On October 9th, 2018, Margarette May Macaulay, President of the IACHR, writes to Governor Brown urging effective relief for Kevin Cooper, including the review of his trial and sentence.

In view of the urgency of the matter, and of the irreversibility of the punishment of the death penalty, I call upon your Excellency as a matter or urgency to take all of the measures available to comply with the recommendations of the IACHR.”

2018-10-09 – IACHR President’s letter to Gov. Brown

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., their mission is to promote, protect, and examine allegations of human rights violations in the American hemisphere.

On April 29th 2011, Kevin Cooper filed a petition with the IACHR alleging human rights violations in his prosecution, trial, sentencing and appeals. On August 23, 2011, having briefly reviewed the petition, the IACHR issued a letter to the United States that requested “precautionary measures” such that Cooper not be executed while the IACHR undertook its investigation of Cooper’s petition. The United States apparently ignored the IACHR’s letter. Kevin Cooper’s attorneys then presented extensive evidence to the IACHR and briefing as to how Kevin Cooper’s human rights had been violated.

On October 28, 2013 the IACHR convened a hearing on Kevin Cooper’s petition. Cooper appeared by a pre-recorded statement and his attorneys presented their arguments on how Cooper’s human rights had been infringed. Representing the United States were attorneys from the U.S. State Department. After the hearing, the United States requested time to file a brief in opposition to the the evidence in Cooper’s petition and presented at the hearing. After the United States filed its opposition brief, Kevin Cooper filed a reply pointing out inaccuracies in the United States’ presentation.

In September 2015, the IACHR released its report on its findings with respect to Kevin Cooper’s clemency petition. That report found eight (8) separate due process violations in Cooper’s prosecution, trial and sentencing. It also found that Cooper’s trial counsel had been ineffective and cited evidence that there had been racial bias in the proceedings that led to Cooper’s conviction and sentence. The report concluded with a list of recommendations for granting Kevin Cooper effective relief, including a review of his trial and sentence in accordance with the guarantees of due process of law. As the report states:

In evaluating the information on the record, the Inter-American Commission concludes that the manner in which certain evidence pertinent to the basis for Mr. Cooper’s capital conviction was treated in the course of his criminal proceedings and the ineffective defense provided by a court-appointed counsel, failed to meet the rigorous standard of due process applicable in capital cases and amounted to a denial of justice contrary to the fair trial and due process standards.”

IACHR Report Final 9-12-13

Read the IACHR Report Final:

IACHR Report Final 9-12-15


IACHR Hearing Transcript 10.28.13


IACHR Report 7.21.15


U.S. IACHR Response

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