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October 9, 2007

ABA releases another mondo state death penalty report

Pennsylvania has only executed three defendants in the last 30 years, and has not executed anyone in nearly a decade.  (Also, I believe all of the defendants executed in Pennsylvania have been volunteers.) But the apparent inefficacy of capital punishment in Pennsylvania did not stop the American Bar Association's extraordinary Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project from producing yet another mega-report documenting problems in the operation of capital justice in the Keystone State.

Over at CDW, Karl Keys has this lengthy post summarizing the ABA's lengthy report; he also has links to some of the media coverage of the report.  As I have said before (and will surely say again), every time these massive reports come out, I cannot help but wish the ABA (and the media and many others) would devote a little less time to the sentences of capital murderers and a little more time at the sentences given to defendants convicted of all the less serious crimes.

Some prior posts (and concerns) about the ABA's moratorium project:

October 9, 2007 at 02:50 PM | Permalink


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Regular crimes don't have the cachet of the death penalty. That's why the ABA trolls don't pay as much attention. Why worry about some crack dealer when there's Mumia to save.

Posted by: federalist | Oct 9, 2007 3:22:55 PM


I would seriously request you post an open invite for practitioners to list (with maybe a permalink on the side) sentencing problems. I don't think I am the only one that believes several judges and at least one Justice's chambers visit here. I would love to see cert granted, for example, on whether LWOP for very young juv's (14 and below) violates the 8th Amendment.

Posted by: anon | Oct 9, 2007 8:23:34 PM

And once again, while I sympathize with the plea for greater professional and public attention to the parlous state of sentencing generally, one has to make the point that there is a continuum here, with capital sentencing at the top. While that continues to be hopelessly and viciously skewed beyond the levels needed to secure the safety of the public and to reflect the modern day sense of decency, mercy and humanity, all else suffers the high level of ratchet those policies and attitudes have engendered. Tinkering will not suffice to put things right - there needs to be a seed change in the philosophy of crime and punishment in the US.

Posted by: peter | Oct 10, 2007 3:37:26 AM

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