Search This Blog

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Why the death penalty persists ...

... according to an article in Huffington Post.

In this great article about why the Supreme Court will not take a stand on the death penalty--including recent cases dealing with unknown (i.e., secret) chemicals used to carry out lethal injection--a death penalty scholar is quoted. He offers one reason why the death penalty persists in the US, in spite of the fact that its use has dramatically declined.

Part of his quote is "the Court appears happy not to be confronted with the issue" (of the death penalty).

According to the article, "One reason may be that some justices believe that problems with the death penalty plague the criminal justice system more generally, he said."

"If your chain of reasoning is that the death penalty is arbitrary and therefore unconstitutional, why are other long prison sentences not unconstitutional. If anything, the noncapital system is more arbitrary," Mandery said.

Got that? Yes, the death penalty is plagued by serious problems--arbitrariness, bias based on race and social class, wrongful conviction, etc. But then, so is all of criminal justice.

So if capital punishment is unconstitutional, so too is all criminal punishment.

Except, according to the Court, "death is different."

No comments:

Post a Comment