Executing the Getaway Driver Is a Bad Idea

Supreme Court should revisit how the death penalty is applied to accomplices.

Cruel and unusual punishment?

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Newsmakers

Texas is poised to execute Jeffery Lee Wood next week, even though he was sitting in the car 20 years ago when his friend went into a convenience store and fatally shot the clerk. Under existing precedent, sentencing an accomplice to the death penalty is sometimes constitutional. But it shouldn’t be -- at least when the accomplice doesn’t intend for the crime to occur, as was almost certainly the case for Wood.

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