Holder: Lonely Holdout as Death Row Enters Death Throes

By Susanne Dumbleton, Truthout | Op-Ed

In seeking the death penalty for the accused Boston marathon bomber, Eric Holder violates his personal opposition, Boston public opinion and growing nationwide resistance to execution as criminal punishment.

In seeking the death penalty for the accused Boston marathon bomber, Eric Holder violates his personal opposition, Boston public opinion and growing nationwide resistance to execution as criminal punishment.

Following the Boston Marathon bombing, a September Boston Globe survey showed that the majority of Boston citizens, including immediate victims, opposed the death penalty for the man accused, should he be convicted. The poll is in line with general sentiment across the country: Since 2008, one state per year has officially abandoned the practice; death sentences have declined by half; and public support for the death penalty has declined. US Attorney General Eric Holder himself is on the record as personally opposed to the death penalty because he has seen that it is often unfairly applied.

Yet Holder plans to seek the death penalty in the case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man accused of carrying out the Boston bombings along with his brother.

In recent years, support for execution has been eroded by outrage – about errors (143 Death Row inmates found to have been wrongfully convicted); about cost (a capital trial expense is eight times higher than a trial seeking life in prison); about racism (those who kill whites are exponentially more likely to get the death sentence); and about classism (those who cannot afford skilled defense are exponentially more likely to get the death sentence). The Justice Department’s decision to pursue the death penalty for Tsarnaev is discordant with the overwhelming direction of the country at this point in history.

Massachusetts, as a state, has denounced execution: Holder would have to move the sentencing to another state because Massachusetts has no death penalty.

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http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/22444-holder-a-lonely-holdout-as-death-row-enters-death-throes

 

Reprinted with permission