Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Death Penalty Reprieves

No, not from the president to the national turkey; from Oregon's governor to Oregon's death row inmates:

Gov. John Kitzhaber of Oregon on Tuesday said he would halt the execution of a death row inmate scheduled for next month and that he would allow no more executions in the state during his time in office.

“It is time for Oregon to consider a different approach,” Governor Kitzhaber, a Democrat elected last fall, said in a news conference in Salem on Tuesday afternoon. “I refuse to be a part of this compromised and inequitable system any longer; and I will not allow further executions while I am governor.”

“It is a perversion of justice when the single best indicator of who will and will not be executed has nothing to do with the circumstances of a crime or the findings of a jury,” he said. “The only factor that determines in Oregon whether someone sentenced to death will actually be executed is that they volunteer to die.”
Predictably, my favorite pro-death penalty blogger weighed in:

“If the review system is broken such that nobody but volunteers are being executed, the answer is to fix the review system,” said Kent S. Scheidegger, the legal director for the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, which supports the death penalty.

Mr. Scheidegger said the authority some governors had to commute or delay death penalty sentences “is given for the purpose of correcting injustices in individual cases. It’s not given for the purpose of negating an entire law.”

Er, what's that? "Correcting injustices in individual cases"? I thought the death penalty system was free from such injustices, Kent? At least, that's what you've previously said over and over.

Nonetheless, by my count, Oregon joins New Mexico, New Jersey, New York and Illinois that have all banned or issued moratoriums in the past five years. Applying the 8th amendment Trop test, is there a trend in legislative action at the state level that the Supreme Court will need to consider?


MoYa said...

you got a great point there. over all you have a really great blog and I am glad to found it

gulvsliber said...

After all it's thanksgiving :)