Judge Pregerson’s Graphic Response To The Death Penalty

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5 Responses

  1. Helsge says:

    “It raises the question fourteen judges applying objective law could not reach: is this sentencing hearing a moment Americans can be proud of?”

    Could not reach? Or rather, was not a question that our democracy entrusts to unelected judges?

  2. Rick Garnett says:

    Hi Dan — thanks for posting that picture. For what it’s worth: Like you, I believe it is crucial that the death penalty’s use (which, I believe, is constitutional) be constrained by, and imposed via, demanding, heightened procedural safeguards. And, I think that a death-row inmate’s decision to waive challenges to his sentence can be entirely reasonable. I don’t, though, think there’s any moral right to “terminate one’s own life.”

  3. cosim says:

    Part of the rationale for certain advocates of capital punishment entails a condemned person understanding his fate; not as something he acquiesces to, but as something he, by his murderous actions, demands. (Perhaps a simplification in many ways, but I think it’s fair enough to say that G.W.F. Hegel subscribes to that view, for example).

    Such advocates believe that in such a manner, capital punishment (ironically, paradoxically) honors the humanity in the condemned. Part of Harry Pregerson’s concern no doubt is directed at a human being addressing another human being, “not to a discarded piece of flesh.”

    The image concluding Pregerson’s dissent seems to be the ultimate rejoinder to the technocratic jurisprudence against which I take Pregerson to be rebelling; that “human body is the best picture of the human soul.” (Ludwig Wittgenstein). Against all of the procedural mumbo jumbo there is at high noon a debased body, a sick soul. But Pregerson is justly irate because Arizona denied a human being his humanity. He says – rightly, I feel – that you can kill a man, but you can’t strip him of his humanity. But that’s what Arizona seems to be getting away with.

    What Pregerson saw, and what his fellow judges evidently did not, was a simple case of the technical law not being necessarily just. “In Hell there will be nothing but law, and due process will be meticulously observed.” (Grant Gilmore).

  4. dillion says:


  5. danielle says:

    i think that the death penalty should be used, but i have heard that in some cases innocent people have ben put to death. so maybe im not so sure on the whole thing.