2013 Death Penalty Report

2013 Death Penalty Report


In May 2013, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) undertook a fact-finding mission in California and Louisiana to evaluate the death penalty as practiced and experienced in these jurisdictions under a human rights framework. The mission examined whether the death penalty was being applied in a discriminatory manner, and if the conditions on death row met the U.S.’s obligation to prevent and prohibit torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

The mission interviewed death-row prisoners, exonerees and their family members, advocates, legal counsel, and non-governmental organizations in both states, analyzing the information gathered against the backdrop of international human rights law. Based on the interviews conducted and documentary review, the mission concludes that the use of the death penalty in California and Louisiana fails to protect a number of basic rights, rendering the United States in breach of certain fundamental international obligations. Specifically, the mission finds California and Louisiana violate the principle of non-discrimination in the charging, conviction and sentencing of persons to death. Both states treat prisoners condemned to death in a manner that is, at minimum, cruel, inhuman or degrading, and in some cases, constitutes torture.

Read the Executive Summary.

Download the full report.

“Everything here is about death. . . . The thought of being executed, you don’t ever get used to that.”

-- Kevin Cooper
prisoner on death row



On October 9th, CCR participated in a panel discussion on the report at the Washington College of Law.

Click here to watch video of the Panel Discussion.



The U.S. Tortures Before it Kills: An Examination of the Death Row Experience from a Human Rights Perspective

Related News

Torture on Death Row (Huffington Post, 10/2013)

Death Row: America's Torture Chamber (The Guardian, 10/2011)

The Death Penalty is a Human Rights Abuse (Huffington Post, 10/2010)

Learn More

Prisoners' Voices
Kevin Cooper, California death row inmate

Kevin Cooper's Op-Ed: "Awaiting Execution is ‘A Living Death’" The San Diego Union-Tribune, Oct 11, 2013

Jarvis Jay Masters, California death row inmate


Last modified 

October 25, 2013