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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Death Penalty in Question

The Supreme Court has previously ruled that whether or not to impose the death penalty in a given case should be decided by the jury, not the judge. Now they are in the process of deciding whether or not to apply this retroactively, effectively overturning past death sentences imposed by a judge.

There seems to be a valid concern that having to hold re-sentencing hearings would cost a small fortune. It does seem, however, to this layperson that trial-by-jury should be all the way. It never exactly made sense to me that a jury could find a defendant unequivocally guilty of 1st degree murder and then a judge effectively abrogates that decision by waiving the ultimate punishment.

On the other hand, I wonder how this will effect the application of the death penalty. Will a jury be required to come to a unanimous decision? Will the defense have two chances at a hung jury, once during the trial and again during sentencing? I don’t know, but it does seem that placing the responsibility of imposing the most serious and final punishment should rest with the People, rather than a single judge. If our society is going to put the worst of the guilty to death, then we must be willing to take part in that process.


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