Lethal Injection: South Dakota's new lethal injection law, signed by the governor Friday, avoids the prior mistake of specifying the details in the statute. The corrections officials will now determine the protocol, Katie Brown of the Rapid City Journal reports.
Humor Pics on the judicial system from The Onion are here (hat tip: Capital Defense Weekly).
NY Sex Offender Commitment: If NY Governor Eliot Spitzer's revised "civil confinement" law passes, sex offenders that are deemed a threat to the community after release would be confined in psychiatric treatment centers. The AP story by Mark Johnson also explains that sex offenders will be assessed to see if they are still a threat, then a jury will decide if they would re-offend. If yes, the judge will decide between psychiatric confinement or "intensive supervision." An Office of Sex Offender Management would be created to ensure the offenders "judged likely to reoffend" are put away.
Bright green license plates for "habitual and child-oriented" sex offenders in Ohio, if a bill by Rep. Michael DeBose and Senator Kevin Coughlin is passed. A previous bill to have pink license plates did not pass. Ohio however, already has yellow plate tags for repeat DUI offenders as reported in this AP story.
The only inmate on death row for rape is appealing his conviction in New Orleans. 42-year-old rapist, not named to protect the victim, was convicted in 2003 of the aggravated rape of his 8-year-old stepdaughter in 1998. KATC's report explains, "the man is the only person convicted under the 1995 law, which allows the death penalty for aggravated rape of [a child] less then 12 years old." Montana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina are the only other states that allow capital punishment for child rape. His appeal is based on errors by prosecution and the argument that his "penalty is disproportionate to the crime." The story incorrectly states that "the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1977 that murder was the only crime for which the death penalty was constitutional." In fact, in Coker v. Georgia, 433 U.S. 584, 597 (1977), the Court expressly limited its holding to adult-victim rape cases.
Don't abolish the death penalty, fix it. The Baltimore Sun has an interesting op-ed by former prosecutor and New Jersey legislator John F. Russo. In it are excerpts from his dissent from the report of the New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission. He, unlike the other members, believes "that the death penalty should be available for extreme cases such as for serial killers and terrorists, or in situations where an unpaid ransom results in the killing of a child." He argues on points made by the Commission on the death penalty including deterrence, cost, and the risk of execution of innocent people. The Commission's report can be found here.
Laws on sex offenders using the internet have gotten even tougher. New Jersey is now proposing that on top of the offenders having to register their online identities and be restricted from certain sites, they would get five years in jail if they were trying to "solicit a child" on the computer. Online dating serivces would also have to report if they do background checks. As reported here, the bill includes check ups of the offenders' computer equipment and installation of equipment that lets law enforcement know the offender is on the computer.