The Corner

Sounds Sound

A panel in Massachusetts has propsed bringing back the death penalty with some changes. Juries would need to find “no doubt” instead of beyond a resonable doubt. There’d be a second jury for the sentencing phase, etc. Whether or not all of these are necessary to administer the death penalty is another argument. But I think this is major progress. As we’ve discussed here quite a bit, most of the contemporary arguments against the death penalty overlook the fact that the overwhelming majority of people sentenced to death are not only guilty, but so obviously and completely guilty that there’s no chance the wrong guy’s getting the chair. Death penalty opponents (including our own Rod Dreher, if I recall correctly) have argued that a few abuses and errors dictate getting rid of the death penalty entirely, when those shortcomings actually require fixing the shortcomings. That Joe X was wrongly convicted does not dictate that Joe Y not be put to death for something there’s no doubt that he did.

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