By Hira Baig Associate Editor, Volume 23 The vast majority of countries, 140 to be exact, consider the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment. The current constitution of Germany, for example, forbids use of capital punishment. Lawyer and activist Bryan Stevenson comments on this policy choice by suggesting there is a connection between Germany’s consciousness of […]
By Anonymous Associate Editor
Since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty through Gregg in 1976, racial bias has continued to pervade its administration. 34.5% of defendants executed have been Black and 55.6% have been white, despite the fact that only 13.3% of people in the U.S. identify as Black, while 77.1% identify as white. I consider myself an abolitionist regarding the death penalty, as I do not think that it is justified for the state to kill a citizen in any circumstance. However, given these alarming statistics and the dire situation they illuminate, I find that efforts to reform the capital process to reduce racial disparity are also worthwhile. Reformers would do well to focus on the elimination of the death qualification process, as well as Eighth Amendment and Batson challenges to the death penalty.