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Thursday, July 03, 2003

I highly recommend Margaret Talbot's article in this week's New York Times Magazine. (Registration may be required.) It's about the difficulty of implementing the Supreme Court's Atkins decision that prevents the execution of the mentally retarded.

This was the passage that really jumped out at me:

"When you tell a story like Terrell Yarbrough's, you face a choice. You can start with the crime, and if it is a capital crime, it's a horror story of some kind. Or you can start with the story of the criminal's life: he was born here, and his mother was a this, and his troubles started when, and so on, and almost as often it's a horror story, too, of a different sort. And either version is true, in its way, but the one you choose has implications."

It's an unforgettable -- and remarkably balanced -- attempt to tell the horror stories from two men on Ohio's Death Row. And it's also the best argument for Scalia's dissent in the Atkins case, which criticized the majority for being "nice" without understanding the full extent of what they were doing.

 9:02 AM

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