UH Law Library's Blog

January 4, 2010

ALI – Death Penalty Moral & Practical Failure

Filed under: Free Web — Tags: , — uhlawlibrary @ 9:12 am

The American Law Institute (A.L.I.), the authors of the prestigious Restatements, have abandoned their work in creating a modern framework for the death penalty.  The A.L.I. began its work on the death penalty as part of the Model Penal Code in 1962.  The U.S. Supreme Court adopted it when it reinstated capital punishment in its 1976 decision in Gregg v. Georgia.  In October 2009, the institute decided to abandon its work on the death penalty falling short of taking a stand against capital punishment.  In today’s Sidebar, a New York Times column written by Adam Liptak, it is reported that the institute voted “to disavow the structure it had created ‘in light of the current intractable institutional and structural obstacles to ensuring a minimally adequate system for administering capital punishment.'”

Liptak goes on to write, “A study commissioned by the institute said that decades of experience have proved that the system cannot reconcile the twin goals of individualized decisions about who should be executed and systemic fairness. It added that capital punishment is plagued by racial disparities; is enormously expensive even as many defense lawyers are underpaid and some are incompetent; risks executing innocent people; and is undermined by the politics that come with judicial elections.”

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