While we’re on the subject . . .

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In his op-ed, “Oklahoma’s rush to execute harms culture of life,” in the Oklahoman, Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley writes that a court case pending in federal court on the legality of the state’s lethal injection protocol is an “opportunity” for Oklahoma to end its use of capital punishment. “There is little doubt that society has moved past the need for the death penalty,” he writes. It “is an immoral and antiquated method of addressing serious crimes, and its usage in Oklahoma is irreparably broken.”

“The fact that the decision to administer the federal death penalty has changed based upon who the president or attorney general is at the time has resulted in troubling inconsistencies in its application.” So write former Democratic US Senator Russ Feingold and former Republican US Attorney for Utah Brett Tolman in a The Hill op-ed,”Biden needs to act on growing anti-death penalty sentiments.” Feingold and Tolman argue that based on recent polls that show the majority of Americans favor life without parole over the death penalty, President Biden should commute the sentences of those on death row because capital punishment “is no longer the polarizing issue it once was.”

In his op-ed, “How lawyers regularly keep Black people off juries (and what to do about it),” in AZ Central, Jeffrey Abramson says, “Arizona is taking a bold step toward reforming jury selection.” This is due to a new law, effective January 1, that will eliminate peremptory challenges in jury selection. Abramson, a former prosecutor, writes that the law, the first of its kind in the nation, will be instrumental in making juries more diverse because peremptory challenges, which allow both the prosecution and the defense to strike prospective jurors for no reason, are often used to keep Black people off juries.

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