September 25, 2011

More on the problems of the death penalty

I can agree with at least some small-l libertarians on social issues, on occasion, outside the biggies of drug policy and sexual privacy/rights. Thomas Lucente has a good column here on what's wrong with the death penalty.

Here's my summary:

1. Eyewitness testimony is often fallible
2. Other testimony also involves jailhouse "snitches," who are definitely fallible
3. In states with elected prosecutors, especially "red" states, there's a "pander" motive to be tough
4. Ditto for states with elected judges.

At the same time, per the "cruel and unusual punishments" phrase of the U.S. Constitution, is life without parole in a federal Supermax much better? Maybe we should ask Leonard Peltier.

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