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December 13, 2008

More headlines showing the continuing death of the death penalty

It is hard to read the newspapers (on-line, of course) without seeing more and more headlines showing how the death penalty is continuing to die a slow death.  Here are the headlines of note just from today's papers:

  • From the AP here, "Atlanta courthouse gunman avoids death sentence"
  • From the New York Times here, "U.S. Reverses Death Penalty Bid in Drug Case"
  • From the Washington Post here, "Panel Seeks End To Death Penalty"

What is especially notable about these stories is the diverse set of institutional players all migrating away from the punishment of death.  The AP story reports on a jury unable to return a death sentence in a high-profile state case.  The Times reports on the US Attorney General deciding not to pursue a death sentence in a high-profile federal case.  And the Post reports on a Maryland Commission urging that state's legislature to abolish the death penalty.

December 13, 2008 at 11:34 AM | Permalink


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I am curious about the race and gender of the three holdouts for life in Atlanta. In my last several capital trials I am seeing a growing reluctance or outright refusal of black females to impose death, usually on religious grounds. I think it is growing to the proportion that it is implicating the Sixth Amendment right of a fair cross section of the community. In my opinion, death qualification of the jury is a culling of the venire, not the petit jury, and therefore the fair cross section right applies.

Bruce Cunningham

Posted by: | Dec 13, 2008 10:56:55 PM

That sounds nice, Bruce, but the prosecution is entitled to a jury that would follow the law and not be prejudiced.

Posted by: | Dec 14, 2008 11:06:50 AM

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