The Law: Fatal Decision

On June 2, 1967, Luis José Monge, 48, convicted of murdering his pregnant wife and three of their seven children, was executed in Colorado State Prison. He was the last man to suffer that fate in the U.S. Since Monge died, 650 other condemned prisoners have accumulated on the nation's death rows, awaiting word from the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the death penalty. Last week the court wiped away two questions that had been key elements in sustaining the moratorium.

At issue were the cases of Dennis McGautha of Los Angeles, condemned...

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