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Voices: Stephen Rohde

Last year, the editors of the Southwestern Law Review asked Stephen Rohde, a constitutional lawyer and DPF board chair, if he was interested in writing

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Voices: 2016 Year in Review

For the past year-and-a-half, abolitionists, religious and political leaders, victims’ family members, and exonerees have shared their thoughts on the death penalty and why they work so hard to abolish it. Here are some of the highlights of those profiles.

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Voices: Mike Farrell

He has devoted his life to ending the death penalty. After heading the campaign for Proposition 62, Mike Farrell returned this month to Death Penalty Focus, where he has served as president for almost 30 years. He talks about the campaign, its defeat, and where he thinks we should go from here.

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Voices: Shujaa Graham

“You know it’s hard every day sitting in a courtroom knowing you’re totally innocent,” Graham says. “I was framed because of my beliefs and because I was outspoken about prison conditions.”

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Voices: Ron Briggs

“We actually thought at the time, naively, that a broader death penalty would deter criminals,” Briggs says. “We truly believed the bill would reduce crime in California.”

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Voices: Dionne Wilson

“I described to the jury how I had to tell my six-year old daughter that she would never see her daddy again. I told them about her putting a flower on the coffin, hugging his coffin. I pulled no punches, let me tell you. I made that jury understand how much pain I was in, how much pain my family was in. I was very persuasive.”

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Voices: Sharon Risher

“If putting him to death would bring my mama back, I’d want him dead. But that won’t happen, so what’s the point of killing him? I’m just trying to do the best I can and honor the memory of my mama. I believe in my heart she wouldn’t want this boy put to death.”

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Voices: Quin Denvir

“I have represented several death row inmates who were able to avoid execution, and I lost one, Tom Thompson. He was very likely innocent of capital murder, and his case has been chronicled by Judge Reinhardt as a miscarriage of justice.”

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Voices: Nancy Vollertsen

“I’m doing the best I can through letters,” Nancy remembers. “I just kept thinking that they’re going to figure out they’ve got the wrong guy. And Mom wrote that everything was going to be fine.”

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In brief: October 2021

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law last week a bill that expands another criminal justice reform bill that became law two years ago.

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While we’re on the subject…

In her Nevada Independent op-ed, “Nevada is preparing to execute a man with significant organic brain damage,” Dr. Natalie Novick Brown, a licensed clinical psychologist who evaluated

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In brief: September 2021

In California, the Los Angeles Daily News reports that Stanley Bernard Davis, sentenced to death in 1989 for the murder of Los Angeles college students Michelle Ann Boyd

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Ed Asner

Death Penalty Focus lost a dear friend and one of its most loyal supporters last week. Actor, activist, and all-around good guy, Ed Asner, died late last month at his home in Los Angeles. He was 91.

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Oklahoma seeks execution dates for seven men

Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor has tentatively scheduled executions for seven men in five months, starting in October and continuing into February. If carried out, they will be the first executions in the state since 2015.

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