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April 29, 2005

Dynamic death penalty debates

I am back at my office desk, and though I am still thinking about ideas developed during this terrific Illinois Booker Roundtable (some of which I may get a chance to share shortly as a participant in this teleseminar with Judge Cassell and Professor Kerr), I see that there are a number of dynamic death penalty debates on-going in various fora.

In Massachusetts, as this New York Times article details, "Governor Mitt Romney introduced a bill on Thursday that would bring back capital punishment to Massachusetts, and would do so by creating a death penalty that he said was virtually foolproof."  This bill is based on the interesting report produced by a death penalty commission that Romney created and charged with devising a  "foolproof" death penalty system for Massachusetts.  (That report, which was the basis for my very first blog post, can be accessed here.)

In Iowa, as detailed in this article, the state Senate has been debating reinstating the death penalty as part of a sex offender sentencing bill, which was developed in response to the abduction and slaying of a 10–year–old Cedar Rapids girl.  And just as the state death penalty proposal stalled, Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, as detailed in this article, introduced federal legislation that would make the death penalty applicable in the federal conviction of sex offenders who kill children.

These state debates have prompted a blogger debate about the death penalty involving Tung Yin and Christine Hurt.  The blogsphere is also keeping up with the latest Connecticut developments concerning death penalty volunteer Michael Ross: Gideon provides the latest news and Norm Pattis provides very sharp commentary.

Finally, I was intrigued to see, from Nevada, this very article detailing that the "state Senate voted 15-6 Thursday to give final legislative approval to a measure bringing Nevada into line with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that abolished the death penalty for killers who commit capital crimes as minors."  It is interesting to think about whether this vote, which seems mostly symbolic in the wake of Roper, might be viewed as bolstering the Court's arguably shaky claims in Roper about a national consensus against executing juveniles.

April 29, 2005 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

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» MA seeks to reinstate the death penalty from a Public Defender
Prof. Berman at SL & P has a roundup of other death penalty news in the country. I just read this NYT article about MA seeking to reinstate the death penalty (well, it's mostly the Governor). Gov. Romney calls it, rather unabashedly, as foolproof as ... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 30, 2005 11:32:12 AM

» MA seeks to reinstate the death penalty from a Public Defender
Prof. Berman at SL & P has a roundup of other death penalty news in the country. I just read this NYT article about MA seeking to reinstate the death penalty (well, it's mostly the Governor). Gov. Romney calls it, rather unabashedly, as foolproof as ... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 30, 2005 11:33:42 AM

Comments

The proposed MA law does have some interesting provisions such as DNA evidence, two different juries and more than two attorneys.

Ofcourse, as such bills go, it also has a really bad provision - defendants currently serving life sentences for first-degree murder would be eligible for the death penalty. It seems that they forgot about the Ex-Post Facto clause.

Posted by: Gideon | Apr 30, 2005 11:28:45 AM

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