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Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

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In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

Bernie Sanders And Hillary Clinton Split On The Death Penalty

Bernie Sanders (left) and Hillary Clinton (right)
Bernie Sanders (left) and Hillary Clinton (right)
Clinton thinks it's appropriate for "particularly heinous crimes," while Sanders wants the government out of the killing business.

WASHINGTON -- Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders split on the issue of capital punishment during a debate Thursday, with Clinton supporting the death penalty in certain circumstances and Sanders saying the government shouldn't be "part of the killing."

Clinton said during the MSNBC debate that she still supports the death penalty, though said she had "much more confidence in the federal system" and had concerns with how the death penalty was implemented on the state level. She said she hoped the Supreme Court would make sure states had protections in place and were implementing the death penalty in a constitutional manner.

"For very limited, particularly heinous crimes, I believe it is an appropriate punishment, but I deeply disagree with the way that too many states still are implementing it," Clinton said.

Sanders, on the other hand, said he worried that too many innocent people, particularly minorities, had been executed when they weren't guilty.

"Of course there are barbaric acts out there, but in a world of so much violence and killing, I just don't believe that government itself should be part of the killing," Sanders said. He said when someone commits murder, they should be locked away for life. But, Sanders said, "I just don't want to see government be part of killing."

Source: The Huffington Post, Ryan J. Reilly, February 4, 2016

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