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Death Penalty Roundup

March 30, 2010

The death penalty is one of the only issues I’ve managed to write an extended page about. It also was in the news for a few reasons today:

  • First, Amnesty International released its annual worldwide report on the death penalty. The United States managed to maintain its position among the top five, along with China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Bravo!
  • In local news, death sentences in California rose this year as death sentences nationwide decreased. 25 out of 29 of the sentences came from Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties. Is that because there are more horrible criminals in those counties or because the death penalty is applied inconsistently in our state?
  • Also in local news, a group of district attorneys in California sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee opposing the nomination of Berkeley Law Professor Goodwin Liu to the 9th Circuit Court, citing a paper he wrote that critiqued Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s permissive attitude toward errors in capital cases to argue that he “would vote as a judge to overturn nearly every death sentence,” according SFGate (as the letter itself isn’t immediately forthcoming on Google). Professor Liu’s career can fairly be described as meteoric and he is supported by the American Bar Association as well as conservative voices such as the California prison guards’ union and Clinton prosecutor Kenneth Starr support his nomination. To me, the letter from the D.A.’s is really a positive but that aside Professor Liu should be confirmed.

Back to the original topic, the continued imposition of the death penalty in the United States is barbaric. Read my longer page to understand why it should be abolished.

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