G.F. Kain – The slow and painful abolition of capital punishment in the United States. Intervento al convegno Luiss “Non c’è giustizia senza vita” del 26 novembre 2013


The author points out that In the United States, the majority of the states still enforce the use of capital punishment.
Although some very positive movements toward abolition have recently been made, the trend toward abolition is tempered due to legal and sociological problems that persist in those states that retain CP: economic and racial disparities in applying the law, as well as wrongful convictions continue to be major issues related to the CP. Moreover, considering that in three states judges are still allowed to overrule the jury recommendation to spare lives, the future of total abolition appears to be a distant goal.
There is still hope due to some events that recently occurred. Public opinion is turning away from capital punishment in the US: the support for CP dropped to 60% (down over 20% from a high of 80% 20 years ago); and many important stakeholders, including those from some groups that have traditionally favored death penalty in the past, have stepped forward to highlight the need for reform (the Author mentions: surviving family members of those who have been murdered, people that has been exonerated of murder, faith communities, law enforcement community which the Author represents, and even traditional conservative groups).
The Author notes that the death penalty will be certainly someday be abolished in the US, perhaps when the United States Supreme Court stops its constitutional prerogative to defer to the individual states who choose to keep the DP. The Court could take the step to end it in one landmark case decision, once and for all, but until then, states are left to use their own discretion and will continue to use the DP in the immediate future. Perhaps when the number of states that have capital punishment outnumber those that do not have CP, the Court will intervene and stop executions permanently.

G.F. Kain – The Slow and Painful Abolition of Capital Punishment in the United States

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