Monday, October 4, 2010

Justice Stevens regrets Gregg v. Georgia

some interesting news today. retired supreme court justice john paul stevens said in an interview with NPR that he regrets one vote in particular during his service: his vote to uphold the death penalty in 1976. from DPIC,
Stevens remarked, "I thought at the time . . . that if the universe of defendants eligible for the death penalty is sufficiently narrow so that you can be confident that the defendant really merits that severe punishment, that the death penalty was appropriate." But, over the years, he added, "the Court constantly expanded the cases eligible for the death penalty, so that the underlying premise for my vote has disappeared, in a sense." Justice Stevens also said that the court has made death penalty procedures more sympathetic to prosecutors: “I really think that the death penalty today is vastly different from the death penalty that we thought we were authorizing.”
oh, how things could have been different. it is possible that 1,225 would not have been executed. [although it is equally possible that the death penalty would have been reinstated anyhow, at least at some point in time between then and now.]

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