- The legislatures of all 'death penalty' states and the U.S. Congress.
One of the most serious threats to the U.S. criminal justice system is the allegation that racism influences the imposition of death sentences.
I propose an overhaul of the sentencing process, using the best technology available.
Fair Capital Sentencing Act of 2012
Effective 1 January, 2012:
Upon conviction of a capital crime, the defendant shall be remanded into custody pending the selection of a new jury for a separate sentencing trial.
The defendant shall have the right to observe the jury selection and sentencing trial from a separate room, via one-way closed-circuit television and communicate with his or her counsel via a private audio communications system such as Interrupted Feedback (sometimes called interruptible foldback) or a Talkback.
The defendant may give testimony from a separate room, via an audio channel which has been digitally-altered to remove any ethnic identifiers, with a raw-feed provided to counsel for both prosecution and defense, and the judge.
The defendant's family, friends and any other character witnesses may also testify in a similar manner.
Under no circumstances shall the defendant personally appear in court during the sentencing trial. Violation of this provision shall result in a mandatory mistrial.
The defendant's family may only attend the sentencing trial while seated behind opaque dividers sufficient to prevent jury members from glimpsing them. If such accommodations are not available, the defendant's family may monitor the trial with him or her. Violation of this provision shall result in a mandatory mistrial.
Upon being informed of a verdict, the judge shall have the defendant brought into the courtroom and provide him or her a chance to address the bench before announcing the sentence.
If the death sentence is imposed by a state court, it shall be immediately submitted to that state's Supreme Court or Court of Criminal Appeals for review.
If the death sentence is imposed by a U.S. District Court, it shall be immediately submitted to the appropriate Circuit Court of Criminal Appeals for review.
If the death sentence is imposed by a U.S. Military Court, it shall be immediately submitted to the Court of Military Appeals for review.
The Fair Capital Sentencing Act of 2012 petition to The legislatures of all 'death penalty' states and the U.S. Congress. was written by Eric Lee Nickell and is in the category Law Reform at GoPetition.