Criminal Justice: Two Boys & the Death Penalty

Capital punishment is dying in the U.S. There were only two executions last year, just one the year before. A concerted attack is being waged on grounds that it is cruel and inhuman vengeance, does not work as a deterrent and is otherwise archaic. Suits by the American Civil Liberties Union and the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund have blocked all executions in Florida and California until the question of whether or not the death sentence is still constitutional can be resolved in court.

Public feeling, too, has shifted. Gallup reports that more Americans...