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September 29, 2019

As we wrap up death penalty unit, some recent reminders of all the "who" stories

On Friday, as discussed in this post over at my main blog, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided to decline to exercise a form of extraordinary jurisdiction in order to avoid considering on the merits a challenge to the state's death penalty system. Among the many notable aspects of this story is who was arguing for and against the state's death penalty system: among those arguing that the state's capital system is unconstitutional were (a) lawyers in the capital habeas unit at the Federal Community Defender Office in Philadelphia and (b) lawyers in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, while among those arguing in support of the state's capital system were (y) lawyers for the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and (z) lawyers for the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association.  The article from my blog also recounts how PA legislators and the PA Governor have been engaging with capital punishment in recent time.

In addition to being a fascinating story about the administration of capital punishment in a neighboring state and challenges thereto, this Keystone state tale serves as a useful reminder of all the overlapping "whos" that the death penalty brings into focus.  Continuing that theme, consider taking a few moments to notice all the "whos" in play in these additional recent death penalty posts from my main blog on recent death penalty developments and commentary:

September 29, 2019 in Death penalty history, Who decides | Permalink


Is that a new "who" I spy in the first link, with the bailiff wearing a "syringe tie"? Was the noose tie at the dry cleaners?

Also, these pharmaceutical companies who are resisting attempts to use their products for killing seem to be one of the most important who's. Some of these links indicate a step toward more executions, some a step back. Interestingly, this heightens the disparity overall, and a sense of consistency feels far off.

The prosecutor in the Oklahoma case argued that "[t]o choose another punishment... would not honor or value the [slain] deputy's service." This implicates the victim(s) as decisionmakers, but maybe only as a gesture? It did say that some relatives were upset. But the notion of "honoring his service" feels in turn very abstract/archaic and also complex in a way that the victims and relatives would feel more acutely than I possibly could, of course.

Posted by: Willie VerSteeg | Sep 30, 2019 12:39:17 PM

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