LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ABA hasn't recommended Missouri death penalty moratorium

Monday, July 16, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

A story by The Associated Press ("Missouri prosecutors stay silent on death penalty study") published Thursday incorrectly reported that state-based death penalty assessment teams, sponsored by the American Bar Association's Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project, have recommended that executions be suspended in seven of the nine states studied.

In fact, state teams have recommended moratoriums in six of 10 state reviews. The Missouri team, however, did not address whether the state should impose a moratorium. Instead, the team recommended specific reforms to improve the fairness of Missouri’s proceedings and minimize the risk of wrongful executions. The project encourages states to undertake comprehensive reviews like the one conducted in Missouri.  

It is important to note that the ABA has never taken a position on the death penalty itself. The association has published defense and prosecution guidelines intended to ensure all possible fairness in capital cases. The ABA’s policies, studies and the work of its nearly 400,000 members are directed at providing the necessary resources and expertise to judges, prosecutors and defense counsels so that our criminal justice system works with accuracy and justice for all.

William (Bill) T. Robinson III is president of the American Bar Association.

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