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BlueWolf's Howl

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June 13, 2002

Death Penalty

The Death Penalty has always been an emotionally charged issue for many people. Both sides of the coin have their merits. I don't think anyone wants to kill an innocent person by mistake. And no one wants to give a murderer another chance to kill again.

Luckily, medical technology is advancing in related areas. DNA testing has given us more accurate information - despite its lack of perfection. And executions are less gruesome than in the past. The guillotine and noose have given way to lethal injections from a sterile needle in an area numbed by local anesthetic. The crimes for which the penalty is imposed are much more brutal than the punishment.

However, there are those who still oppose the death penalty. What right does the State have to decide life and death? There are those who say it's not effective as a deterrent. And there are others who point to political and judicial corruption and shudder to think that their lives could someday lie in their hands (and in the effectiveness of a court-appointed lawyer).

On the other side lies the pain of the victim's family. Their loved one was brutally taken from them by a criminal who now has a retirement plan. Life imprisonment means three hot meals a day, a rent-free place to stay, education, counseling, medical treatment and various other "humane treatments." I have spoken to corrections officers (fellow drill sergeants) who tell of the weekly steak dinners and the "Family Day" that the prisoners are allowed. And we pay for all of it. We pay in taxes. We pay in lowered real estate prices near prisons. We pay in fear when escapes are made. And we pay when they brutally murder our loved ones to earn that retirement. It seems like Life Imprisonment means that everyone pays but the criminal.

NPR's Barbara Bradley reports on a study out this morning on errors made in death penalty cases. Mistakes at the trial or appellate levels were the reason two out of three death penalty verdicts were reversed.

Janet Heimlich reports from Austin on a Texas bill to exempt the mentally retard from the death penalty. Gov. Rick Perry has never said if he will sign the bill.

Germany's justice ministry is reluctant to hand over original bank transfer documents allegedly linking Moussaoui to a roommate of one of the Sept. 11 hijackers because the US is seeking the death penalty for Moussaoui.

For Years, They Lived With a Horrific Murder and Legal Battle; Today, the Killer Is to Die. Walter Mickens Jr. sexually assaulted 17-year-old Timothy Hall, stabbed him 143 times and left him on a dirty mattress in an abandoned building along the James River in Newport News in 1992. Tonight, Mickens is scheduled to die for it.

Posted by BlueWolf on June 13, 2002 12:55 PM