I think Dahlia Lithwick is a better Canadian than I am, at least to the extent that optimism might count as a Canadian trait. She thinks the execution of Troy Davis despite substantial doubts about his guilt might be a tipping point that turns the public against the death penalty. My position is that the ongoing viability of Rick Perry (at least if he doesn’t destroy his own viability by speaking in the debates as if he’s just rinsed a half dozen Ambien down with a fifth of Tito’s vodka) pretty much tells you what you need to know. If Cameron Todd Willingham’s execution can’t create a national outcry or even damage the career of the moral monster who signed off on it, I don’t know what could. Take Charles Lane, who manages an article about how of course the system doesn’t execute innocent people — if an appellate court doesn’t vacate a death sentence, no matter what rules it’s constrained by, apparently that’s all you need to know — without mentioning Willingham at all. If you’re determined to think everything is pretty much just fine, it’s easy to ignore potentially discomfirming cases.
…via Lithwick, David Dow also argues against the poster boy theory.