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Viewpoints

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California and the Death Penalty

By Michele Hanisee

The world contains extremely dangerous and evil people who cannot be deterred by threat of incarceration.  I'm not talking about the average gang murder or robbery gone bad.  I am talking about the people who rape infants to death; who kidnap, torture, rape and murder children; who target police officers in the line of duty; who kill not just one, but a half dozen or dozen or more innocent victims in serial and mass murders.

Such people are the reasons why California still needs a death penalty.

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The Death Penalty’s ‘Normal Accidents’

By James M. Doyle

In the final days of this year’s Supreme Court term, Justice Stephen Breyer unexpectedly launched a new offensive against the American system of capital punishment. The offensive was announced in his dissenting opinion in a case upholding the legality of Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol.

Some commentators believed that Breyer was training his artillery on one particular target: namely, Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Roberts Court’s perennial swing voter. Just days earlier, Kennedy had displayed his taste for making history in a grandiloquent opinion for the Court in the same-sex marriage case of Obergefell v. Hodges. He might be ripe for conversion.

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The Death Penalty and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

By James M. Doyle

The superb opposing legal teams in the Tsarnaev case will provide an indictment of the system in principle. They will prove that an adversary trial can never produce what the Supreme Court says capital punishment depends on: the community’s individualized moral judgment on a particular defendant.

No lawyers can supply what that judgment needs: a full understanding of an individual.

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