"We do not expect to live in a culture where murder does not exist; we do demand that it not be legal." Albert Camus
Our insistence on applying the death penalty to international terrorists is causing us multiple problems. The death penalty is banned thoughout Europe (and indeed, by most liberal democracies). Our European allies, irritated by what they call a growing American tendency to give in to a "unilateralist temptation," see yet another example in our insistence on employing the death penalty against international terrorists extradited from abroad. Because of its opposition to the death penalty, the European Parliament has prohibited extradition of terrorists to the United States for trial without a commitment to waive capital punishment. The United Kingdom, our closest ally on most matters related to national security, has put the United States on notice that British soldiers will not turn bin Laden over to the United States if they manage to capture him, unless the death penalty is waived. Spain is refusing to extradite eight suspected terrorists without assurance that the death penalty will not be imposed. Jessica Stern's book "Terror in the Name of God".
The Death Penalty, Nearing Its End (10/24/2016)
Executions and Counting: Texas Gov. Rick Perry's Cruel Death
was convicted of shooting police officer Mark Allen MacPhail, but only on the basis of witness testimony. Most of the witnesses have since recanted, many alleging that police coerced them into making false statements.
On May 20, twenty-seven former judges and prosecutors from across the political spectrum filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis. Signers of the amicus brief include Larry Thompson (Deputy Attorney General of the United States, 2001-2003), former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA; U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, 1986-1990); William S. Sessions (Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1987-1993), and John Gibbons (former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit). Their brief urges the Court to order an evidentiary hearing in District Court, arguing that “Mr. Davis’ petition for an original writ meets this Court’s exceptional circumstances test because Mr. Davis can make an extraordinary showing through new, never reviewed evidence that strongly points to his innocence, and thus his execution would violate the Constitution.” Davis’ attorneys filed a writ of habeas corpus with the Court, pursuant to its original jurisdiction, asking for the same hearing. Davis has a significant amount of new evidence pointing to his innocence that has never been fully reviewed in court. He was sentenced to death primarily on eyewitness testimony, but 7 of the 9 eyewitnesses have recanted their testimony and some evidence points to one of the two remaining witnesses as the person who committed the murder. The amicus brief may be read here and the original writ of habeas corpus may be read here.
In the end, the execution of Troy Davis would solve nothing. It would only add to the pain of everyone involved, and destroy public faith in Georgia’s ability to administer justice fairly. Georgia officials should do the right thing and make sure the execution of Troy Davis does not proceed.
Abolition of the death penalty is a requirement for countries seeking EU membership. All candidate countries have acceded to Protocol No. 6 concerning the Abolition of the Death Penalty to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR). In addition, EU Member States are all signatories to Protocol No. 13 to the ECHR concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances. This treaty explicitly bans the death penalty in all circumstances, including in war-time. (From the EU's Human Rights page.)
Dean Koh of the Yale Law School on the death penalty
CNADP (Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty)Amnesty International works to eliminate the death penalty
Capital Punishment, Murder by the Book: Jodie Sinclair
The Top Ten Death Penalty Myths: The Politics of Crime Control: Rudolph J. Gerber and John M. Johnson
Dead Wrong: Michael A. Mello
Who Owns Death Mitchel and Lifton
Debating the Death Penalty: Should America Have Capital Punishment? The Experts on Both Sides Make Their Best Case, Hugo Adam Bedau and Paul G. Cassell, editors, Oxford, 2004;
The Death Penalty: An American History by Stuart Banner, Harvard, 2003; The Contradictions of American Capital Punishment, by Franklin E. Zimring, Oxford, 2003.