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Hello, and welcome to the February 2022 issue of the Focus.


Join us for the Death Penalty Focus 30th (Virtual) Awards Event on March 24!

2021 was an important year in the ever-growing movement to abolish the death penalty, not just here in the U.S. but also around the world. And on Thursday, March 24, at 6 p.m. (Pacific), 9 p.m. (Eastern), at our 30th (Virtual) Awards Event, we will honor the men and women whose tireless efforts to end capital punishment contributed to significant victories last year.


California Gov. Gavin Newsom to close death row

California’s death row, the largest in the Western Hemisphere, will be dismantled. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced earlier this month that the state will expand a two-year-old pilot program, resulting in the transfer of most, if not all, of the 694 men and women currently on death row to lower-level security prisons throughout the state.


50 Years Ago, California Abolished the Death Penalty

Fifty years ago this month, on February 18, 1972, California abolished the death penalty. But it didn’t stay abolished. As Oakland lawyer Bob Bacon explains, “The lesson for us is that we have two tasks: abolish the death penalty, and keep it abolished.”


The Case of Melissa Lucio is a terrible miscarriage of justice

It’s not all that surprising, but still horrifying, that Melissa Lucio will become the sixth likely innocent person executed by Texas if the state goes ahead with its plan to execute her on April 27.


In brief: February 2022

From Alabama to Wyoming, the flaws and brutality of the death penalty were on full display as state officials continued to tinker with the machinery of death.


While we’re on the subject . . .

A CBS News’ “48 Hours” review of the innocence investigation into the death penalty conviction of Kevin Cooper, ordered by Gov. Newsom almost a year ago, and how it is hampered by old evidence and now-deceased witnesses, and a report by the Brennan Center for Justice on the progress of President Biden’s pledge to reform the federal justice system, are just two of our reading suggestions this month.


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