MONDAY: ACLU Puts the Kansas Death Penalty on Trial
Multi-day hearing beginning Mon. Feb. 6
WHAT: The ACLU’s Capital Punishment Project, together with the ACLU of Kansas and the law firms of Hogan Lovells and Ali & Lockwood, is challenging the constitutionality of the Kansas death penalty under the state and U.S. Constitutions.
In the multi-day hearing, we will argue that the Kansas death penalty:
- is racially discriminatory in its application and in the jury selection process,
- is exceedingly rare and unfairly applied, and
- serves no valid purpose — it doesn't deter homicides, it is more costly than alternatives, and it risks the execution of innocent people.
Taken together, the Kansas death penalty cannot survive any level of constitutional scrutiny, and should be found unconstitutional.
Experts will provide testimony about:
- the effect of excluding Black jurors — especially Black women — from capital juries;
- how racial bias impacts when and whether the death penalty is sought, especially when the accused person is a Black man, and the victim is a white woman;
- the history of lynching and racial terror in Kansas, and how it impacts the present-day death penalty;
- the ineffectiveness of the death penalty in deterring violent crime;
- the expense of maintaining the death penalty, with no public safety benefit;
- the risk of wrongful conviction in capital cases
The attached fact sheet provides additional detail about our arguments, and links to expert reports.
Kansas has not carried out an execution since 1965. There are nine people on death row — three of them (a third) are Black men, in a state with a Black population of six percent.
WHEN: A multi-day hearing beginning on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023.
WHERE: The multi-day hearing will be held in-person at
Sedgwick County Courthouse
525 N. Main Street, 9th floor
Wichita, KS 67203
WHO: Lawyers from the ACLU will be available for interviews at the end of court each day.
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About the ACLU of Kansas: The ACLU of Kansas is the statewide affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU of Kansas is dedicated to preserving and advancing the civil rights and legal freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For more information, visit our website at www.aclukansas.org.