While there is, legally speaking, no death penalty in Canada, our opinions on capital punishment tend not to stray too far from our neighbours down south.
Our histories are different, and evidence of slavery in Canada generally isn’t as explicit and generationally destructive to as many people. I mean, for a time, the human slave trade in America was the largest part of their (and the world’s) economy. This is a frightening thought.
Which is why I was saddened, yet not surprised, to learn this legal relic still alive and well in (surprise) Alabama:
In Alabama, though, a capital case doesn’t necessarily end there. The state’s judges can exercise an unusual power: they can “override” a jury’s collective judgment and impose the death penalty unilaterally.
In Florida, for example, a judge must give a jury’s decision “great weight” and override a verdict only if any reasonable person could see a problem with the verdict. It’s different in Alabama though. A judge in Alabama doesn’t really have to consider a jury’s verdict in a capital murder case; he or she (mostly he) can decide for themselves whether or not a person shall live or die. As the article outlines, there are many things wrong with this approach.
Learn about the utterly racist and classist application of the dealth penalty in America, which is still happening today…in 2014: