Monday, November 16, 2009

Death Penalty on Parade!

It's been a couple of years since my last post, but this deveopment has my full attention. Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement that accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged accomplices will be tried in New York federal court and that the government will seek the death penalty sets the stage for the most colossal show trials and executions since Saddam Hussein and his cohorts. Let's see how we do it compared to the Iraqis! Aside from issues of guilt, will there be a mitigation case developed for capital sentencing? The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bobby v. Van Hook downplaying the significance of American Bar Association guidelines setting forth minimum standards for effective death penalty representation seems ominously timed. The amount of damage these trials, which seem almost predestined to end with executions, will do to the rest of the capital litigation trial and appellate system in the U.S. remains to be seen, but I am not optimistic at all. For starters, anyone hoping that the federal death penalty will be abolished any time soon should forget about it. Stay tuned here.


Post a Comment

<< Home