Wednesday, November 12, 2003

On whether there should be a moratorium on the death penalty in Virginia

Via Jurist's Paper Chase, the AP has this article on this study calling for a moratorium on the death penalty in Virginia.

The study is called "Broken Justice: The Death Penalty of Virginia" and is the result of collaboration between the ACLU of Virginia, the Rutherford Institute, the Virgina State Conference NAACP, the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Office of Justice and Peace of the Archdiocese of Richmond, Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Virginia Coalition for Juvenile Justice, Amnesty International USA, Legal Aid Justice Center, and Virginai CURE.

In a nutshell, the report says "that Virginia’s criminal justice system is crippled by procedures that fail to ensure a reliable determination of guilt or innocence." It says that wrongful convictions are "the foreseeable product of two factors presented here: prosecutorial misconduct and incompetent counsel" and that "these factors are aggravated by insensible restrictions on discovery that permit trial by ambush." The report urges that more attention should be paid to the Roger Keith Coleman case.

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