Jesse Choper and Elisabeth Semel Note Rise in Jurists’ Death Penalty Dissents

The New York Times, August 13, 2009 by John Schwartz

Jesse H. Choper, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said the judge was hardly a fierce opponent of capital punishment. “I don’t see him as someone who is unexceptionally opposed,” Mr. Choper said.

Elisabeth A. Semel, director of the Death Penalty Clinic at Berkeley, which trains lawyers to defend people facing the death penalty, said many jurists had been shaken by the rise of exonerations due to DNA evidence. “I think it’s been shattering to judges who had a fair amount of confidence in the system,” she said.