Friday, March 21, 2014

Why Conservatives Should Oppose the Death Penalty

I've been posting items and videos about the new CNN series on the death penalty (and prisoners freed from death row), which airs on Sunday nights--two episodes have appeared, with six to come.  Now Alex Gibney, a producer (with Robert Redford) and Susan Sarandon (the narrator) have penned a piece for Salon on why those on the right should...do the right thing...and oppose capital punishment.   (Also see my recent e-book on the death penalty in the USA.)   An excerpt from the Gibney-Sartandon essay:
For the last two decades, each of us has examined the criminal justice system in our own work. And so with the political debate over capital punishment once again intensifying, we came together this past year to explore the human dramas inside this institution – from cases resulting in exonerations to those still in limbo to those involving indisputable guilt. In the process, we discovered disturbing patterns that reveal systemic problems....
Whether Democratic or Republican, legislators can no longer ignore the fatal flaw in the justice system.  At a minimum, we must insist that they find a way to hold prosecutors accountable for misconduct that can – if intentional — amount to premeditated murder. More broadly, we should insist that lawmakers face the most harrowing question from all of our death row stories: if the institution of capital punishment – with consequences so final and irreversible — can never be a perfect instrument of criminal justice, is the institution itself a criminal injustice?

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