Tuesday, March 06, 2007

On the national level . . .

An article in The National Law Journal notes that states are abolishing the death penalty (even as some New York State Legislators seek to restore it here).
A perfect storm of problematic executions, wrongful convictions and recent court rulings against the practice of lethal injection has led a growing number of states to challenge the death penalty through lawsuits and legislative action.

Adding still more to the momentum are a public backlash against the cost of capital cases and the development of more effective defense techniques, such as mitigation specialists who humanize death row inmates.

Eleven states have halted some or all executions -- including Florida and Maryland in December -- and more lawmakers have been speaking out against the death penalty.

Last month alone, Maryland's governor urged legislators to replace the death penalty with life without parole, North Carolina's governor said executions should be halted until issues surrounding lethal injection are solved and Montana's Senate voted to abolish the death penalty.

Court decisions have also continued to come down, such as a Delaware judge granting class action status on Feb. 22 to all death row inmates based on a case challenging lethal injection. Jackson v. Danberg, No. Civ. 06-3000-SLR (D. Del.). "It's probably the strongest momentum since the death penalty was reinstated in the mid-1970s," said John Holdridge, director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Capital Punishment Project, which advocates against the death penalty.

There is more, much more, to read here. However, reading is not enough. We need to contact our State Legislators and let them know we object to the restoration of capital punishment in New York.