A recent article in the Brooklyn Law Review argues that executing long-serving, elderly death row inmates should be deemed unconstitutional as cruel and unusual punishment. In A Modest Proposal: The Aged of Death Row Should Be Deemed Too Old to Execute, Professor Elizabeth Rapaport (pictured) of the University of New Mexico School of Law maintains that harsh death row conditions, along with the fragility of the growing number of elderly inmates due to the aging process, result in excess suffering that should render their execution a violation of the Eighth Amendment. Rapaport states, “The long delays between pronouncement of sentence and execution, and the considerable uncertainty about whether any condemned man or woman will be executed in our system of capital punishment, have given rise to a new form of cruelty unknown to our ancestors. Delay is not aberrant but normal. It cannot be purged from the system without doing unacceptable violence to constitutionally mandated due process.”
(E. Rapaport, "A Modest Proposal: The Aged of Death Row Should Be Deemed Too Old to Execute," 77 Brooklyn Law Review 1089 (2012)). See Time on Death Row. Read more law review articles. Listen to DPIC's podcast on Death Row Conditions.