Looking Ahead to Baze v. Rees

January 2, 2008

News Update 01.02.08

North Carolina

Love Lived on Death Row screenings:

  • January 22 – Charlotte, 7 PM, St. Matthews Catholic Church
  • January 25 – Raleigh, 7 PM, St. Francis of Assisi
  • January 29 – Charlotte,7 PM, Duke Power Theater
  • March 27 – Asheville, 7 PM, Diana Wortham Theater


Thoughts and predictions for next week’s argument in Baze v. Rees from CCR and the Volokh Conspiracy:

  • Karl Keys (CCR): At least five justices will find that while lethal injection does not necessarily violate the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment, it is possible for a particular lethal injection protocol to be unconstitutional. Where the line between acceptable and unacceptable lies is anybody’s guess. (See also Karl’s prediction for Mumia Abu-Jamal and others with cases to be decided in 2008.)
  • Orin Kerr (VC): While the four conservative judges will have little trouble reaching a decision, the remaining five will have a hard time figuring out how to solve the problem at hand. They are not doctors, and even doctors aren’t of one mind about how to carry out a painless execution. There will be no majority opinion, but the controlling opinion will allow these executions to go forward while suggesting safeguards states can use in future executions.

The New York Times has a profile of David Barron, the lawyer behind Baze v. Rees. Barron is under 30 (as attorneys appearing before the Supreme Court go, practically a fetus), and like all good public defenders, is a die-hard Red Sox fan. (c/o Harmful Error)

Love Lived on Death Row will be making its Chicago debut on January 12 at 8 PM in the Gene Siskel Film Theater. There will be a second showing at 6 PM on the 14th.

The state of the death penalty in Pennsylvania: fourth-largest death row in the nation, but only three executions since 1978 and some 50 inmates re-sentenced to less than death since 2000. Prosecutors and the state supreme court remain dedicated to keeping death row full. (c/o How Appealing)

In “Who Would Antonin Scalia Torture?”, Salon considers the relationship between lethal injection and torture, in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decisions on the latter topic.

The Seattle Times looks at gender bias in capital sentencing. Less than 1.5% of people on death row in the United States are women, but females are responsible for about 10% of homicides. Is it the fact of their gender or the nature of their crimes that makes the difference? (c/o CDW)

Executions – January 2008

January 2, 2008

3 – Paul Dennis Reid (TN – stayed)

9 – Edward Harbison (TN – stayed)

17 – Bobby Woods (TX – stayed)

24 – John Spirko (OH)

31 – James Callahan (AL)


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