Death penalty limbo: Supreme Court, states give laws another look

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The death penalty in the United States is repeatedly getting hit by the pause button — which doesn’t mean it is going away anytime soon, but at the very least it is getting a second look by state legislatures, courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. This year, several states are looking at…

Supreme Court rules Florida’s death penalty system unconstitutional

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. Supreme Court Jan. 12 said the state of Florida’s death penalty system is unconstitutional because it allows judges, rather than juries, to determine whether a convicted criminal should get a death sentence. Michael B. Sheedy, executive director of the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops in Tallahassee, said the conference was…

Court ruling puts spotlight on death penalty’s legality, morality

The Supreme Court in less than a week offered up a summer’s worth of rulings  — on the Affordable Care Act, on same-sex marriage and on several other items that received less attention in the evening news. Among the latter was the court’s ruling that states may use a sedative drug, midazolam, for carrying out…

Reaction mixed to Tsarnaev death sentence in Boston Marathon bombing

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Reaction was mixed to the May 15 jury sentencing of death for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Tsarnaev had been convicted April 8 of all 30 counts lodged against him in the bombing, which killed three people and injured hundreds. Of those 30 counts, 17 carried…

Supreme Court takes close, contested look at lethal injection drug

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Exactly one year after a botched execution in Oklahoma, the Supreme Court took a close look at the effectiveness of a specific drug used in the state’s lethal injections to determine whether it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. The April 29 oral arguments were at times bogged down by medical details and…

Bishops object to death penalty as punishment in Boston bomber

BOSTON (CNS) — As the trial of Boston Marathon bombing defendant Dzhokhar Tsarnaev went to the jury April 6, the Catholic bishops of Massachusetts released a statement reiterating the church’s teaching on the death penalty. If convicted, Tsarnaev could be sentenced to death or to life without the possibility of parole. The Catholic Church opposes…

Four national Catholic publications call for ending the death penalty

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Four nationally circulated Catholic publications called for abolishing the death penalty in the United States in a jointly published editorial. America, National Catholic Register, National Catholic Reporter and Our Sunday Visitor urged their readers, the U.S. Catholic community and people of faith to “stand with us and say, ‘Capital punishment must end,’”…