The Law: Closing Death Row

"I was lying on my bunk," said Lucious Jackson, 25, a rapist confined on the death row of Georgia State Prison, "when I heard one of the fellows shout that they've knocked it out. I had just about given up hope."

"They" were the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, who last week in a long-awaited decision knocked out the death penalty. By the narrowest of margins, they ruled that capital punishment as currently imposed is cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and 14th Amendments.

Since 1967, there has been a moratorium on executions while various cases (including Jackson's) worked...

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