Marshall Project Originals
When Wizards and Orcs Came to Death Row
For men awaiting execution in Texas, illicit games of Dungeons & Dragons became a lifeline.
Would a Death Sentence Help The Parkland Families Heal?
Outrage around the school shooter’s sentence reveals tensions between what some victims’ families want and the justice system’s limits.
The Supreme Court Let The Death Penalty Flourish. Now Americans are Ending It Themselves.
As Roe v. Wade ends, a look back at how the court reversed itself on capital punishment — spurring an anti-death penalty movement.
The Return of the Firing Squad?
With a scarcity of lethal injection drugs, South Carolina has brought back an archaic execution method. In other states, men on death row are asking for it.
Everyone on Death Row Gets a Lawyer. Not Everyone Gets a Kim Kardashian.
The case of Rodney Reed — whose innocence claims were championed by the reality TV star — raises questions about celebrities’ role in the criminal justice system.
They Are Terminally Ill. States Want To Execute Them Anyway.
“I don’t understand trying to kill somebody who is already dying,” says the sister of Idaho death-row prisoner Gerald Pizzuto.
Can The Death Penalty Be Fixed? These Republicans Think So
A growing number of conservative lawmakers want to overhaul capital punishment, or end it.
Death Penalty for Mass Shooters? Depends On Where They Strike.
The men arrested in recent killings in Atlanta, Boulder, Colorado, and Orange, California, could face very different sentences if convicted.
How Biden Can Reverse Trump’s Death Penalty Expansion
Biden vowed to end the death penalty. A recent court filing suggests where he might start.
What 120 Executions Tell Us About Criminal Justice in America
The Marshall Project tracked every execution in America for more than five years. For condemned people, the path to death grew longer, more winding and erratic.
The Case That Made Texas the Death Penalty Capital
In an excerpt from his new book, ‘Let the Lord Sort Them,’ Marshall Project staff writer Maurice Chammah explains where a 1970s legal team fighting the death penalty went wrong.
A $6,300 Bus. A $33 Last Meal. What New Documents Tell Us About Trump’s Execution Spree
Feds spent millions to restart the death penalty and in the process revealed much about how they do it.
What Lisa Montgomery Has In Common With Many On Death Row: Extensive Trauma.
Mental illness, childhood abuse and brain injuries affect a large share of those who face the death penalty.
Witnesses to the Execution
An oral history of the first federal execution under Donald Trump, as told by victims’ relatives, prison staff, and others.
They Agreed to Meet Their Mother’s Killer. Then Tragedy Struck Again.
A Florida family opted for restorative justice over the death penalty for the man who murdered their mom. What happened next made them question the very meaning of justice.
New Hope for People Who Claim Racism Tainted Their Death Sentence
The North Carolina state Supreme Court has upheld the controversial Racial Justice Act, which opponents repealed in 2013
How Coronavirus is Disrupting the Death Penalty
Colorado abolished capital punishment. But COVID-19 is pausing it everywhere else.
The Navajo Nation Opposed His Execution. The U.S. Plans to Do It Anyway.
How Lezmond Mitchell became the only Native American on federal death row.
Racism Tainted Their Trials. Should They Still Be Executed?
North Carolina Supreme Court hearings raise broad questions of systemic bias in the state judicial system.
More than a year ago, Nevada death row prisoner Scott Dozier gave up his legal appeals and asked to be executed. He’s still waiting.
Scott Dozier Still Wants to be Executed. And He's Still Waiting.
After forcing Nevada into a legal battle over its lethal injection drugs, an execution “volunteer” says the state is punishing him.
He Pocketed His Victims’ Organs. Was His Death Penalty Trial Fair?
As Andre Thomas faces execution for three gory murders, a court questions jury bias and his competency.
What’s Behind the Decline in the Death Penalty?
A new book explores the slow demise of the ultimate punishment.
How Obama Disappointed on the Death Penalty
Two commutations this week was less than many had hoped for.
How Mexico Saves Its Citizens from the Death Penalty in the U.S.
A fund is designated to train, pay and advise American defense lawyers.
The Bogus Murder Confession That Changed How I Investigate Family Violence
A prosecutor on the case he’ll never forget.
Can Courtroom Prejudice Be Proved?
The Supreme Court considers what it takes to show that prosecutors, when they pick juries, are discriminating against minorities.
What It’s Like to Almost Get Executed
San Quentin inmate Kevin Cooper on watching the minutes tick away on his life.
It’s Been 40 Years Since the Supreme Court Tried to Fix the Death Penalty — Here’s How It Failed
A close look at the grand compromise of 1976.
My Regrets as a Juror Who Sent a Man to Death Row
“If I could have done anything, it would have been to deadlock the jury, but I didn’t have the personal strength to do that.”
Is it O.K. to Quote Scripture When the Death Penalty Is at Stake?
Some judges say yes, some say no. Care to second guess?
Where the Democratic Presidential Candidates Stand on Criminal Justice
A look at Clinton, Sanders and O’Malley in their fourth debate.
A New Blow to Florida’s Death Penalty
The U.S. Supreme Court says state judges cannot sentence death without a jury’s mandate
Could One of These Cases Spell the End of the Death Penalty?
Abolitionists seek the perfect case for a Supreme Court challenge.
Raphael Holiday was Put to Death, and His Lawyers Should Have Tried Harder to Stop It
Gretchen Sween was hired a month before Holiday was executed. This is what she saw.
Highlights From Our Death Penalty Discussion
Journalists Liliana Segura, Gabriel Dance and Maurice Chammah took your questions about the death penalty and criminal justice reporting. Here are some of the highlights.
The Death Penalty in 2015
Join us for a chat on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. about the state of the death penalty in 2015, and what's to come in 2016
The Unfolding Campaign to Save the Death Penalty
Supporters rally around a more efficient system of execution.
The Odds of Overturning the Death Penalty
The man who helped topple it (briefly) in 1972 gauges the likelihood of success.
Exclusive: Obama Calls the Death Penalty “Deeply Troubling.”
A one-on-one interview with the president.
In the Execution Business, Missouri Is Surging
Defense lawyers call it a crisis; the state says it’s just doing its job.
A Second Jailhouse Snitch Claims a Secret Deal With Texas Prosecutor
Another death penalty case, another accusation of misconduct.
How Nebraska Repealed the Death Penalty
A deep-red state shows the way, with conservatives in the lead.
A Death Penalty Case, or Just Bullying?
High Court’s conservatives bridle at ‘guerilla’ tactics of ‘abolitionist’ movement.
Asking the Right Questions About the Death Penalty
The incoming head of the Death Penalty Information Center on the time he was a potential juror in a capital case.
The $14 Million Death Sentence
Louisiana tried to sentence five men to death for the murder of a prison guard. It wasn’t cheap.
Reflections on Roper
On the 10th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision about juveniles and the death penalty, what has really changed?
Fit to be Killed?
The impending execution of a decorated soldier shows the limits of the PTSD defense.