Relaxing Rules on Imposing Death Penalty

Some in the Georgia legislature want to remove the stipulation that a jury must be unanimous in agreeing that a convicted defendant should receive the death penalty for their crimes:

I understand their anger, as it certainly sounds like this person deserves the death penalty if anyone does.  But it has to be difficult to impose that ultimate punishment.  If anything, the burden for imposing the death penalty should be higher than the burden for merely gaining the conviction, not the reverse.  I could agree with taking this decision out of the juries hand and putting it in the judges hands, but if the jury is to decide, it should have to be unanimous in criminal court matters.  Prosecutors worried about people opposed to the death penalty getting on their juries will just have to do a more thorough job during voir dire.


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