In an historic and rare event, a Texas judge last month began a hearing on the constitutionality of the death penalty, entertaining arguments that the system is so prone to erroneous conviction that it might violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The defense called numerous experts from around the country (including me) to testify on various aspects of the death penalty including: error rates, the use of unreliable eyewitness testimony, junk science and forensic evidence, informants, discovery, death-qualified juries, and race. Story and witness list here: Hearing on Constitutionality of Texas Death Penalty. At the government’s request, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stayed the hearing after two days and the parties are now briefing matters. For additional information, see Fountain’s Pen blog: Appeals court orders stay in death penalty hearing.