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September 5, 2016

A not-so-deadly summer: only one US execution from Memorial Day to Labor Day

I have been fascinated to see Texas courts, as detailed here by the Death Penalty Information Center, intervene to stay roughly a half-dozen scheduled executions in the state in the summer months.  Consequently, as detailed on this DPIC executions page, on this Labor Day as we mark the unofficial end to the summer, throughout the United States there was only one completed execution in the months of June, July and August.

A quick review of yearly execution lists leads me to think that it has been more than three decades since the US had a year in which so few murderers had their death sentences carried out in the summer months.  Thus, for those rooting for the death of the death penalty, I think this Labor Day there is a notable milestone to celebrate.

September 5, 2016 at 05:35 PM | Permalink


more evidence that the judiciary as a whole has antipathy towards the death penalty

Posted by: federalist | Sep 5, 2016 10:08:46 PM

And Doug, you still owe me an apology

Posted by: federalist | Sep 5, 2016 10:09:05 PM

An apology for what, federalist?

Posted by: Doug B. | Sep 6, 2016 2:12:53 AM

the "alt-right" nonsense over at the C & C blog--I had been talking about Kesler Dufrene LONG before any of those websites picked it up--and it needs to be a real apology, not the "if I have offended" type of apology

Posted by: federalist | Sep 6, 2016 10:13:31 AM

Here's the thread, Doug:


Posted by: federalist | Sep 6, 2016 10:14:35 AM

DB says this in that thread and perhaps he can clarify since it is one thing that concerns me (joke omitted): "if we think an offender is too dangerous and/or too blameworthy to ever be free again, execution seems a more sensible punishment than everlasting caging"

I understand this mindset but seems to warrant (and though one person in particular who comments here wouldn't mind, it's not something that gets broad support in society even among those who support the death penalty) executing numerous people who didn't kill anyone. These too would be "dangerous" or "blameworthy" in various cases. Ditto the idea from the other end that LWOP is very cruel and execution would be more humane (and Prof. Berman has voiced some support of voluntary euthansia of prisoners here).

Does Prof. Berman support the death penalty for non-homicides in certain cases?


BTW, I appreciate his efforts at dialogue (including with his friend Bill Otis, who disagrees with him on various subjects) & my disagreements with him at times aside, that is one reason blogs like this appeal to me.

Posted by: Joe | Sep 6, 2016 10:51:38 AM

Also, "LWOP" just seems a matter of degree as seen by Scalia's questions in cases involving that issue. For instance, is keeping people in cages for forty years or even thirty much different, especially if the person is likely to die in prison before the end of the term? I put aside what the person themselves would choose (most don't "volunteer" to end their appeals and die). It's the overall logic of the idea that comes to mind here.

Posted by: Joe | Sep 6, 2016 11:00:42 AM

Next up: DB's retirement from blogging

Posted by: Anon | Sep 6, 2016 12:01:18 PM

federalist's motion for change of venue to this blog is denied. He has no jurisdiction here.

Posted by: Anon | Sep 6, 2016 6:12:47 PM

Well to be fair, Anon, nor do you.

Posted by: Joe | Sep 7, 2016 10:15:21 AM

While I have not been following the Texas cases closely, you have to wonder how much of the apparently across-the-board stay is based on the two Texas cases currently pending at the Supreme Court. One (involving mental disability) seems to have a broader reach than the other (bad defense expert).

Some of the other states that went to frequent executions over the past three years once they solved their lethal injection issues have now caught up with the "backlog" (those inmates who had completed federal habeas) while others (e.g. Ohio) are still trying to figure out how to resolve those issues. If Ohio, Arizona, and Oklahoma could resolve the lethal injection issues, you could see a significant number of executions in 2017. (Ohio apparently has eight potentially scheduled for 2017.)

Posted by: tmm | Sep 9, 2016 2:25:33 PM

Hey Joe, sorry I never saw your direct question and so never provided a timely answer. Here is my not-so-timely answer to your question: "Does Prof. Berman support the death penalty for non-homicides in certain cases?"

Yes, I do support the possibility of the death penalty for repeat child rapists in cases in which a person has been tried/convicted/imprisoned for violent rape with a child under 12 and then, after garnering release (or escaping from prison), again commits violent rape with a child under 12. I am also open to its use in other like extreme non-homicide settings if/when there is good reason to believe it can really contribute to making our society safer.

Posted by: Doug B. | Oct 6, 2016 9:54:57 AM

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