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United States of America: Open letter to the President on the death penalty (includes correction)

, Index number: AMR 51/001/1994

In this open letter to the President of the United States of America, AI sets out its concerns about the use of the death penalty in the USA as follows: disproportionate imposition of death sentences on the basis of race; execution of mentally ill or retarded persons, execution of juvenile offenders, the question of prosecutorial discretion in seeking the death penalty, ineffective legal representation in capital trials, inadequacy of counsel on appeal, federal habeas corpus relief, and the risk of executing innocent people. AI is also concerned about failure to implement clemency criteria in some cases. Also discussed are the question of public opinion on the death penalty and of the financial cost of carrying out an execution.

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