New York, NY – President Donald Trump unveiled his administration’s long-awaited plan to tackle the opioid crisis today — including a proposal to seek the death penalty for some cases of drug trafficking. Experts at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law say that will not work.
Ames Grawert, senior counsel in the Justice Program at the Brennan Center, had the following reaction:
“Major traffickers should face serious consequences for their actions, but the administration’s call for the death penalty is beyond the pale. Like unnecessarily long prison sentences, there is no evidence that the death penalty actually prevents crime. It’s an ineffective way to address this problem.
“Further, by formally endorsing capital punishment for drug kingpins, Trump is embarking once again on an uphill legal battle. There has never been an execution under the one part of U.S. law that allows the death penalty as a punishment for traffickers. The Supreme Court has consistently refused to sanction the use of the death penalty in crimes other than homicide. That makes another signature Trump policy headed for legal trouble.
“While the administration’s support of expanding access to treatment options is a great step forward, its decision to seek the death penalty makes it hard to take seriously.”
For more on changes to criminal justice policies in the Trump Administration, click here.
For more on the Justice Program’s work, click here.
To connect with a Brennan Center expert, contact Rebecca Autrey at email@example.com or 646–292–8316.