Saturday, May 3, 2008
From the New York Times: HUNTSVILLE, Tex. — Here in the nation’s leading death-penalty state, and some of the 35 others with capital punishment, execution dockets are quickly filling up.
Less than three weeks after a United States Supreme Court ruling ended a seven-month moratorium on lethal injections, at least 14 execution dates have been set in six states between May 6 and October.
“The Supreme Court essentially blessed their way of doing things,” said Douglas A. Berman, a professor of law and a sentencing expert at Ohio State University. “So in some sense, they’re back from vacation and ready to go to work.”
Experts say the resumption of executions is likely to throw a strong new spotlight on the divisive national — and international — issue of capital punishment.
“When people confront a new wave of executions, they’ll be questioning not only how people are executed but whether people should be executed,” said James R. Acker, a historian of the death penalty and a criminal justice professor at the State University at Albany.
Texas leads the list with five people now set to die here in the Walls Unit, the state’s death house, between June 3 and Aug. 20. Virginia is next with four. Louisiana, Oklahoma and South Dakota have also set execution dates.
Some welcome the end of the moratorium.
“We’ll start playing a little bit of catch-up,” said William R. Hubbarth, a spokesman for Justice for All, a victims rights group based in Houston.
Read full article here. [Brooks Holland]