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Additional resources for Capital Punishment, 2nd Edition (Point Counterpoint)
3 In recent years, abolitionists have continued to assail the conclusions of studies finding a deterrent effect. Testifying before the Massachusetts legislature in 2005, Columbia University pro- fessor Jeffrey Fagan Â�argued: Recent studies claiming that executions reduce murders have fueled the revival of deterrence as a rationale to expand the use of capital punishment. Such strong claims are not unusual in either the social or natural sciences, but like nearly all claims of strong causal effects from any social or legal intervention, the claims of a “new deterrence” fall apart under close scrutiny.
Under the aegis of the Eighth Amendment, we have given the broadest lati- tude to the defendant to introduce relevant mitigating evidence reflecting on his individual personality, and the defendant’s attorney may argue that evidence to the jury. Petitioner’s attorney in this case did just that. â•‹that a State may not permit the prosecutor to similarly argue to the jury the human cost of the crime of which the defendant stands convicted. We reaffirm the view expressed by Justice Cardozo in Snyder v.
Nor will exempting the mentally retarded from execution lessen the deterrent effect of the death penalty with respect to offenders who are not mentally retarded. Such individuals are unprotected by the exemption and will continue to face the threat of execution. â•‹. Our independent evaluation of the issue reveals no reason to disagree with the judgment of “the legislatures that have recently addressed the matter” and concluded that death is not a suitable punishment for a mentally retarded crimi- nal.