February 25, 2022
Ending State-Sanctioned Killings: Prosecutors and the Death Penalty
When the Supreme Court revived the death penalty in 1976, it did so on the promise that only the so-called “worst of the worst” would be executed. Yet nearly 50 years and countless reform efforts later, the death penalty is often used against the most marginalized and vulnerable. With 23 states prohibiting capital punishment altogether, decades of Supreme Court precedent limiting its use, and capital prosecutions declining significantly in death penalty states, criminal justice leaders and communities across the country are asking whether the death penalty can ever be sufficiently reformed or repaired.
In response, reform-minded state and local elected prosecutors across the country are redoubling their efforts to curtail and ultimately eliminate our nation’s failed death penalty system, demonstrating that public safety is not contingent on the justice system’s ability to kill. These efforts are supported by new polling from the Justice Research Group, which shows that when people learn who is subjected to our harshest punishment, overwhelming bipartisan majorities of voters oppose the use of the death penalty.
Join the American Constitution Society and Fair and Just Prosecution for a discussion with current and former prosecutors about the growing bipartisan opposition to the death penalty in prosecutor offices and communities across the country.
Elizabeth Bruenig, staff writer, The Atlantic, Moderator
Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, Commonwealth's Attorney, Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, Virginia
Robert Dunham, Executive Director, Death Penalty Information Center
Miriam Krinsky, Executive Director, Fair and Just Prosecution
Dan Satterberg, Prosecuting Attorney, King County, Washington
This program is being co-hosted with Fair and Just Prosecution.