Double Jeopardy In Alabama, a judge can override a jury that spares a murderer from the death penalty.

The title of this post is the title to a long article in The New Yorker. See here. A friend of this blog suggested that I read it, and I am enormously grateful for the suggestion. While it will take you some time, I strongly encourage you to read it as well.

paige-williams-2014-150x150The piece is wonderfully written. Indeed, and whether intended or not, it is the best example of legal realism I have read in a long time.

The author is Paige Williams, an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism. Among other accomplishments, Ms. Williams is the former editor of Nieman Storyboard, the online narrative journalism publication of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. She holds an MFA, in fiction, from Columbia University. Her narrative nonfiction book “The Dinosaur Artist,” based on a New Yorker story, will be published, by Hachette, in fall 2016.

I wish I could write like Ms. Williams. In fact, I would sell what little remains of my soul to acquire that talent.

As for the legal issues raised by the article, I will leave that to mostly to you. What I will say is that electing judges, and then allowing judges to impose the death penalty after juries have decided against it, hits my nostrils as a particularly toxic brew.

I am interested in your thoughts, particularly if you are from Alabama. I would love to hear your views on the legal issues and, of equal importance to me, the writing of Ms. Williams.

RGK

*The federal system allows me to use acquitted conduct to sentence someone, although I don’t remember ever doing so. That said, having been given life tenure, I have no incentive to curry favor with those who vote with their viscera rather than their prehistoric brains. Nor do I need to worry about the leftist Wobblies who, spouting utter nonsense, populate, and parade about, college towns like Lincoln.

 

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