header image
Home Page
Hear Past Shows
About Us
April 22, 2018

Note: Justice Talking's grant funding expired in 2008 and the project has been closed. This website is an archive of the entire run of Justice Talking shows through June 30, 2008.
It is no longer being maintained. We apologize for any stale or broken links.
Featured Program

Executions and the Mentally Retarded
Last Featured: 2/13/2002

Listen to Full Program
(Windows Media Player Required)

Download the MP3
(Right-click and choose 'Save As...'
from the pop-up menu.)

Note: Justice Talking ceased production on June 30 of 2008. Link information on this site is not maintained and is provided for historical interest only. Although correct when posted, The Annenberg Public Policy Center makes no claim as the the accuracy or continued availability of any third party web links found on this site.

On February 20th, the U.S. Supreme Court will revisit the death penalty in America. The case before the court asks whether executing the mentally retarded violates the U-S Constitution`s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. ### Hundreds of people on death row in America are thought to be mentally retarded. Opponents of capital punishment say many can’t understand their rights or assist in their own defense. But prosecutors say even those with low IQs understand the nature of their crimes. In 1989, the Supreme Court said there was no national consensus against such executions since only 2 states banned the practice. Today, 18 states prohibit the death penalty for people with mental retardation.

Nadine Strossen ,a professor at New York Law School, Strossen has written, lectured and practiced extensively in the areas of constitutional law, civil liberties and international human rights. In 1991 she was elected President of the American Civil Liberties Union, the first woman to head the nation's largest and oldest civil liberties organization. . The National Law Journal has twice named Strossen one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America.

Joshua Marquis has been district attorney in Astoria, Oregon since his appointment in 1994 and has been re-elected twice. He is currently president of the Oregon District Attorney’s Association and serves on the board of the national District Attorney’s Association. Marquis has been both prosecutor and defender in capital cases.

Closing Quote
"In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher for good, for ill, it teaches the whole people by example."

— Justice Louis Brandeis

©1999-2018 University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved. Any Justice Talking program downloaded or podcast from this site is for personal use only. Any Justice Talking program, or portion of it, may not reproduced, publicly distributed or displayed, used to create a derivative work, or otherwise copied or transmitted to a third party, in any format now known or hereafter discovered, except as expressly permitted by Law.

To request permission to use Justice Talking audio, please contact support.
Join the Debate
NOTE: Justice Talking Blogs and Forums have been closed.
Special Announcements
Justice Talking’s last broadcast & podcast was June 30, 2008.

ATTENTION TEACHERS: Additional materials supporting use of this program in the classroom are available: ClickHere
Policy Statement: American Association on Mental Retardation
Pro Death Penalty
Human Rights Watch report: Beyond Reason
The Arc
Death Penalty Information Center
Townhall.com article
Death Penalty Report: A Broken System, Part II
Dead Man Walking : An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States
by Helen Prejean
Death Penalty Cases : Leading U.S. Supreme Court Cases on Capital Punishment
by Barry Latzer
The Criminal Justice System and Mental Retardation: Defendants and Victims
by Ronald W. Conley, Ruth Luckasson, and George N. Bouthilet
The Right to a Jury Trial
Bail Bondsmen, Bounty Hunters and Private Prisons
Innovations in Policing