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Intellectual Underpinnings of Capital Punishment Removed

January 5th, 2010

death-penaltyThe American Law Institute, which decades ago developed the intellectual support for the modern death penalty and remained one of its last serious advocates, has disavowed the very structure it created and pronounced its death penalty project a failure.

A study commissioned by the institute said that decades of experience have proved that the system cannot reconcile the twin goals of individualized decisions about who should be executed, and systemic fairness. It added that capital punishment is plagued by racial disparities, it is enormously expensive even as many defense lawyers are underpaid and some are incompetent, it risks executing innocent people, and is undermined by the politics that accompany judicial elections.

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