The New Yorker on mitigation

9 May

Last week’s New Yorker had a long, absorbing piece by Jeffrey Toobin about the emergence of mitigation as a strategy for cutting down on the numbers of death penalty verdicts in Texas and other places. For advocates of prison reform, it’s an exciting but problematic strategy–exciting because Danalynn Recer, the woman profiled in the story, seems to have come up with techniques that will cause even Texas jurors to value a defendant’s life; problematic because most defendants who benefit from it are then given sentences of life without parole.

The article gives useful recent history on the development of US criminal law. Unfortunately it’s not available online, but the abstract here is pretty thorough, and people who follow these issues will want to track down the story in print.

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