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November 6, 2006

More on the modern politics of the death penalty

I noted here the usual death penalty dynamics in the Maryland Senate race, in which a Republican candidate criticizing the Democratic candidate for not being against the death penalty.  There is, of course, a lot more to be said about the current national pulse on the death penalty, and Ward Campbell, a state prosecutor in California, has allowed me to post his recent e-mail to me on the topic:

The South Dakota poll supporting the death penalty is of a piece with what is going on in Wisconsin -- a state that has not had a death penalty since the middle of the 19th century.  Tomorrow, Wisconsin voters will actually vote on a non-binding, advisory referendum concerning imposing the death penalty if the defendant is convicted of first degree murder on the basis of DNA evidence.

It is significant that Wisconsin is voting on this issue at all. What is even more remarkable is that polls show the referendum passing easily. On a similar note, New Hampshire (which has a Death Penalty law, but no one on Death Row) is now gearing up for its first death penalty prosecution in about 70 years. 

These events are worth noting because of the recent efforts of death penalty opponents.  The focus on the number of alleged exonerations of Death Row inmates, for instance, has not provoked a movement to abolish the death penalty.  Rather, Wisconsin's referendum shows that the reaction will be to simply heighten the standards by which guilt and eligibility are assessed in imposing the death penalty.

November 6, 2006 at 01:45 PM | Permalink

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» Doug Berman Commentary from StandDown Texas Project
Doug Berman has commentary, and an e-mail from a prosecutor, on death penalty politics in a variety of states this year. LINKI noted here the usual death penalty dynamics in the Maryland Senate race, in which a Republican candidate criticizing [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 6, 2006 3:53:40 PM

Comments

You will wake up one day, and it will be gone.

Posted by: Scott Taylor | Nov 6, 2006 5:34:17 PM

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