The Louisiana Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty is a grassroots coalition dedicated to achieving non-violent and effective alternatives to the death penalty. We recognize that Louisiana’s death penalty is socially, racially and economically unjust. We believe that the state’s limited resources should be channeled into local communities to prevent crime and better support families affected by murder.
Executions in Louisiana on hold until at least January 2018
The State of Louisiana has asked for a delay until at least January 2018 in the federal lawsuit challenging the state's method of execution. The request was granted in June, 2016 by the judge presiding over the case.
From Della Hasselle at The Lens:
'[Christopher] Sepulvado and another death-row inmate, Jessie Hoffman, are named in the filing, but the ruling affects all inmates on death row. The state can’t execute anyone until its method is examined in federal court as part of a lawsuit brought by the inmates against the state Department of Corrections...
As part of that lawsuit, Sepulvado wants to learn exactly how he will be put to death. The state has fought such disclosures in the lawsuit and in response to public-records requests.
Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office on Tuesday asked for the delay because the facts “continue to be in a fluid state.”'
Read more about the lethal injection lawsuit at the website of the Promise of Justice Initiative.
New Yorker Article: "Revenge Killing: Race and the death penalty in a Louisiana parish"
The New Yorker has published an in-depth look at the death penalty in Caddo Parish, which is responsible for more death sentences in the past five years than any other jurisdiction in Louisiana.
In a piece titled, "Revenge Killing: Race and the death penalty in a Louisiana parish," author Rachel Aviv examines the case of Rodricus Crawford, an African-American man who was recently sentenced to death in Caddo for the murder of his one-year-old son. The District Attorney's office pursued charges against Crawford even after receiving a medical report that suggested the victim actually died of pneumonia.
The forensic pathologist who authored that report told Aviv that there “wasn’t enough evidence to even put this before a jury. You didn’t have anybody who thought this guy committed murder except for one pathologist who decided that it was homicide on what seemed like a whim.”
Aviv notes that 77% of people sentenced to death in Caddo in the past 40 years have been black, and nearly half were convicted of killing white victims. A white person has never been sentenced to death for killing a black person.
Read the full story here: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/06/revenge-killing
Legislative Commission to Study the Death Penalty
Louisiana's Capital Punishment Fiscal Impact Commission, which was established by the legislature in 2014, is continuing to study the costs associated with the state's death penalty system. Subcommittees were created to examine costs related to the prosecution, defense, and housing of defendants in capital cases compared to non-capital cases. In Louisiana, first-degree murder carries possible penalties of death or life in prison without the possibility of parole. You can read more about the creation of the commission here.