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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Retreat from the Death Penalty

We may find the NYT editorials weak tea instead of a strong brew on certain subjects but they have consistently taken the lead on opposing capital punishment, going back many years.  Today they have a strong editorial on the subject,  declaring that we may be witnessing (though it gets little attention) a "retreat" from the death penalty.  This is something I predicted about 15 years ago in my book with Robert Jay Lifton, Who Owns Death?   Also see my current ebook, Dead Reckoning.   Here's the Times today:
 
The large number of states no longer carrying out executions indicates a kind of national consensus. It points to “the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society,” an idea that the Supreme Court has evoked in judging the constitutionality of punishments. The court used that analysis most recently when it ruled that mandatory life sentences without possibility of parole are unconstitutional for juvenile offenders even if they are convicted of homicide.
It should similarly recognize that under evolving standards capital punishment is cruel and unusual and should be abolished.

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