Berman on the ABA's Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project:
Over at Sentencing Law & Policy, Doug Berman offers this post on the efforts of the American Bar Association's Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project. Doug's bottom line: "In short, someone wanting to feel good about their pre-existing opposition to the death penalty will enjoy reviewing the thousands of pages produced by the ABA's research. But someone who is genuinely agnostic about capital punishment is likely to find the ABA's work more frustrating than enlightening."
I found it a little unusual to read this line: "The study also focused on death penalty systems in Arizona, Florida and Pennsylvania but did not find the same serious conditions as cited in the other five." It belies the headline, "ABA seeks execution moratorium." In fact, the ABA's call actually belies its own study! "Well, we've only found serious issues in five of the eight States studied... but we're still gonna call for a nationwide moratorium on executions!" Wouldn't it be a bit more believeable for them to call for moratoria on a State-by-State basis? Or perhaps they've already given away their agenda (I don't use that term lightly) in the title of the "project," "Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project." It appears that they had a conclusion before the study began!
10.29.2007 1:38pm
Christopher M (mail):
Now I get it!
10.29.2007 3:57pm
abu hamza:
what about this li'l nugget about Florida:

Florida Leads the Nation in Death-Row Exonerations (see Chapter 2) --Since 1973, the State of Florida has exonerated twenty-two death-row inmates, which is more than any other state in the nation. Combined, these death-row exonerees served approximately 150 years in prison before being released. During that same time, Florida executed sixty death-row inmates. Therefore, the proportion exonerated exceeds thirty percent of the number executed.

but it's very thick prose and not really accessible to a politician in a stump speech or cable news discourse either, when you think about it.

what about FEDERAL death penalty has the ABA been looking at that? shouldn't federal death penalty be reserved for like treason, espionage, terrorism, etc.? e.g., this case ( seems like a state matter especially.
10.29.2007 5:32pm
Orson Buggeigh:
So what about the ABA proposing a moratorium on abortions until we can decide when life begins? Somehow, I don't expect we will ever see such a proposal,although it is intellectually on a par with the proposal to suspend executions. The fact that many of the people who oppose capital punishment support very open allowances on abortions makes my sympathy for their point of view dwindle to near nothing.

I don't like either executions or abortions, but I believe both are logically defensible decisions. I have no desire to have someone like Ted Bundy out on the street. Give him his last meal, and send him off. Hang him, shoot him electrocute him, gas him, or inject him - but execute him and be done with it. This ten to twenty years of appeals business is what is really cruel and unusual punishment.
10.30.2007 2:40am
markm (mail):
How did they choose the eight states to survey? Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee doesn't seem much like a random sample to me, but rather what I might choose considering my a priori opinions about conditions in these states if I wanted to bias the study towards states with severe problems without being too obvious, as excluding all the northern states but Ohio would be, or as starting of with OH, TX and OK would be.
10.30.2007 3:39pm