House Upholds Important Judicial Campaign Tool

Story here:

The state House of Representatives on Thursday rejected a bill that would have let juries, not judges, decide whether people convicted of capital murder should be put to death or serve life in prison without parole.

Under current law, juries give advisory verdicts in capital cases, but judges can override.

If a jury recommends the death penalty, a judge can impose a sentence of life in prison without parole. If a jury recommends life in prison without parole, a judge can impose a death sentence.

What the story does not mention is that when judges use override, nine times out of ten they use it to reject the jury’s life recommendation and impose a death sentence.

Whether or not to impose a death sentence is a serious question, one that ought to be answered by a person who is completely free of any outside influences. In a state that chooses judges through partisan elections, that person is not the judge.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Alabama Legislature, Capital Punishment

3 Comments on “House Upholds Important Judicial Campaign Tool”

  1. Truman Says:

    Jurors are too subject to arbitrary and emotional influence. Judges are uniquely qualified to compare the nature of the offense with other crimes and ensure that the Penalty is imposed fairly and uniformly across the board.

    As you know, this is a critical element of maintaining the constitutionality of the death penalty. When the death penalty was reinstated in the 70s, Judicial Overrides were prerequisite.

  2. Baudrillard Says:

    “Jurors are too subject to arbitrary and emotional influence.”

    You are correct, Truman. Jurors, being human, are subject to emotional influence. Judges, may also be subject to emotional influences, but perhaps the monetary influences of their political position outweight any nagging traces of humanity in considering a capital defendant’s sentence. Is that influence what makes Alabama’s judges “uniquely qualified to compare the nature of the offense with other crimes and ensure that the Penalty is imposed fairly and uniformly across the board”?

    Fairly and uniformly … that’s rich.


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