January 13, 2015
Our class's (unrepresentative) initial perspectives on the death penalty
I am grateful for the 23 students who completed and submitted the class questionnaire, and I am eager to get completed surveys placed in my faculty from anyone who has not yet submitted the form before 2pm on Thursday. We will be sure to discuss some of the collective "results" in class, and I really appreciate all the thought that was evident in many answers.
I was moved to do this first post about the questionnaire because I was struck (and a bit surprised) by how titled the class seems to be against the death penalty this year. In previous years, students have come into the class fairly evenly divided on the issue, with roughly half of students saying they were categorically against the death penalty and half saying they were not. This year, however, 19 students (of 23 submitted questionnaires ) indicted they were against the death penalty (although a few back-tracked a little bit when asked about a sentence for the Boston Marathon Bomber).
In other words, it seems that more than 80% of our class generally oppose the death penalty, whereas Gallup polling reveals that more than 60% of people in the US generally favor the death penalty. Especially as we engage in death penalty discussions, we should be ever minderful of this notable contrast in student viewpoints and broader US viewpoints.
In addition to simply noting these notable facts about views on the death penalty, I am eager to hear what folks imagine to be the general views of all Moritz students and/or all lawyers as a group. Notably, some past Gallup poll data has highlighted that persons under 30 and "nonwhite" persons comprise the groups most opposed to the death penalty, and the Moritz student population as a whole is certainy younger and more diverse than the general population. But all lawyers as a group tend generally to reflect, demographically, the general population. (Consequently, I would guess that our class is not extremely unrepresentative of all Moritz students but likely is quite out of line with all lawyers generally on this issue.)
Also, on the topic of the death penalty, the first US execution in 2015 took place Tuesday night, see "Georgia executes Vietnam veteran who killed a sheriff's deputy", and Oklahoma is scheduled to carry out another execution on Thursday.
January 10, 2007
More on death penalty aesthetics and Ohio death developments
Two quick follow-up after class today (where I felt I talked far too much and most students talked far too little):
1. Kurt Copper wins the first Berman brownie points by shipping me this link to the pictures of Lee "Tiny" Davis, who was executed by the State of Florida on July 8, 1999. Personally, I find these pictures of an apparently botched electrocution more disturbing than the Saddam execution video, but maybe that's just because I do not like the sight of blood.
2. The Columbus Dispatch now has this article discussing the first death penalty case to reach the desk of Ohio's new Governor, Ted Strickland. Anyone especially interested in the death penalty in Ohio should be sure to become a regular reader of the Ohio Death Penalty Information blog, which already has lots of stuff here on the Biros case.