Death Penalty Information Center

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The Death Penalty Information Center (abbreviated DPIC) is a non-profit organization that focuses on disseminating studies and reports related to the death penalty by itself and others to the news media and general public. The Center was founded in 1990 and is primarily focused on the application of capital punishment in the United States.

The Center is based in Washington, D.C., and its executive director is Richard Dieter.

Criticism[edit]

The Center does not take an official position on the death penalty,[1] but is widely recognized by the news media as an anti-death penalty group.[2] According to the pro-death penalty prosecutor Steve Stewart, the DPIC is "probably the single most comprehensive and authoritative internet resource on the death penalty", but "this site makes absolutely no effort to present any pro-death penalty views, and liberally spreads propaganda and rhetoric on behalf of "the cause".[3]

The DPIC also has been criticized for its list of exonerated death row inmates by Ward A. Campbell, a supervising deputy state attorney general in Sacramento, California, who argues that the list of exonerated inmates is dishonestly portrayed. His list of objections [4] included:

  • Several cases where the defendant's "Conviction and sentence occurred prior to 1972 (pre-modern death penalty statute era)."
  • Several cases where the defendant's sentence had been reduced, and were thus no longer under a death sentence when acquitted.
  • Several cases where the person was sentenced under "defunct" or "invalid" death penalty laws. In these cases "It is complete speculation whether they would have been sentenced to death under [current law]." These cases are therefore "not relevant to assessing today’s post-Furman capital punishment system. "
  • Several cases where the defendant was "Acquitted on retrial based on either self defense or accidental shooting defense. Accordingly, this is not a “"wrong person"” mistake. "
  • Several cases which are "not an example of a defendant who was found actually innocent, but of a defendant for which the prosecution could not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." The DPIC list presents them as actually innocent inmates, when in fact one can only be certain that they are legally innocent.

In the majority of his objections, he does not challenge the factual innocence of the defendant, but argues that they should be excluded on other grounds unrelated to guilt.

Citation to the U.S. supreme court[edit]

On, January 7, 2008, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in Baze v. Rees, a case challenging the three-drug cocktail used for many executions by lethal injection. The respondent's lawyer, Roy T. Englert, Jr., referred to the Death Penalty Information Center's list of "botched" executions. He criticized it because a majority of the executions on the list, according to respondent, "did not involve the infliction of pain, but were only delayed by technical problems (e.g., difficulty in finding a suitable vein)".[5][6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About DPIC". Retrieved May 4, 2013. "...the Center promotes informed discussion of the death penalty by preparing in-depth reports, conducting briefings for journalists, and serving as a resource to those working on this issue. The Center releases an annual report on the death penalty, highlighting significant developments and featuring the latest statistics." 
  2. ^
    • Sherman, Mark (May 29, 2009). "Death cases among early issues for new justice". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved November 30, 2010. "Richard Dieter, executive director of the anti-capital punishment Death Penalty Information Center, said that even if Sotomayor opposes the death penalty, it would not preclude her from ruling against defendants "when that's what precedents and the Constitution require." 
    • O'Shaughnessy, Patrice (March 24, 1996). "Death Call Residents Back Execution, But Want Johnson On Case". New York Daily News. Retrieved November 30, 2010. "Richard Dieter, director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a group opposed to capital punishment, called the poll results "amazing, compared to other parts of the country." 
    • Gomez, Alan (September 21, 2010). "Clemency urged for woman with low IQ on death row". USA Today. Retrieved November 30, 2010. "Women commit about 10% of murders nationwide but face about 1% of executions, according to Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment. That's not based on bias toward women, he said, but the nature of crimes they commit." 
    • Dopp, Terrence (December 11, 2007). "New Jersey Voters Oppose Eliminating Death Penalty". Bloomberg News. Retrieved November 30, 2010. "The state has had a moratorium on the death penalty since 2005. Twenty-one states have such suspensions, said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, an anti-death-penalty group." 
  3. ^ Death penalty links on Clarkprosecutor
  4. ^ Prodeathpenalty.com : CRITIQUE OF DPIC LIST ("INNOCENCE: FREED FROM DEATH ROW")
  5. ^ Baze v. Rees oral arguments.
  6. ^ DPIC list of botched executions.

External links[edit]