Mostly rational politics, with occasional rants about how a few crazy Republicans are ruining the country.
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Thursday, March 17, 2005
Beyond All Doubt
A Chicago Tribune editorial yesterday advocated the push in the Illinois state legislature for changing the standard for a death sentence from "beyond all reasonable doubt" to "beyond all doubt". As you may remember, former Gov. Ryan of Illinois imposed a moratorium on capital punishment in IL when faced with the overwhelming evidence that it is likely that Illinois (and every state with an active use of the death penalty) has executed innocent men and women. The sheer amount of people who have been convicted and exhonerated by new (often DNA) evidence years later attests to this.
While the move is a good one - the finality and irreversibility of death SHOULD require a beyond all doubt standard - I don't want to let a move like this restore legitimacy to the death penalty at a time when the practice seems to me to be teetering somewhat near the brink of nationwide extinction. After all, semantics are just that, our legal system can never be perfect and jurors could still be emotionally swayed to sentence someone to death despite some lingering doubt (would jurors even notice the difference?)