The Los Angeles Times features an editorial condemning the city's prosecutors for seeking, and getting, the death penalty 13 times last year. The editorial's concluding paragraph states:
The [death penalty's] cost, of course, isn't the best reason to end [it] -- it's that an imperfect justice system cannot provide 100% certainty of guilt, making us all guilty of state-sanctioned murder when the courts get it wrong. That's why most developed nations have done away with capital punishment. In that context, L.A. prosecutors aren't just being overzealous, they're being inhumane.
It would take more than the length of a readable entry on this blog to spell out everything that's wrong with the editorial, so forgive me for going after the low-hanging fruit.
First, the paper discusses the "inhumanity" of the death penalty without describing a single fact in a single case in which the jury imposed it. One might suspect that the omission is a deliberate attempt to hide the horrifying details that convinced 12 normal citizens to choose capital punishment.
Second, the editorial doesn't even make a pretense of acknowledging, much less addressing, the arguments that have convinced California (and national) voters to support the death penalty by 2-1. Has it struck the editorial writers as odd that such a large swath of humanity is "inhumane"?
Third and relatedly, the only advocacy groups cited are, guess what, the ACLU and the DPIC. Indeed, the editorial is little more than a cheering section for the ACLU report it cites. It's perfectly proper, though mistaken in my view, for a paper to oppose the death penalty. But it's cheap journalism just to echo someone else's press release.
Fourth, the paper repeats what I'm sure it does not intend to be the racist canard that most "developed countries" have ended capital punishment -- never mentioning that culturally well developed but non-caucasian countries like Japan, India and South Korea retain it, not to mention most of the world's population.
Last for now, the editorial astonishingly labels as "inhumane" the city's prosecutors for applying state law and making good on their professional obligation to represent their client. That's not what we heard from liberals when the question was the propriety of the lawyers comprising the "DOJ Seven" when, in private practice, they represented their clients, notwithstanding that the clients were jihadists.