Powell GammillMore About: Criminal Justice System
Time for the Death Penalty to Die
A large majority of Americans believe the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for the most heinous of murders. But that belief is rooted in an underlying assumption: that the right person is being executed. Ray Krone is the 100th person cleanly exonerated and freed from death row over the past 30 years!
While recognizing that the vast majority of people sentenced to death by the courts deserve such a fate, the number of cases of people wrongfully imprisoned for crimes they did not commit should lead the Americans to conclude that it is more than probable that there have been and will be in the future, persons sentenced to death who did not commit the crime. In fact we know there have been such cases (see Ray Krone). And that unlike other wrongful convictions, that can be partly compensated monetarily, once a wrongfully convicted person has been put to death, the State is incapable of righting this wrong.
It is extremely rare for prosecutors not to get a conviction anymore, as juries, hand picked by judges to deliver guilty verdicts in the jury selection processes (voir dire), prejudicial judicial instructions to the jury and in allowing and disallowing the jury to witness selected evidence almost always exclusively favoring the State. Because of this, many innocent people choose a plea deal rather than face a trial.
Since the State is not infallible, the voters morally must decide that no government should have the power to sentence anyone to death. Those currently under sentence of death, should have their sentences changed to "spend the rest of their life in prison, without the possibility of parole."
While the Constitution explicitly states that a person can be deprived of their life after due process, this is a power delegated to the government that ought to be rescinded. Just because it says it in the Constitution does not make it so.
In the Declaration of Independence it explicitly states that you have the Right to Life. And that governments are instituted among men to protect this right. Therefore, even with due process, without your consent, government has NO power to deprive anyone of their life. No matter what the Constitution says, it cannot negate a Right. [No matter how much of a murderous degenerate a particular human may be, or how badly the government wants to get its way.]
Government exists to protect your life. And like everything else it is supposed to exist for, government fails miserably.
Worse, the federal government is now using the death penalty against people who are not guilty of a capital crime or treason, but rather are using it against businessmen who conduct commerce in a non-government approved business (i.e., "drug kingpins"). Government always expands its power into any area the people allow it to inhabit.
Obviously, I neither expect and fully appreciate that the families and friends of homicide victims will likely not agree with my position. But do you really want to see an innocent person put to death, to match the life stolen from your loved one? Even in the rare case where the murderer was witnessed first hand committing the act or has noncoercively confessed, it is best not to let government have the power over life and death. Because if you give government that power it will expand the conditions in which it can use that power, until there are no longer any conditions for its use, other than the government desires it. Then you really will see family members murdered.
[I would like to acknowledge Ricky Duncan for persuading me to these views.]
2 Comments in Response to Time for the Death Penalty to Die
From the Chicago Sun Times today:
"On Thursday, Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner announced he had ordered DNA retesting to see if Roger Keith Coleman was innocent of the crime for which he was executed in 1992."