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February 5, 2010

"The Undiscovered Country: Execution Competency & Comprehending Death"

The title of this post is the title of this new piece by Jeffrey L. Kirchmeier now available on SRRN. Here is the abstract:

The United States Supreme Court has not created a clear Eighth Amendment standard to determine whether or not a capital defendant is competent to be executed. Justice Thomas best summarized the confusion about the Court’s jurisprudence in this area when he criticized the 2007 majority’s opinion in Panetti v. Quarterman as “a half-baked holding.”

This Article addresses one execution competency issue that has been left open by the Court: the question of to what extent a mentally ill capital defendant must understand the concept of death.  In other words, to be competent to be executed, must a mentally ill defendant comprehend that execution means the end of one’s physical life?

This Article considers the historical development of the ban on executing the insane, a ban with a murky history that has been passed down from medieval times and through Blackstone and English common law to modern day international law.  Because of a long historical pedigree, the Supreme Court essentially accepted the ban as a constitutional given in 1986.

The justifications for the ban, however, need to be the foundation for fashioning a standard out of the Court’s opinions.  The Article examines the Supreme Court precedent regarding the ban, statutory definitions of competency, and the other court decisions that have begun to consider whether or not there should be a requirement that a mentally ill defendant can comprehend the end of life to be competent.  The Article examines the policies behind the ban, and it uses them to conclude that the history and precedent require a death comprehension standard.  The Article proposes a standard that is consistent with the historical underpinnings of the ban on executing the insane and that is consistent with Supreme Court precedent.

February 5, 2010 at 04:18 PM | Permalink

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These are more criminal lovers trying to find excuses to abolish or limit the death penalty. They hypocrites. They also care nothing for murder victims.

1) Dangerousness. About 2000 people are executed by paranoid schizophrenics, each year. Many are strangers whom the paranoid has misidentified as an oppressor. The latest famous one was at V Tech, where a paranoid schizophrenic, lawyer immunized from forced treatment, killed several dozens.

That shows the mentally ill are more dangerous. The sole value of the death penalty, incapacitation, applies to the mentally ill far more than it does to the contract killer.

2) Intent. The conduct of the mentally ill is no more nor less biologically determined than that of anyone else. If mental illness is to serve as an excuse, then Prof. Berman should return his salary, as undeserved, due to the biological basis of his great intellect. The DP is not a punishment. It is a tool for public safety by incapacitation.

3) The mentally ill cannot demand equal rights, actually extract special privileges from productive entities at the point of a gun, then refuse responsibilities for their crimes.

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Posted by: Foreclosure Assistance | Feb 8, 2010 5:14:14 AM

DEAR JOHN ROBERTS ~ GOD'S MANDATE WITH YOUR U.S. SUPREME COURT SHOULD NOT INCLUDE POSSIBLE FALSE EXECUTIONS OF POOR AMERICANS ??

TROY DAVIS & MUMIA ABU-JAMAL PLEASE REMEMBER ~ JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF ALSO HAD 2 DEAL WITH ......

OUR U.S.CONGRESS HAS DOCUMENTED OUR UNJUST AMERICAN JUDICIAL SYSTEM AND WE STILL HAVE CERTAIN AMERICANS EVEN TODAY WANTING TO RUN THE RISK OF EXECUTING EVEN POSSIBLE INNOCENT CITIZENS RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE REST OF US IN THE NAME OF THEIR SO CALLED JUSTICE.

GOD DOES NOT HAVE MANDATE WITH U.S. SUPREME COURT 2 CONTINUE ALLOWING POSSIBLE WRONGFUL EXECUTIONS TO BE INFLICTED ON OUR AMERICAN POOR !!!

**TROY DAVIS & MUMIA ABU ~JAMAL ~ ARE HAVING PRAYERS FOR JUSTICE SAID FOR THEM WORLD~WIDE ..WE CAN ALL ONLY HOPE AND PRAY THAT EVERYONE IN OUR U.S.CONGRESS THAT KNOWS AND UNDERSTANDS HOW UNJUST OUR U.S JUDICIAL SYSTEM CAN BE WITH OUR POORER AMERICANS,BECOMES ACTIVE IN MAKING SURE THAT TROY DAVIS OF GEORGIA AND MUMIA ABU~JAMAL OF PENNSYLVANIA RECEIVE FAIR AND JUST TRIALS BEFORE ANY POSSIBLE WRONGFUL EXECUTIONS TAKE PLACE.
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THE NATIONAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE COMMISSION ACT OF 2009

The National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009 that I introduced in the Senate on March 26, 2009 will create a blue-ribbon commission to look at every aspect of our criminal justice system with an eye toward reshaping the process from top to bottom.

I believe that it is time to bring together the best minds in America to confer, report, and make concrete recommendations about how we can reform the process. This legislation has already garnered wide bipartisan support in Congress and from interest groups representing a range of backgrounds and political viewpoints.

Why We Urgently Need this Legislation: With 5% of the world's population, our country now houses 25% of the world's reported prisoners. Incarcerated drug offenders have soared 1200% since 1980. Four times as many mentally ill people are in prisons than in mental health hospitals. Approximately 1 million gang members reside in the U.S., many of them foreign-based; and Mexican cartels operate in 230+ communities across the country.

Post-incarceration re-entry programs are haphazard and often nonexistent, undermining public safety and making it extremely difficult for ex-offenders to become full, contributing members of society. America's criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace. Its irregularities and inequities cut against the notion that we are a society founded on fundamental fairness. Our failure to address this problem has caused the nation's prisons to burst their seams with massive overcrowding, even as our neighborhoods have become more dangerous.

We are wasting billions of dollars and diminishing millions of lives. We need to fix the system. Doing so will require a major nationwide recalculation of who goes to prison and for how long and of how we address the long-term consequences of incarceration. MATERIALS & RESOURCES Read the legislation, S. 714 Fact sheet on the legislation Senator Webb's floor speech introducing the legislation PARADE Magazine cover story, "What's Wrong with our Prisons?" Senator Jim Webb,

Sunday March 29, 2009 The scope of the problem: relevant charts and graphs List of Support for the National Criminal Justice Commission Act Of 2009 Opening Statement of Sen. Webb at Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on National Criminal Justice Commission Act, June 11, 2009 Watch Senator Webb's Floor Speech Introducing the Legislation, March 26, 2009 Senator Webb's article on the Huffington Post, "Why We Must Reform Our Criminal Justice System" MATERIALS FROM PAST HEARINGS, SYMPOSIUMS Joint Economic Committee Hearing, conducted by Senator Webb, "Mass Incarceration in the United States: At What Cost?" October 2007 Joint Economic Committee Hearing, conducted by Senator Webb, "Illegal Drugs: Economic Impact, Societal Costs, and Policy Responses,"

June 2008 George Mason University Symposium, hosted by Senator Webb and the GMU Administration of Justice Department, "Drugs in America: Trafficking, Policy and Sentencing," October 2008 Senator Webb's Keynote Address to the Brookings Institution's Policy Roundtable on the Challenges to Prisoner Re-entry, December 2008 NEWS ARTICLES & COMMENTARY Virginian Pilot editorial: "Time to reconsider U.S. justice system," April 6, 2009 Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star: "Behind-bars review," April 5, 2009 The Washington Post Writers Group: "Webb Leads the Charge for Much-Needed Drug, Prison Reform," April 5, 2009 Economist: "A Nation of Jailbirds," April 2, 2009 Daily Press: "Go After the Real Problem," March 31, 2009 New York Times: "Reviewing Criminal Justice," March 30, 2009 Lynchburg News & Advance: "Webb Takes on Politics' Third Rail: Prison Reform," March 29, 2009 Salon.com: "Jim Webb's courage v. the "pragmatism" excuse for politicians," March 28, 2009 The Virginian Pilot Editorial:

"Time to Rethink Goals of Prison," January 5, 2009 Roanoke Times Editorial: "The Criminal Justice System Needs Help," January 5, 2009 Las Vegas Sun Editorial: "Voice for Broken Prisons," January 3, 2009 U.S. News & World Report: "James Webb Shows Leadership Regarding Prison Reform," January 2, 2009 New York Times Editorial: "Sen. Webb's Call for Prison Reform," January 1, 2009 Washington Post: "Webb Sets His Sights On Prison Reform," December 29, 2008 Daily Press: "Alternative to Jail for Addicts Gains New Supporter," December 28, 2008 The Virginian Pilot: "Senator Elevates Debate on Failed Drug, Prison Policies," October 18, 2008 The Roanoke Times Editorial: "A Sensible Call for Sentencing Reform," October 13, 2008 Washington Post Op-Ed: "Two Separate Societies: One in Prison, One Not," April 15, 2008

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LAWYERS FOR POOR AMERICANS IS A WWW VOLUNTEEER LOBBY THAT SINGS OUT FOR OUR MIDDLE~CLASS AND WORKING POOR AMERICANS. WE CAN BE FOUND WITH ANY SEARCH ENGINE BY OUR NAME OR TELELEPHONE NUMBER. (424-247-2013)

[email protected]

~ WE ENJOY BRINGING THE GOOD LIFE TO ALL OF America's little people ON THE WEB.

***MANY MORE IN OUR U.S.CONGRESS ARE NOW HEARING THE TRUTH !!!

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LAWYERS FOR POOR AMERICANS HAS COMPLETE FAITH THAT SUPREME COURT JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS IS THE RIGHT MAN IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME FOR JUSTICE TO PREVAIL FOR ALL AMERICANS !

Posted by: LAWYERS FOR POOR AMERICANS | Feb 24, 2010 6:34:46 PM

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