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PJI Files Amicus Brief in Glossip v. Gross

The Promise of Justice Initiative filed an amicus brief in Glossip v. Gross on the broad national consensus against the use of midazolam in lethal injection.   There is a broad national consensus against the use of midazolam as part of a state’s execution protocol.   Only four states have experimented with  the use of midazolam.  The experiment has resulted in a number of botched executions.  The vast majority of jurisdictions have either abolished the death penalty legislatively, suspended its use by moratorium, or in practice stopped making the determination who should live and who should die.  The PJI brief asks the court to take note of this broad consensus, and to ensure that capital punishment, where it is still administered, is done so in a manner that reflects on the dignity both of the state imposing capital punishment and the condemned defendant. 

PJI Files Lawsuit Alleging the Department of Public Safety and Corrections Violated State Open Meetings Laws

On March 17, 2015, PJI filed a lawsuit on behalf of Sidney Garmon, Director of the Louisiana Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, alleging that the Department of Public Safety and Corrections violated state Open Meetings Laws by excluding the public from committee meetings held to comply with HR 142, a House Resolution directing the Department to determine the “most humane methods” of execution. The committee included the Secretary, Warden Cain, five other department employees and two lawyers from a law firm that represents the DOC . The committee met at least seven times in secret, with no public notice or opportunity for input. It ultimately determined that Louisiana should execute its prisoners by lethal gas, and that the death penalty in Louisiana should involve more secrecy. Ms. Garmon was excluded from these meetings and prevented from doing an important aspect of her work as Director, which is to work with policymakers to reform the death penalty and implement alternatives to this costly and arbitrary punishment. 

Calvin Duncan and Denise LeBoeuf speak at Loyola University's National Lawyers Guild's Panel on the Death Penalty

Calvin Duncan, the Program Director of the Light of Justice Project, spoke to a group at Loyola Law School about the death penalty.  The panel discussion was part of the Student Week Against the Death Penalty 2015 put on by Loyola New Orleans Chapter of the National Lawyer's Guild.  The other member on the panel was PJI Board member, Denise LeBoeuf.  Both spoke about the unconstitutional manner in which the death penalty is administered in Louisiana.  Denise LeBoeuf spoke about her many years of experience advocating for people sentenced to death, and Calvin Duncan spoke about his own experience having faced the death penalty and his many years of advocating for the men on death row as a prisoner at the Louisiana State Penitentiary.

PJI in the Community: 5 Years of Preserving Life on Death Row

PJI co-hosted an event to celebrate 5 years without executions in Louisiana. The event raised a toast to all of the allies and partners who have worked hard to end capital punishment in Louisiana, spoke with community members about the next steps toward abolition, and sent messages of hope to incarcerated men and women fighting for their lives on death row.