Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The reported demise of the death penalty is a bit premature

You can hold off on those stories about the demise of capital punishment in America, at least as far as public opinion goes, reported The Marshall Project. Voters in three states, two reds and a blue, decisively endorsed capital punishment in a series of ballot initiatives decided late Tuesday into Wednesday.
In California, voters appear to have rejected a measure that would have repealed the death penalty and at the same time by a smaller margin endorsed a measure whose sponsors contend will expedite executions in the Golden State. The results, a crushing blow to capital abolitionists in the state and around the country, nevertheless guarantees years of additional litigation over the new procedures designed to empty the nation’s largest death row.
In Nebraska, voters decisively turned on their own legislators and restored the death penalty. Lawmakers repealed capital punishment in 2015, citing its costs among other factors, but Gov. Pete Ricketts led an expensive campaign to bring back executions. His message clearly resonated in a state that has 10 death row inmates who have been in limbo for the past 18 months. The “repeal the repeal” movement won by margins as large as 4-1 in some counties outside of Lincoln and Omaha, reported the World-Herald.
Finally, in Oklahoma, a state with a chaotic recent history of executions, voters overwhelming shored up their state’s death penalty by amending the constitution to confirm that capital punishment is not “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Eighth Amendment and to give legislators the power to change the methods of execution if one is declared unconstitutional.
To read more CLICK HERE

1 comment:

PADP said...

Mr. Mangino,

I am an enthusiastic consumer of your work and while I realize that your focus in this piece was on election results, I'd like to put them in context for you readers. The results in this year's elections are an outlier in the clear trend away from the use of the death penalty. When people confront the train wreck of capital punishment up close and personal, their actions speak volumes.

Consider data from 2015. By every measure – public opinion, death sentences, and executions – the death penalty declined in Pennsylvania was among the 44 states that did not conduct any executions, reflecting the increasing geographic isolation of the death penalty. Only six states carried out executions and the 28 total executions in the U.S. marked the lowest number since 1991. Governor Wolf joined three other governors in imposing a gubernatorial moratorium on executions.

And here's a nugget that should give us all pause. In 2015, six people were exonerated from death row across the country, highlighting the ongoing risk of wrongful convictions in capital cases; six is also the number of men that have been exonerated from death row in Pennsylvania in the modern era of the death penalty. This includes Nick Yarris who, after spending 21 years on PA’s death row, was exonerated based on DNA evidence. During that same period, from 1976 to the present, only three people were executed, all of whom were volunteers who gave up their rights to appeal. The numbers for 2016 will demonstrate that same shift away from governments killing their citizens. I welcome them and still believe that the death penalty is on its way out the door. Let's all wave bye-bye to it together.

Post a Comment