Vengeance and retribution are both human responses to tragedy, especially violence on a large scale. We’re not interested in justice when unspeakable acts take place. We want blood – now. Because our society is one of laws, angry mobs don’t usually hand down guilty verdicts and exact punishment. We have to wait for the guilty to go through the motions – arrest, “fair” trial, and sentencing – to get what we paid for: that sweet execution. Decades may pass from the time a judge hands down a death sentence to the day it’s carried out. The somber, private occasion that is our modern version of capital punishment brooks no cheers, no joyful singing that the guilty is soon to die. It is not the vehicle of satisfaction the public envisions it to be. There’s no catharsis for the victims, and no deterrence for those who might commit similar crimes in the future. In fact, employing it as a mechanism of the justice system has no place in our modern society – not even for the worst of the worst.
“For James Eagan Holmes, justice is death,” said Arapahoe County district attorney George Brauchler, according to ABC News. Holmes is alleged to have killed 12 people and wounded 70 during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado. Brauchler, and his prosecutorial team, turned down a proposed plea agreement from Holmes, which would have required him to spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. They’re seeking the death penalty, and many victims and the families of survivors applaud that decision. How many times did Brauchler practice that headline worthy snippet in the mirror? Did he imagine it broadcast across the globe by info-hungry media outlets?
Executing Holmes won’t bring back the dead, or provide those left behind with greater comfort. After his legal defense exhaust all of his appeals it may be decades until he sees an execution chamber – if a jury or judge sentences him to death at all. Victims, seeking to move on with their lives and heal, may only have their emotional wounds from that horrible night reopened, all the recovery washed away in a small black box of a room to watch a man die.
Source: Console and Hollawell Blog, Richard Console Jr. Mr. Console is the founding and managing partner of Console and Hollawell, one of the most highly regarded personal injury law firms in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.