04 February 2005

From the Fighting Fourth

Judge Wilkinson (that's right Judge Wilkinson):
No person should be executed in America on the theory that his life is of less worth than that of someone else. This principle is not only clearly established in federal law; it is anciently so. Neither a defense attorney, nor a state court judge, nor his federal counterpart should need any prompting to object to a death sentence that is premised on a principle of comparative human worth. Because the majority’s opinion fails to respect the ban on such comparisons, and in the process strays perilously close to endorsing them, I respectfully dissent.

There should be no doubt that this case presents a violation of this sort. The prosecutor made no bones about what he did. He baldly compared the general worth of the victim’s existence with that of the defendant and urged the jury to impose a death penalty on that basis. This sort of argument should not serve as a prelude to any sort of punishment, much less to a capital sentence.
Link here via How Appealing

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