By Mary Welek Atwell (auth.)
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Additional info for An American Dilemma: International Law, Capital Punishment, and Federalism
The United T h e L e g al F r am e wo r k 25 Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1998 asked all retentionist countries to consider suspending executions with a view to abolishing capital punishment altogether. 6 The Catholic Church too, along with many international Christian denominations, moved toward an anti-capital punishment position. The religious debate changed from justifying a state’s right to kill to focusing on the individual’s right to live. 7 The United States was an outlier on the issue—refusing to sign some agreements and supporting others only with reservations.
T h e L e g al F r am e wo r k 35 H ERRERA and AEDPA: The Issue of Innocence What could possibly be accomplished if the state puts an innocent person to death? Retribution requires that the guilty person bear the price of his crime. Who would be deterred by watching the criminal justice system make a serious mistake and fail to do its job? Yet the court’s ruling in Herrera v. Collins46 and the enactment of the 1996 AEDPA make it more difficult for innocent men or women to reopen capital cases. Herrera was convicted in the killing of two Texas police officers and sentenced to death.
By law in force at the time of the crime . . 5 Gradually, many other nations came to see the right to life as prohibiting any state execution and the trend toward universal abolition of the death penalty accelerated. In 1990, the Organization of American States adopted the Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty. Although the United States did not ratify the document, the signatories agreed that member states should abstain from the use of the death penalty.
An American Dilemma: International Law, Capital Punishment, and Federalism by Mary Welek Atwell (auth.)