Federal Judge: Death Row Delays Are Cruel and Unusual Punishment

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Deborah Denno quoted in a US News and World Report article about a decision by a federal judge in California that declared the state’s death penalty system unconstitutional and the ways in which it is limited in nature, yet is still considered historic by opponents of capital punishment.

“It’s not that he is saying anything new, it’s who is saying it [a former President George W. Bush appointee]and the time he is saying it , and the way he is saying it,” says Fordham Law School professor Deborah Denno, a leading legal expert on the death penalty.

Regardless of whether the claim will stand up in higher courts, the California ruling also comes as the death penalty itself has been under increased scrutiny due to botched executions stemming from a shortage of lethal injection drugs. That, along with concerns about the system’s racial disparity and about death row inmates later found to be innocent, could create a “snowball effect,” Denno says.

“It’s not going to be any one event that gets rid of the death penalty,” she says.

Read the entire US News and World Report article.

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