The Law: Clemency in Arkansas

Capital punishment in the U.S., as a practical matter, is in a state of abeyance. While a new ruling from the Supreme Court is pending, however, death rows remain very much of a reality to their occupants, and there are still many appeals in litigation. Last week one type of solution came from Arkansas, a state noted until now for its harsh treatment of felons. Governor Winthrop Rockefeller, who leaves office this month, exercised his right of executive clemency and commuted the death sentences of all 15 prisoners who had been awaiting execution. It was the most sweeping use within memory...

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