- Reporter-s Notebook: Mentally Retarded on Death Row
The US Supreme Court based its 1989 refusal to ban the death penalty for the mentally retarded on a lack of a national consensus that such executions were wrong. Today, the court took up the issue again. Sara Catania, who's covering the case as part of a fellowship with the Open Society Institute, reports that the court will again consider the weight of national consensus, diminished capacity, and "cruel and unusual punishment."
Complicated Relationship of People and Their Pets
Two San Francisco dog owners are on trial in LA for the mauling death of a neighbor. The trial was moved because emotions were too high for the trial to be held where the killing occurred. One defendant could become the first American ever found guilty of murder for the actions of a pet. The case raises important questions about the presence of animals in urban settings and who should be held responsible for the actions of those animals. We look at pets and their owners, their emotional ties and legal relationships with the founder of a national animal advocacy group, a veterinarian who treats behavioral problems, and the director of a Pennsylvania research center on the interaction of animals and society.