Sunday, November 13, 2011

'Nuff said

(Taking context-optional note of thought-provoking quotes)

Although concerns about the human impact of excessive time spent on death row have received little attention in this country, the 'death row phenomenon' — including lengthy time on death row — has been recognized as inhuman punishment and illegal throughout Europe since the 1980s.

-- Our colleague Sarah H. Cleveland (left), recently returned to the law faculty at Columbia following service as Counselor to the State Department (2009-2011), quoted in an article by The New York Times' Adam Liptak. (photo credit) The article points to the latest surfacing of debate respecting lengthy stays on condemned row; specifically, Justice Stephen G. Breyer's dissent from the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal on September 28 to grant a stay requested in Valle v. Florida. The petitioner, a 61-year-old condemned man who'd spent more than half his life on death row, was executed hours after the decision issued. Breyer limited the discussion in his 3-page dissent to U.S. opinions -- opinions by him and since-retired Justice John Paul Stevens that cited foreign law. As we've posted and as Sarah's quote indicates, those authorities include Soering v. United Kingdom , decided by the European Court of Human Rights in 1989, as well as a 1994 ruling by Britain's Privy Council.


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