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INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS, A “FOOLPROOF” DEATH PENALTY ACT, AND THE POLITICS OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT (English version)

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  • Russell G. MURPHY

    () (Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Massachusetts.)

Abstract

A majority of American states recognize the death penalty as a lawful and constitutional sentence for the most serious crimes committed by the most dangerous and blameworthy criminals. However, in recent years, numerous flaws in capital punishment systems have caused courts in the United States to reverse death sentences. Over one hundred death row inmates have been exonerated and released from prison. These same problems – racial bias, untrustworthy evidence, police and prosecutor misconduct, jury malfunctioning – have been joined with more philosophical notions of the limits of government and respect for human dignity to make capital punishment a human rights violation. One state Governor, Mitt Romney of the U.S. State of Massachusetts, proposed legislation that would have eliminated many of the shortcomings of death penalty practice by creating a “foolproof” capital system built on heavy reliance on scientific evidence to establish guilt. This article describes that law, examines political reactions to it, and explores the political implications of Governor Romney’s efforts for his current campaign to become the 2012 Presidential nominee of the Republican Party of the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Russell G. MURPHY, 2011. "INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS, A “FOOLPROOF” DEATH PENALTY ACT, AND THE POLITICS OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT (English version)," Jurnalul de Studii Juridice, Editura Lumen, Department of Economics on Behalf of Petre Andrei University Iasi, vol. 1, pages 13-42, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:lum:rev4rl:v:1-2:y:2011:i::p:13-42
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    Keywords

    criminal sentencing; death penalty; capital punishment; legislation; public policy; human rights.;

    JEL classification:

    • A23 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Graduate
    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)

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