There are too many flaws in the system. And when the ultimate decision is death there is too much at stake to accept an imperfect system. Governor Jay Inslee, upon issuing a moratorium on imposition of the death penalty in Washington State, Feb. 11, 2014.

Only God can judge, but we sure can set up the meeting. Representative Matt Gaetz, Florida House of Representatives, Sponsor of the “Timely Justice Act,” enacted May 2013.

Could there be two more widely divergent conclusions about the fairness of our country’s death penalty?... Read More

El 4 de febrero, la Asociación de Estudiantes Negros (Black Law Students Association) de la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Georgetown y la Asociación de Derecho Penal (Criminal Law Association) presentaron un panel de discusión sobre la pena de muerte en Estados Unidos como parte del Festival de Cine sobre Convicciones Penales Equivocadas (Wrongful Convictions Film Festival). La presentación dio inicio con la proyección de The Trials of Darryl Hunt, (Los Juicios de Darryl Hunt) documental sobre una brutal violación y homicidio y un hombre sentenciado por error, Darryl Hunt, quien pasó casi veinte años en prisión por un crímen en Carolina del Norte que no cometió. El documental, estrenado en 2006, sigue al señor Hunt, sus abogados y activistas comunitarios en una odisea de dos décadas por demostrar su inocencia. A lo largo de esta odisea, tribunales estatales y federales desecharon las mociones en la que el señor Hunt presentaba pruebas de ADN que lo exoneraban. Los tribunales anularon todos los cargos en su contra sólo cuando las autoridades estatales autorizaron comparar el análisis de las muestras de ADN encontradas en la escena del crímen con la base de datos de ADN del estado, quedando de manifiesto quién era el verdadero asesino.... Read More

On Feb. 4, the Georgetown University Law School’s Black Law Students Association and Criminal Law Association presented a panel discussion on use of the death penalty in the U.S. as part of its Wrongful Convictions Film Festival. The presentation began with a screening of The Trials of Darryl Hunt, a feature documentary about a brutal rape/murder case and a wrongly convicted man, Darryl Hunt, who spent nearly twenty years in prison for a crime he did not commit in North Carolina. The film, first released in 2006, follows Mr. Hunt, his lawyers, and community activists in their two decade-long odyssey to prove Hunt’s innocence in which state and federal courts continued to rebuff his pleas, despite DNA evidence exonerating him of the crime. Only when the state agreed to run DNA samples found at the crime scene against a state database, revealing a “cold hit” to the real perpetrator, did the court dismiss all charges against him. ... Read More

As many readers of this blog will know, the Constitution Project aims to foster consensus-based solutions to difficult constitutional issues and challenges. In practice, this has often meant bringing together the most senior and experienced advocates, lawmakers, and scholars in order to forge compromise. But there is also an important role for those who are still in the early phases of their careers. Young professionals have much to contribute to constitutional debates, including fresh perspectives, recent experiences on the ground, and shifting expectations and priorities. Moreover, lasting consensus ultimately depends not only the leaders who guide constitutional discourse, but also on the entire body of the citizens whose interests they represent. The rich diversity of U.S. civil society manifests itself not only across geography, race, or gender, but also across generations.... Read More

On January 27, the Department of Justice announced an agreement with Google, Microsoft, Facebook and other technology companies that will permit them to disclose more information than previously allowed about government surveillance requests targeting their users. The change comes in response to lawsuits filed by the companies seeking greater disclosure in the wake of the public relations fallout from media reports of their role in surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency.

The Constitution Project believes the agreement represents a significant step that will give social networking and internet service providers some long-sought freedom to communicate more openly with their customers. Although the government still has not allowed the degree of openness that the companies initially sought in their motions before the FISC, we agree with the companies involved that this is a welcome starting point for more reform. ... Read More

Five years ago today, President Obama signed Executive Order 13491 (Ensuring Lawful Interrogations). His purpose was to promote the humane treatment of both detainees in U.S. custody and U.S. personnel who might be captured abroad, to improve the efficacy of interrogations, and to ensure that the U.S. respects domestic and international laws that prohibit torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (CIDT). The Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment detailed the reforms that EO 13491 mandated:

... Read More

Last Friday, New York City-based FoxNews.com reporter Jana Winter was scheduled to appear in a Colorado courtroom. There, she faced the possibility of indefinite jail time for refusing to name the confidential sources behind her story about James Holmes—the so-called “Batman” serial killer—who murdered 12 and wounded over 70 in a shooting spree at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater.

But a decision from New York’s highest court last month has ensured that Winter will not go to jail for simply doing her job. On December 10, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that Winter did not have to choose between burning her sources and jail, citing New York’s strongest-in-the-nation press shield law. The decision gives other states with similarly strong laws a way to protect their reporters from out-of-state criminal subpoenas, but the fact that Winter faced her dilemma at all underscores the need for a federal shield law that protects reporters nationwide.... Read More

Last Friday, New York City-based FoxNews.com reporter Jana Winter was scheduled to appear in a Colorado courtroom. There, she faced the possibility of indefinite jail time for refusing to name the confidential sources behind her story about James Holmes—the so-called “Batman” serial killer—who murdered 12 and wounded over 70 in a shooting spree at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater.

But a decision from New York’s highest court last month has ensured that Winter will not go to jail for simply doing her job. On December 10, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that Winter did not have to choose between burning her sources and jail, citing New York’s strongest-in-the-nation press shield law. The decision gives other states with similarly strong laws a way to protect their reporters from out-of-state criminal subpoenas, but the fact that Winter faced her dilemma at all underscores the need for a federal shield law that protects reporters nationwide.... Read More

Eugene Fidell, military justice professor of Yale Law School, president emeritus of the National Institute of Military Justice, and a member of TCP’s Liberty & Security Committee, has launched a new blog on Global Military Justice Reform (http://globalmjreform.blogspot.com/). According to Fidell:... Read More

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