Death Penalty Debate

Will support for executions continue to grow?


Public concern with violent crime is generating strong support for the death penalty. Thirty-eight states have passed capital punishment laws in the past 20 years - New York just this week - and several other states are considering similar statutes as well. Congress, meanwhile, is debating legislation to limit the rights of condemned inmates to challenge their sentences in court through habeas corpus appeals. Foes of capital punishment are making inroads, too. They have persuaded several states to ban executions of the mentally retard-ed, and they are fighting to guarantee competent counsel for indigent murder defendants. Opponents also point to a new survey of police chiefs which supports their claim that capital punishment is not an effective crime deterrent.

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