Unfortunately, Virginia shares this silly rule with Illinois: "In the event the jury cannot agree as to the penalty, the court shall dismiss the jury, and impose a sentence of imprisonment for life."
Any state legislators reading??
Let's at least require a re-sentencing in the event of a deadlock. Even better, eliminate the unanimity requirement altogether, in favor of perhaps an 11 or 10-juror majority.
The silliest reaction (though it will certainly be echoed by the anti-DP extremists) is given by the Chicago Sun-Times as featured in Capital Defense Weekly:
If we don’t try to execute someone responsible for seven murders, the argument will go, how in good conscience and in the name of justice can we try to execute someone responsible for one, two or three murders? Either way, the answer is we can’t. We shouldn’t.
To which a comboxer rejoinds:
What a garbage argument. It presupposes that because a solitary juror held out for life imprisonment in a heinous case that all other murderers get the benefit of that juror’s misguided mercy. What right to murderer’s have to cosmic fairness? None. But that is the argument. One juror gets to end capital punishment. Silliness.