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Top 10 Death Penalty Blogs

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Although the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in an era when the death penalty was still widely practiced, it is difficult to argue that poisoning or electrocuting someone to death doesn't constitute "cruel and unusual punishment." At a time when most other Western democracies have abolished the death penalty, those who believe that the government has the right to kill its worst citizens should be prepared to answer their critics.

1. Capital Defense Weekly

This blog is an obvious labor of love for Karl Keys, the Massachusetts defense attorney who has visibly put countless hours into making it the most up-to-date and informative blog about U.S. capital punishment anywhere, with plenty of information on ongoing cases and recent rulings. Presumably it really was a weekly newsletter when it was founded in 1997, but now it's updated almost every day.

2. Meet Vernon

Vernon Evans is a prisoner on Maryland's death row, convicted of killing two hotel clerks in 1983. He proclaims his innocence. While working through the long appeals process, he maintains this blog through a friend who forwards him questions from users and posts his answers online, providing a rare glimpse into the life of a man sentenced to die.

3. Asia Death Penalty

In the United States, the death penalty is a divisive issue, but the vast majority of executions take place on the other side of the Pacific. The death penalty is common throughout Asia, especially in China--which executes at least nine times as many people every year as all other countries on Earth combined. This frequently-updated blog provides news and commentary focusing on the global center of the death penalty debate.

4. Death Penalty Blog

Amnesty International is one of the world's leading human rights organizations. You'd expect its blog on the death penalty to be bold, relevant, and international and scope--and you'd be right. While not updated quite as often as some of the other blogs, it remains one of the most original and useful online resources on international death penalty related news.

5. Abolish the Death Penalty

The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty sponsors this blog, which provides near-daily news and commentary geared towards ending the death penalty in the United States. If you're looking for an activist blog on the U.S. death penalty debate, this is a great place to start.

6. Stand Down Texas

The State of Texas represents about 7 percent of the U.S. population--and about 35 percent of U.S. executions. This is in line with Texas' archetypal history as a tough-on-crime state with eye-for-an-eye frontier justice. Stand Down Texas works to end the death penalty in the state that executes more inmates than any other in the country.

7. Sister Helen Prejean's Blog

Sister Helen is the nation's leading advocate for abolition of the death penalty--but more than that, as anyone who has heard her speak in person will say without equivocation, she is a prophet. This author of the book Dead Man Walking (which later became a top-grossing film starring Susan Sarandon) gives over 140 lectures a year, and doesn't get to spend much time updating her blog. Keep up with it anyway. It's worth the wait.

8. Project Hope

196 people currently sit on death row in Alabama, home of the infamous "Scottsboro Boys" case. Project Hope works for the abolition of Alabama's death penalty, which still carries echoes of its less-than-glorious past: Some 103 of the 196 death row inmates are African-American, and many have inadequate legal representation.

9. Not One More

This promising new blog, maintained by Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, is catching a lot of attention from death penalty activists. Although it focuses primarily on Virginia's capital cases, it also deals intelligently with national news and trends.

10. The Lonely Abolitionist

This attorney is a lot less lonely now that she's joined the bloggers over at the higher-profile Abolish the Death Penalty site, but her personal blog is still well worth a visit. With running tallies of recent and upcoming executions, and plenty of thoughtful commentary on the meaning of capital punishment, this is a blog well worth reading for the archives alone.
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