Future. Predictions are hazardous! I have previously predicted that the DP will end within about 10-15 years - primarily because of increasing international pressure driven by the human rights movement. Future. Worldwide abolition of the DP is continuing and is
Predictions are hazardous!
I have previously predicted that the DP will end
within about 10-15 years
- primarily because of increasing international pressure driven by the human rights movement.
Worldwide abolition of the DP is continuing and is
increasingly embedded in constitutional law --
(EU, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, most of South America, and many others).
US has become increasingly isolated in this respect
& US “moral authority” continues to erode because
of this and other human rights abuses.
Our claims about equality, democracy, human rights,
etc., ring hollow in the face of such a shoddy legal
The US Supreme Court is “disengaging” from the
DP and giving it back to states
-- the result is chaos in many DP states
many state courts are corrupt, politicized, and/or seriously overloaded with other cases
Some additional points to think about:
The collapse in Illinois is having ripple effects –
the moratorium movement has spread
- New Jersey and New Mexico adds to this
(Maryland, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Connecticut)
Note: Ill, NJ, NM, and Conn have all abolished
The systems can’t stand scrutiny –
so once this starts it is very hard to stop.
Probably no moratorium in Calif though!
(Nearly abolished in a 2012 referendum!)
Maryland, for example:
Kirk Bloodsworth mistake case (video)
eventual multi-million dollar settlement
--- and re-examination of whole system following national publicity
(2002) 13 prisoners on death row
9 black 4 white
7 B/W 2 B/B 4 W/W
80% hom victims black
80% death row victims white
1923 to present 83 executions
64 black 19 white (75% B/W)
56 murder 27 rape (90% B/W cases)
Governor recently ordered a moratorium
on executions to “study the system”
As the federal courts have withdrawn, the state
appeals courts have become pivotal.
Most states that have DP don't really use it, and strong resistance develops when they try.
This is interesting – probably indicates that courts and politicians know problems.
24 states 0 exec
8 states 1 exec each
6 states more than 1 total = 53
Texas 24 of the 53
(some DP states never exec at all!)
What is stopping executions in most DP states??
Mostly not the federal courts!
Mostly state courts and politicians!
Actually using DP like LWOP!
This is beginning to look a lot like what happened
in the 1950s and 1960s.
Moratorium campaign stopped execs at the state level long before Furman.
Politics of problems with DP begins to compete with
politics - and costs - of "get tough" on crime -
and balance shifts against DP.
If this continues, states that use the DP will be
like some southern states and the confederate flag
- sort of an anachronism - a symbol.
High cost of DP trials/system
Imprisonment binge is costing billions -
this is devastating to state budgets.
Plus the economic downturn has also been
disastrous for state budgets.
Prisons bonded - costs will continue long after
Abolishing the DP might end up as cost cutting
with other CJS costs.
LWOP will look financially attractive.
Conclusion – other views:
Franklin Zimring and the American history of “vigilante justice”
(lynching + dp for poor & minorities)
Vigilantism vs. Due Process (fairness)
DP will end as doubts take hold in the middle of the political spectrum.
25% hard core support
20% hard core opposition
50%+ somewhat for, but now shifting against
William Schabas – an interesting point on which to end the class.
Schabas, an Austrian, is a law professor currently teaching in Ireland.
He is one of the key founders of the International Criminal Court.
He visited ULV a few years ago and spoke in two of my classes.
Continuing global abolition of the DP has been
developmental (gradual) and has almost without
exception been based on debate about and adoption
of emerging principles of
“universal human rights”
China and Cuba still execute - but both recognize
the DP as a human rights issue to be ended as soon
China - peasantry not yet ready for modernization
Cuba - perennial threat of attack by US
Schabas points out that in his travels in the US
talking about the International Criminal Court and
the DP, he has found virtually no discussion of the
DP as it relates to human rights issues –
instead all of the discussion centers around
practical issues (much like this class does!)
Hopefully, we will eventually enter into that
Thanks for taking the class!