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End executions now

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Death penalty: Always unjust

The death penalty is always unjust, for the reasons I discuss here. This legalized murder-by-government regime is all the more unjust and a sham with excessively inferior federal habeas corpus protections for challenging unjust murder convictions and death sentences, as underlined by today’s Supreme Court opinion in Cullen v. Pinholster, ___ U.S. ___ (April 4, 2011).

Rare are capital punishment defendants who can afford their own lawyer. Consequently, they are at the mercy of an inconsistent quality level of capital defense lawyers (often depending on how such lawyers are selected, trained and paid) who run from the amazing to the mediocre to those who do nothing better than taking the money and run. So long as the death penalty exists, full funding must be provided for indigent defense and expenses for such cases, and full teeth must be provided for defining ineffective assistance of counsel and for seeking and obtaining habeas corpus relief at the state and federal levels.

Better yet, capital punishment should be abolished immediately, not only to satisfy those like I who absolutely oppose the death penalty, but to eliminate the sham of any claim that all death penalty defendants get effective defense and fair and non-racist trials, and to eliminate the multimillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of hours needed each year for court time for such cases and for the prosecution and defense of such cases.