Proponents of the death penalty often argue that the threat of being executed acts as a deterrent that prevents people from committing murder. But those who oppose capital punishment challenge that claim. And some researchers argue that state-sanctioned execution might actually increase homicide rates.
Now, a panel of independent experts convened by the prestigious National Research Council has taken a look at this question and decided that the available research offers no useful information for policymakers.
Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., is a sprawling facility of offices, residential buildings and therapy rooms set between a noisy boulevard and a golf course.
Some 400 people with developmental disabilities live at Fairview. And while minor scratches and bruises are not uncommon for these patients, over the years, the center has seen scores of serious injuries and even deaths.
Fairview is one of five state-run developmental centers in California — homes for people with developmental disabilities who are unable to care for themselves.
More than a decade ago, the New Hampshire legislature partially deregulated its electricity market. The move was supposed to allow residential customers the chance to buy power from companies other than Public Service of New Hampshire, which dominates the state’s electricity market. But for a long time, nothing really happened.
This image provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shows one of nine new warning labels it wants cigarette makers to use. Tobacco companies have sued, claiming the mandate is unconstitutional.
The question of how far the government can go in forcing a business — in this case cigarette makers — to warn consumers about its product is before a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
The Food and Drug Administration wants large, graphic warning labels to scare smokers, but tobacco companies say that violates their right to free speech.
Herbert Burtis' spouse, John Ferris (left), died four years ago. When Burtis went to the Social Security office to apply for survivor benefits, the clerk told him the federal government did not recognize his marriage.
Credit Courtesy of GLAD
Herbert Burtis is one of 17 gay men and lesbians who are part of a lawsuit on whether the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
Herbert Burtis met the person he wanted to marry in college, in 1948. But since the object of his affection was another man, they had to wait until 2004 for the ceremony, when Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriages.
"It's a long engagement," Burtis says, laughing. "We thought it was time that we made each other honest people."
His spouse, John Ferris, died four years ago. When Burtis went to the Social Security office to apply for survivor benefits, the clerk told him the federal government did not recognize his marriage.
Shirley Ree Smith sits in the living room of her daughter's upstairs duplex in Alexandria, Minn. Smith is waiting to hear if California Gov. Jerry Brown will grant her clemency. "They say things happen for a reason. I'm not sure if I'll ever figure out a reason for all of this," she says.
A senior pathologist in the Los Angeles County coroner's office has sharply questioned the forensic evidence used to convict a 51-year-old woman of shaking her 7-week-old grandson to death, identifying a host of flaws in the case.
Former MF Global Holdings Ltd. Chairman and CEO Jon Corzine testified on Capitol Hill in December. On Wednesday, a former executive at the company refused to answer lawmakers' questions about events in the run-up to the firm's collapse.
A former executive at the center of the meltdown of brokerage firm MF Global appeared before Congress on Wednesday to answer questions from lawmakers. Members of the House Financial Services Committee were hoping assistant treasurer Edith O'Brien would explain the actions of the firm's CEO, ex-New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.
The historic legal arguments on the Obama health care overhaul came to a close at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, with key justices suggesting the court may be prepared to strike down not just the individual mandate but the whole law.
The major arguments of the day were premised on a supposition. Suppose, asked the court, we do strike down the individual mandate — what other parts of the law, if any, should be allowed to stand?
The Supreme Court has dealt privacy advocates a huge setback. By a 5-3 majority, the court ruled that people who sue the government for invading their privacy can only recover out-of-pocket damages. And whistle-blower lawyers say that leaves victims who suffer emotional trouble and smeared reputations with few if any options.
Justice Samuel Alito and all four of his conservative colleagues turned back a challenge from a pilot named Stan Cooper. (Justice Elena Kagan did not participate in the case.)
With the fate of the health law's insurance mandate in doubt, the last day of arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court became even more crucial to the future of the Obama administration's central legislative achievement.
A protester blocks an Atlanta street during a rally protesting Georgia's new immigration law in June 2011. Now, the state's lawmakers are considering a bill that would also ban students here illegally from attending all public colleges.
Credit Erik S. Lesser / EPA/Landov
In February, protesters in Atlanta showed their opposition to a state bill that would ban students here illegally from attending Georgia's public higher education institutions.
Last year, several states passed strict laws aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration. Those laws are now being challenged in federal court, and next month the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on Arizona's immigration law — but that hasn't stopped some Southern states from moving forward with more restrictions.