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Vigilance in the Defense of Liberty and Freedom
On May 3, 2013, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed SB276 officially repealing the state’s death penalty. With this act, Maryland became the sixth state in six years to abolish the death penalty. In total, 18 states in the U.S., including Maryland, have abolished the death penalty.
LDF Reaches New Agreement with State of Connecticut in Landmark Educational Equity Case Sheff v. O’Neill4/30/13
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) joined its co-counsel in signing an agreement with the Connecticut State Department of Education to further the implementation of desegregation remedies required by Sheff v. O’Neill, the landmark Connecticut Supreme Court case which required the State to end the racial and ethnic segregation faced by Hartford area schoolchildren.
LDF Co-Chair David Mills has fought to secure justice for people sentenced to life in prison for non-violent, non-serious crimes under California’s “Three Strikes” law. First through the work of the Stanford Law School Three Strikes Project, which he founded, Mills obtained representation for individuals challenging their life sentences. Then Mills led the successful effort to pass Proposition 36, the ballot initiative that eliminated future life sentences for non-violent, non-serious crimes, and gave individuals currently serving such sentences a path to release.
Author Gilbert King, Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction visited LDF's offices in New York, where he was congratulated by LDF's staff. King's book Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America, recounts the story of an alleged rape in Lake County, Florida in 1949 and the effort by a vicious and racist sheriff to railroad four young black men. LDF Director-Counsel Thurgood Marshall worked tirelessly in defense of Walter Irvin, one of the young men who was brutally beaten and who faced the death penalty for the alleged rape. Despite the lack of evidence that a rape occurred, and strong evidence that Sheriff Willis McCall and his deputies viciously beat and framed the young men, Irvin was only saved from the Florida electric chair by a Governor's pardon after 3 long years of zealous defense by Marshall and the Legal Defense Fund. In the meantime, Harry Moore, a brilliant and respected NAACP leader in Brevard County, Florida and his wife were killed when a bomb planted under their house exploded on Christmas Eve in 1950. Moore's involvement in support of Marshall's defense of the "Groveland boys" is largely believed to be the motivation for local Ku Klux Klansmen.
The Editorial board of the New York Times today highlighted the unintended consequences of placing police officers in the nation’s schools, and warned school districts that are considering adding police on school campuses to think twice before doing so. The editorial mentions a federal civil rights complaint filed by LDF and the National Center for Youth Law on behalf of our clients Texas Appleseed and the Brazos County branch of the N.A.A.C.P.