Wednesday, October 23, 2013
In 1976, the US Supreme Court allowed the resumption of capital punishment under revamped statutes, stating only a broad outline of the kind of statute required and approving three quite different systems as coming within that outline. In the years that followed, the high court proceeded to micromanage the capital sentencing system, ultimately disapproving essential features of the Florida and Texas systems it had initially approved.
The result was a disaster. Justice was badly delayed and in many cases ultimately denied as judgments that were valid when entered were overturned on the basis of rules conjured up out of blue sky years or decades after the trial.