There's progress on the death penalty front to report:
VA Governor Tim Kaine has imposed a moratorium on executions until the Supreme Court decides Baze v. Rees on whether lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment.
Kaine said about 30 executions nationwide have been stayed since September, either by the Supreme Court, lower courts or governors.
In Missouri legislators are considering a bill that would impose a moratorium on executions until 2011 so that death sentences in the state can be reviewed.
Besides the freeze, the measure also would create a 10-person commission to study a random sample of death penalty cases to judge the fairness of the process. The panel could look at topics such as possible racial disparities and the quality of evidence used to convict the person.
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In a report released today, the American Bar Association is calling for a moratorium on executions in the U.S.
The ABA studied the death penalties in 8 states. It found:
- Spotty collection and preservation of DNA evidence, which has been used to exonerate more than 200 inmates;
- Misidentification by eyewitnesses;
- False confessions from defendants; and
- Persistent racial disparities that make death sentences more likely when victims are white.
"After carefully studying the way states across the spectrum handle executions, it has become crystal clear that the process is deeply flawed," said Stephen F. Hanlon, chairman of the ABA Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project. "The death penalty system is rife with irregularity."
I'll update with a link to the report when it's available.
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