Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

U.S. Supreme Court halts execution

Heartening news this afternoon:
The life of a Mississippi inmate who killed a woman after she left church choir practice 20 years ago was spared this evening by the Supreme Court, signaling that the justices may want to halt executions nationwide pending a challenge to the constitutionality of lethal injection.

Earl W. Berry, 48, was to have been executed in the state penitentiary in the Mississippi Delta town of Parchman. But his lawyers, having exhausted their state-court and lower federal court appeals, won an 11th-hour stay from the high court.

Barely a quarter-hour before Mr. Berry was to die, the Supreme Court granted a stay. The vote was 7 to 2, with Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissenting.
It is completely unacceptable that capital punishment is still legal in the United States. The taking of a life as a punishment for crimes, no matter how severe or serious, is always morally wrong. As Amnesty International says:
The time has come to abolish the death penalty worldwide. The case for abolition becomes more compelling with each passing year. Everywhere experience shows that executions brutalize those involved in the process.

Nowhere has it been shown that the death penalty has any special power to reduce crime or political violence. In country after country, it is used disproportionately against the poor or against racial or ethnic minorities. It is also used as a tool of political repression.

It is imposed and inflicted arbitrary. It is an irrevocable punishment, resulting inevitably in the execution of people innocent of any crime. It is a violation of fundamental human rights.
We applaud the Supreme Court for its action today: it was the proper call to make. We will continue to advocate for the abolishment of all capital punishment at both the federal and state levels.


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