Wow. First the Supreme Court and now the State of Texas does something extraordinary (for it anyway). Governor Rick Perry signed a law this week that will allow juries to choose a sentence of life without possibility of parole instead of the death penalty. Prior to this law, Texas only had two options in "capital" crimes: death or life with the possibility of parole after 40 years. Jurors who are afraid that a violent criminal will be released and offend again and choose the death penalty because to them it is the lesser of two bad options (even if they think the defendant does not deserve death), will now be less stuck between a rock and a hard place. (see Kelsey Patterson for a good example of this)
As you all know, I'm a big advocate of the life without parole option. I'm the first one to say that I think most convicted capital murderers (provided there were no other constitutional issues with the conviction and no evidence of actual innocence) should be locked away for the remainder of their natural lives. There are some crimes that capital punishment jurisdictions find worthy of death that I do not think fall into the category of necessitating life without parole (in certain circumstances), but overall, I think life without possibility of parole is the most appropriate option.
Huh...I wonder if I am still on hiatus...
Texas withdraws parole option in murder cases