THE JUDICIARY: How Much for a Life?

One day four years ago, seven-year-old Jacqueline Hubbard and her brother got off a clearly marked school bus and began to walk across the highway. Jacqueline stepped into the path of a big van, which killed her. Last week the New Hampshire Supreme Court, in ruling on a death claim by Jacqueline's family, was faced with an unanswerable question: How much is a human life worth?

There were a number of previous decisions to guide the court, but there was no standard or average. Courts are necessarily inclined to an unsentimental view of death compensations,* and most of them are...

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