Tuesday, June 21, 2005

This letter caught my eye

The following letter was published in the New York Times today. Most visitors to this blog will know that if you are unalterably opposed to the death penalty, you are ineligible to serve on a jury in a capital murder trial.

This makes a very substantial portion of the U.S. population ineligible to serve:

Death Penalty Trials

To the Editor:

Re "Prosecutorial Racial Bias in Texas" (editorial, June 14):

When the Supreme Court threw out Thomas Miller-El's death sentence (on the grounds that blacks were systematically excluded from serving as jurors in his case), the court paved the way for it, or a future court, to examine a more substantive question: whether any death penalty trial can ever be a fair one.

No defendant in a capital case in the United States - black, white or other - is afforded a fair trial under our current system. Each is tried by a jury from which the state has excluded anyone who says he or she opposes the idea of a fellow human's being put to death.

When do you suppose the court will acknowledge that barring potential jurors on such grounds is no different from excluding them on the basis of race, religion or gender?

Frank McNeirney
National Coordinator, Catholics
Against Capital Punishment
Bethesda, Md.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What we need is a simple federal law that reads:

The right to serve as a juror shall not be abridged based on religious belief or preference.