29 September, 2011

The Death Penalty in the USA

Following on from the executions of Troy Davis (pictured) in Georgia, USA, an article in The New Republic suggests that abolitionists may be closer to their goal than they think.  This is a well considered article by Carol S. Steiker (Professor of Law at Harvard) and Jordan M. Steiker (of the University of Texas Law school).

The State of Florida executed Manuel Valle after a wait of 33 years - see the article in The Guardian by Clive Stafford Smith - "Manuel Valle's 33 year execution."   This execution was carried out by pentobarbital injection - said to cause excruciating pain.  See "Manuel Valle's execution carried out amid fight over 'cruel' injection."

In the Valle case, one Justice Breyer in the Supreme Court of the USA dissented from the others.  In his view, a delay of this length was cruel.   See his dissenting judgment.

It is now almost 40 years since the Supreme Court of the USA decided Furman v Georgia 408 US 238 (1972).  In this case, Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall said: