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February 12, 2006

Another lethal litigation update

The Kansas City Star has two informative pieces about an on-going lethal injection scrummage: this piece details that an Eighth Circuit panel will hear oral argument in April in the Missouri litigation, and this piece discusses more broadly the law and facts surrounding challenges to the constitutionality of lethal injection.

Meanwhile, in this Baltimore Sun commentary, Professor Steven P. Grossman explores whether capital punishment is worth all the trouble it produces: "We have long debated whether capital punishment is just. It is time we ask whether it is worth the price that we pay for it."

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UPDATE:  The always effective Death Penalty Information Center now has this helpful summary of all the lethal injection litigation developments, which details that SCOTUS involvement has led to stays in four case and allowed executions to go forward in four other cases.

February 12, 2006 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Grossman's piece simply accepts as given that the present protracted appeals are a necessary price for capital punishment. If I accepted the premise, I might agree, but I do not. In the absence of an realistic question of identity of the perpetrator, a single full and fair review of the penalty phase is sufficient.

We can and should simply eliminate repeated reviews of questions having no bearing on the reliability of the guilt verdict. That would eliminate the bulk of the litigation in the bulk of the cases. Five years from sentence to execution would be a realistic target for the median case, if we did it right.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Feb 12, 2006 3:09:17 PM

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