Abolish the Death Penalty

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A recent Gallup poll found that Americans are still largely supportive of the death penalty, with six in 10 in favor as punishment for murder. Legal in 32 states, it has come under renewed scrutiny in light of several botched executions in 2014.

At the heart of the debate are many complicated questions. Within a flawed criminal justice system, is it possible to know every person’s guilt with a sufficient degree of certainty? Does the fear of death reduce crime? Are there race and class biases in sentencing? Are some crimes so heinous in nature that punishment by death is the only appropriate measure, or is capital punishment always immoral? Should we abolish the death penalty?

These are just some of the questions that panelists will attempt to answer in this debate from Intelligence Squared U.S.

Should the United States abolish the death penalty? 

For the motion is Diann Rust-Tierney, Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and Barry Scheck, Co-Director of the Innocence Project, and professor at Cardozo Law. Against the motion is Robert Blecker, professor at the New York Law School, and Kent Scheidegger, Legal Director at the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.


  • Saturday, May 16 at 6am on 93.9FM and NJPR
  • Saturday, May 16 at 2pm on AM 820
  • Saturday, May 16 at 9pm on NJPR
  • Sunday, May 17 at 8pm on AM 820

Watch the debate: