The Law: Death Rattles

Most people assumed that the death penalty died last June when the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote in Furman v. Georgia, declared capital punishment unconstitutional. So why, in this week's election, did California ask its voters for their opinion on capital punishment? In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court decision was not all that clear. Each of the nine Justices was moved to write his own opinion, and at least two Justices based their anti-death decision on the "arbitrary" and "freakish" choice of those on whom the penalty has been imposed....

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