The Death Penalty Is Dying

The Death Penalty Is Dying
AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File

What's the point of the death penalty? Is it about deterring crime or bringing a measure of peace to victims? Is it about vengeance or justice?

In this interview, Brandon Garrett, a law professor at the University of Virginia and the author of a new book on the subject, explores these questions, but also makes a broader claim: that defense lawyers are helping to gradually abolish the death penalty, and that we can improve the entire criminal justice system if we understand why.

Our conversation, lightly edited for clarity, follows.

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