Death Penalty

Dzhokharman, Andrew McCarthy comments

Featured image I commented briefly on United States v. Tsarnaev over the weekend in Dzhokharman. The Court’s opinions in the case were appended to my post. I blew off the First Circuit decision that the Supreme Court reversed and the dissent by Justice Breyer as obvious pretexts for ideological opposition to capital punishment. Thus my labored use of “Jokerman.” The Supreme Court decision reinstated the jury verdict imposing the jury’s capital sentence. »


Featured image Bob Dylan’s allusive lyrics in “Jokerman” include the line “False-hearted judges dying in the webs they spin.” The line may well apply (or may apply well) to the judges who bought the arguments why the jury’s death penalty verdict in the case of Dzhokar Tsarnaev should be overturned. Justice Thomas and five colleagues held otherwise on Friday in United States v. Tsarnaev (opinion embedded below). Adding to the absurdity of »

Supreme Court likely to reinstate death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber

Featured image Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard argument in the case of Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber. A jury sentenced Tsarnaev to death, but the liberal First Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that sentence. The Washington Post’s report is here. Bill Otis discusses the oral argument here. The Post infers from the Justices’ questions that the Court will overturn the First Circuit’s decision, thereby reinstating the death penalty. CNN sees it »

Vanita Gupta and Dylann Roof

Featured image Dylann Roof is the white supremacist who killed nine African-Americans while they were studying the Bible at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. The Obama Justice Department prosecuted Roof. In doing so, it had to decide whether to seek the death penalty. Vanita Gupta, then the acting assistant attorney general, recommended against seeking the death penalty. However, the attorney general, Loretta Lynch, overruled Gupta. The legal issue was whether, in »

Vanita Gupta grossly misleads Senate about Dylann Roof

Featured image Vanita Gupta opposes the death penalty under all circumstances. That’s a respectable position, though one I disagree with. There is no problem with a high-ranking Justice Department official being personally against the death penalty, as long as her opposition doesn’t cause her to reject the law. Yesterday, when Sen. Marsha Blackburn asked Gupta about her opposition to the death penalty, the nominee assured the Senator that when she was at »

An unconscionable compromise on the death penalty

Featured image This week, the U.S. carried out its first federal executions in 17 years. The first to be executed was Daniel Lewis Lee who was convicted of killing a family of three. Next to go was Wesley Ira Purkey. He was convicted of killing a 16-year-old girl and then dismembering, burning, and dumping her body in a septic pond. He also was convicted in a state court after using a claw »

Kamala Harris feels “awful” about role in keeping apparently innocent man on death row

Featured image Advocates of abolishing the death penalty claim that innocent defendants have often been executed. I’m not sure whether these advocates have been able to show that this has ever happened in modern times, but a New York Times piece by Nicholas Kristof makes a pretty good case that Kevin Cooper, a death row inmate, is innocent of the murders he was convicted of committing. Cooper, an African-American, was convicted of »

The death penalty for some drug dealers?

Featured image At the campaign rally in Pennsylvania last week, President Trump seemed to advocate the death penalty for some drug dealers. Now, reportedly, the administration is finalizing a plan for responding to the opioid crisis that includes capital punishment for dealers in some cases. Politico says: According to language circulating this week, the Trump administration will call for the death penalty as an option in “certain cases where opioid, including Fentanyl-related, »

The scandal in Arkansas

Featured image Arkansas is in the news because its governor, Asa Hutchinson, has scheduled eight executions by lethal injection during an 11 day period. The Washington Post says this pace is “unmatched in the modern era.” Arkansas hasn’t executed anyone in more than a decade, but wants to move quickly now because one of the drugs the state uses in lethal injections has an “expiration” date of this month. The media is »

Debating the death penalty

Featured image With the left (and some conservatives) now intently focused on vastly reducing the prison population and curbing the police, the attention of the “civil rights” movement has shifted away from the death penalty. African-Americans encounter the police and our prisons every day; executions are rare. But more thoughtful, less agenda-driven observers remain focused on the death penalty. George Will argued against it last week. The Washington Post’s editors do so »

Perhaps there is hope for Great Britain

Featured image In a post called “The Inevitable Decline of Great Britain (Con’t)”, John wrote that “in Great Britain, the authorities have no idea what to do about the real problem, an endless series of murders and attempted murders by fanatics yelling ‘Allahu Akbar!’” And John is right. However, the British public has at least a clue. A survey taken for the Daily Mail shows that almost two-thirds of voters in the »

Media alert

Featured image My friend Bill Otis, who sometimes contributes to Power Line, is scheduled to appear on Piers Morgan’s show on CNN tonight some time after 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Bill will discuss Arsenal’s amazing unbeaten streak since Morgan trashed the team on television. NOT — Bill actually will debate Alan Dershowitz about whether The Boston Bomber should face the possibility of the death penalty. Bill’s article about the subject in Forbes »