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Capital Punishment
  • Wimpy Arkansas GOP Backs Away from Slavery and Child Murder

    It appears that Mitt Romney's move toward the political center is having a wider impact than originally anticipated. No sooner had the candidate at the top of the GOP ticket backed away from his contention that 47% of Americans are barely worthy of serving as dressage horse stable hands, this bleeding heart syndrome has begun to infect even the most rock-ribbed of conservative state parties.

    The latest to be struck down by viral liberalism is the Arkansas Republican Party. Ever since a takeover the State House appeared in sight, the state GOP has offered support to the likes of  State Rep. Jon Hubbard, author of Letters to the Editor: Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative and opinions such as, "the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise."

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    Tags: Arkansas, Capital Punishment, Children, Racism, Republicans, Slavery, State Legislature
  • Rick Scott Executes Florida Innocence Commission

    For people who claim skepticism about the efficacy of government, many conservative Republicans are strangely optimistic about the effects legislation can have on the real world.

    Concerned about the effects of climate? North Carolina will put those liberal oceans in their place by requiring scientists to change the way they report sea level projections. Worried about the decaying moral fabric of civilization? Tennessee has the answer with its "don't say gay" initiative. There's almost no issue that can't be solved by aggressively ignoring it.

    One of Florida's problems appears to be the stunning regularity with which innocent people are convicted of capital crimes. Since 1973, 23 death row inmates have been exonerated in the state. Governor Rick Scott has a novel solution: Eliminate the judicially imposed Innocence Commission that has been active since 2009.

    The Commission costs $200,000 to operate, an appropriation that Scott recently vetoed

    It's a puzzling decision from the governor, a favorite among Tea Party activists and limited government advocates. In a state with a $70 billion budget, the commission's funding is minuscule. Even if Scott is unconcerned about his state's history of imprisoning innocent people, his veto could cost Florida taxpayers in the long run. A 2011 study of 85 wrongful convictions in Illinois found that convicting and imprisoning the wrong person cost taxpayers $214 million. The actual perpetrators of those crimes went on to commit dozens of additional felonies, including 14 murders. Assuming the costs are similar in Florida, if the commission prevents just one wrongful conviction, it would fund itself for 12.5 years.

    Sure, this sounds like a potentially expensive proposition, but can you really put a price tag on the moral lightness that comes with not knowing whether the state is putting innocent people to death?

    Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images/Getty Images

    Tags: Capital Punishment, Florida, Judiciary, Rick Scott
  • Troy Davis Executed, Ann Coulter Still on the Loose

    After a brief delay during which the US Supreme Court considered a stay, Troy Davis was executed by the state of Georgia at 11:08 last night. Davis, who was convicted of murdering a Savannah police officer 22 years ago, maintained his innocence to the end — a claim made credible made by a lack of physical evidence and the recantation of seven prosecution witnesses.

    With hundreds of thousands of activists pleading for clemency, the outcome was in doubt even as the clock crept past the scheduled hour for Davis's execution…

    The appeal to the Supreme Court was one of several last-ditch efforts by Mr. Davis on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, an official with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said that the vote by the Georgia parole board to deny clemency to Mr. Davis was so close that he hoped there might be a chance to save him from execution.

    The official, Edward O. DuBose, president of the Georgia chapter, said the group had "very reliable information from the board members directly that the board was split 3 to 2 on whether to grant clemency."

    In such a controversial case, who could Americans turns to for an exegesis of the evidence and a moral examination of whether it's appropriate for man's life to hinge on a 3 to 2 vote? Ladies and gentlemen, Ann Coulter

    Oh, no! Someone's hacked into Coulter's Twitter account and impersonated a hyena cackling out morally questionable drivel! Luckily, the real Ann Coulter soon returned

    Oh… oh. Learning that this wasn't a parody account made me depressed enough that I thought about getting help from Rainbow Medical Associates and CorrectHealth, Inc., which sound like the kind of organizations that could help with my anguish. Unfortunately, they were busy helping the Georgia Department of Corrections provide execution services. A whole rainbow of execution services.

    Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Ann Coulter, Capital Punishment, Georgia, Judiciary, NAACP, Supreme Court
  • Colbert on the Decline of the Death Penalty

    If you saw last night's Colbert Report, you know there's been a dramatic drop in criminal death sentences in the United States over the past decade. And while that's all well and good for the wrongly convicted and proponents of compassion and humaneness, won't anyone think about the effect this must be having on the potassium chloride industry?

    The Colbert Report airs Monday through Thursday at 11:30pm / 10:30c.

    Tags: Antonin Scalia, Capital Punishment, Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report, Video