The Law: No-Nonsense Innovator

Two years ago, Billie Austin Bryant stood before U.S. District Judge Gerhard A. Gesell in Washington, D.C., to await sentencing after having been convicted of killing two FBI agents. Under the law, Judge Gesell had only two alternatives: electrocution or life imprisonment. Though he declared that death was merited by the mercilessness of the deed, the judge spared Bryant's life. "It would not serve the ends of effective justice to allow the defendant the luxury of all the special attention that a capital penalty would generate," he said. Addressing the defendant, Gesell intoned:...

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