AMERICAN NOTES: New Life for Death

The Supreme Court last week finally decided to consider anew the perplexing question of capital punishment. It agreed to review the cases of five convicted murderers sentenced to death under state laws enacted since 1972, when the court ruled that previous laws authorizing the death penalty were unconstitutional. The new Supreme Court decision, expected in June, will decide the fate of more than 400 prisoners now awaiting execution under a variety of state laws.

Although the nine Justices issued nine separate opinions in the court's 1972 decision, the overall vote to suspend the death penalty was 5 to 4. Since...

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