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January 4, 2005

The machinery of death being turned back on

As I noted here, this past December was the first month without an execution in the United States since July 1994.  And, since the final execution of 2004 was in mid-November, we have now had the longest execution-free period in the US since May-July 1992 when a full two months elapsed without an execution.

However, as detailed in this AP report, it appears the death penalty will be back in business on Tuesday as the state of Texas plans to execute James Porter, who was sentenced to death for fatally beating a child molester while in prison for another killing.  As the article explains, "[a]t Porter's request, no appeals were pending in the courts and no clemency petition was filed with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles."

Meanwhile, as noted in this thoughtful New York Times article, in another section of Texas' death row are defendants who committed their crimes as juveniles and are now awaiting to see if a ruling from the Supreme Court in Roper (background here and here) might spare their lives.  The NY Times article explores the crimes and backgrounds of a few of the 72 juvenile killers currently on death row in the United States, and it suggests that "a look at the cases of some of the juvenile offenders now on death row raises questions about how reliable and consistent juries have been in making those decisions."

January 4, 2005 at 02:34 AM | Permalink

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