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Georgia Wants to Kill

When the government wants to stick a needle in a human being’s arm and inject chemicals into his body until he’s dead, is it too much to insist that they be able to convince 12 other human beings, selected in a process that is fair to the government, that a) the person will be a danger to others if he’s sentenced to life in prison instead of death; and b) there are no mitigating circumstances?

In Georgia, it is apparently too much. The government there wants to be able to kill people based on verdicts less-than-unanimous (Houston DUI lawyer Paul Kennedy — I know, it’s not the newest of news, but I’m clearing up some posts I started in the last few days).

This is reminiscent of Chuck Rosenthal’s position against LWOP: that it would make it harder for the State to sentence people to death.

But our justice system is, as Paul says, not a blood sport, and the death penalty is not the goal of some game; it is, rather, a means to an end. “Because it will allow us to kill more people” is a shitty reason to change the law, even if the change wouldn’t violate the Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments. For all but the very worst of the worst murderers, the government will be very hard-pressed to convince 12 jurors that LWOP is not enough.

And that’s the way it should be.



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