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November 19, 2007

Is the death penalty slowly dying?

Stuart Taylor has this interesting essay in the National Journal, entitled "The Death Penalty: Slowly Fading?" Here are snippets:

[A]lthough polls show that about 65 percent of the public still supports capital punishment in the abstract, the number of juries opting for death has plunged, from 317 in 1996 to 128 in 2005, the latest year for which complete data are available.  Similarly, the number of executions has dropped from a modern high of 98 in 1999 to 53 in 2006. 

At the same time, experts agree, many prosecutors have become more reluctant to seek the death sentence. And now the Supreme Court has imposed a de facto moratorium on executions while it considers the claims of two Kentucky death-row inmates (Baze v. Rees) and others that the often-botched lethal-injection method used by most states and the federal government may inflict gratuitous pain on condemned prisoners.

November 19, 2007 at 05:43 PM | Permalink


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On the other hand, today the California Supreme Court issued a press release endorsing a process to speed up the automatic appeal of capital cases by involving the various California Courts of Appeals as the actual reviewers.

Posted by: ward | Nov 19, 2007 6:00:46 PM

You probably need to post a link to that kind of strange action.

Posted by: S.cotus | Nov 19, 2007 6:50:28 PM

The link is available at Crime & Consequences.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Nov 19, 2007 7:09:35 PM

Thanks Kent and my apologies to S.cotus--Posting the link exceeds my abilities. I did forward a copy to Doug because I figured he would be interested.

Posted by: ward | Nov 19, 2007 8:03:05 PM

From the LA Times.

California’s high court seeks death penalty fix

Posted by: George | Nov 19, 2007 10:30:29 PM

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