Berman [Ohio State]: A Sign of the Capital Times
Berman [Ohio State]: A Sign of the Capital Times

Doug Berman, Moritz College of Law, Ohio State University:

"The ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court yesterday in Marsh declaring the state's death penalty procedures unconstitutional (basics here) is yet another piece of evidence suggesting that the death penalty is now dying a slow death in the US.

(For more on the Marsh ruling, here are articles from the New York Times and the Kansas City Star and the Lawrence World-Journal.  The KC Star article details that the state plans to appeal the Marsh ruling to the US Supreme Court, and the World-Journal piece details the crimes of the six men on Kansas' death row.  For more on the decline of death, consider the recent posts here and here.)

It is fascinating that the Marsh ruling in Kansas comes only months after New York's highest court found unconstitutional that state's death penalty procedures in People v. LaValle (discussed here).  Kansas and New York in the mid 1990s , after long periods without capital punishment, both enacted new death penalty laws.  But now, a decade later, both states have had their capital sentencing procedures declared unconstitutional.

Notably, not a single person has been executed in either Kansas or New York, although a handful of defendants had been sent to each state's death row.  And, as detailed in a New York estimate and a Kansas study, both states have spent an enormous amount of money administering the death penalty.  These realities lead me to continue to wonder when fiscal conservatives will start speaking out vocally against the death penalty as a bad investment of limited state resources." [December 18, 2004; Sentencing Law & Policy has the post]

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