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Articles by David C Fathi

Shouldn’t Innocence Matter?

By David Fathi

On August 17, the US Supreme Court ordered a lower federal court in Georgia to conduct a hearing in the case of Troy Anthony Davis. Davis has been on Georgia’s death row for 18 years, sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of an off-duty Savannah ...

Custody Vs. Treatment Debate: Addicted to Punishment

By David Fathi
U.S. program director, Human Rights Watch

American and Canadian societies are similar in many ways – people eat the same foods, watch the same movies, listen to the same music, and make many visits across the border. But these similarities conceal profound differences. For one, the U ...

Prison’s Littlest Victims

By David Fathi

The US criminal justice system may be on the verge of its biggest overhaul in decades. Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) is sponsoring a bill to establish a blue-ribbon commission to conduct a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system and make recommendations for reform. Legislation has been ...

An unfair prison litigation system

By David Fathi | August 25, 2009

IN 2004, a teenage girl incarcerated at the Illinois Youth Center in Warrenville was sexually abused by a male employee at the facility. The abuse consisted of repeated acts of oral sex and sexual intercourse. There was no doubt that the abuse occurred, and ...

Texas Increasingly out of Step on Death Penalty

By David Fathi
Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle
May 23, 2009, 3:44PM

Barring unexpected events, in the next few weeks Gov. Rick Perry of Texas will oversee his 200th execution since taking office in 2000. Perry has already allowed more executions than any other U.S. governor in modern history ...

32 Years on Death Row

By David C. Fathi

When William Lee Thompson committed the murder that landed him on Florida's death row, Gerald Ford was president. Thompson has now been incarcerated for almost 33 years, most of it under sentence of death. He has spent much of that time in isolation 23 hours ...

Prison Nation

By David C. Fathi

It's become a depressingly predictable event. Every few months, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), a branch of the US Department of Justice, releases new figures showing that the US prison and jail population has grown yet again and has reached a new all-time high ...

Executing the Innocent?

By David C. Fathi



At 7 p.m. on September 23, the state of Georgia plans to execute Troy Anthony Davis. That by itself is unremarkable; Georgia has carried out 42 executions since 1983, including two since May of this year. What makes this case different are the serious questions ...

Obama Administration Contends Prisoner Has No Right to DNA Testing

By David C. Fathi

DNA testing is a uniquely powerful crime-solving tool. Testing crime scene evidence using new and advanced techniques has solved many previously unsolved crimes, leading to the arrest and conviction of rapists and other violent criminals. Just as important, DNA testing has exonerated at least 232 innocent ...

Separate and Unequal Justice for Prisoners

By David C. Fathi

S.Z., a resident in a juvenile detention facility, was raped and repeatedly beaten by other detainees over a period of months. Some staff encouraged the beatings and would arrange fights between detainees. But when S.Z. filed suit against state officials, his case was dismissed ...