death penalty cj530 - Alicia Deal CJ 530 Judiciary...

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Alicia Deal 03-24-04 CJ 530 Judiciary Assignment Ultimate Punishment: a Lawyer's Reflections on dealing with the Death Penalty By Scott Turow Published 2003 Scott Turow was once the Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago, Illinois. He now spends much of his time writing fiction novels dealing with the judicial system and is a partner in the firm of Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal. This book details his role on the state commission that influenced the governor of Illinois, George Ryan, to commute the death sentences of 167 inmates in 2002. In 1966, it was shown that for the first time the majority of infomercial opposed the death penalty. In the case of Furman v. Georgia, the Supreme Court found in 1972 that the death penalty “constituted cruel and unusual punishment, with the justices in the majority noting the utter caprice with which American juries were allowed to decide whether a defendant lived or died (22).” Yet due to the tumultuous times of the '60s and ‘70s many people at that time yearned for law and order therefore causing many states to pass new death penalty laws. The Supreme Court ruled in 1976 that the revised laws which were designed to “more closely confine a jury's discretion in imposing death” were in fact constitutional. Thus reinstating capital punishment. However the view of the death penalty is once again changing. An opinion poll in 2003 showed that when the alternative of life in prison without parole was offered only 49% of Americans favored the death penalty. The arrival of DNA testing has continuously shown that people have been wrongfully convicted of violent crimes. Many of those who were exonerated had been sentenced to death. The Death Penalty Information Center reported in May 2003 that was a total of 108 individuals who were convicted and sentenced to death row only later to have the sentences overturned.
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Alicia Deal 03-24-04 CJ 530 Judiciary Assignment According to Turow, in the state of Illinois, there have been seventeen men sentenced to death row who have since had their conviction “legally absolved.” In 1999 alone there were three men freed, including Anthony Porter who was only fifty hours away from being executed. Furthermore, a total of 49% of death penalty cases have been “reversed” for a new trial or a new sentencing hearing. More than a fifth of these cases are due the product of misconduct by prosecutors. Despite being a supporter of the death penalty and playing a pivotal role in getting the death penalty reinstated in Illinois in 1977, then Governor George Ryan pronounced a moratorium on January 31, 2000 which put 167 death sentences on “indefinite hold.” Why? Governor Ryan believed that the capital justice system in Illinois was “fraught with errors (10).” In March of that same year, Ryan introduced a panel of fourteen members to serve on a state commission to investigate and seek reforms for capital punishment in Illinois. Turow was joined by eleven other attorneys (three of which were women). Also on the commission were a former US
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death penalty cj530 - Alicia Deal CJ 530 Judiciary...

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