Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

USA: Bill would expand Ohio death penalty

CLEVELAND (AP) — An Ohio lawmaker wants to expand the state’s death penalty law to cover some sex-related crimes in a proposal driven by the case of three women who escaped a Cleveland home after being held captive for a decade.

The proposal introduced on Friday would allow for the death penalty in cases of rape, sexual battery and improper sexual contact with a minor if the suspect has a previous sex crime conviction.

Rep. John Becker, a Republican from Clermont County near Cincinnati, said he wanted prosecutors to be able to seek the death penalty for repeat sexual offenders.

“There’s always cases out there about rapists and child molesters,” he said. “I’ve always had this opinion that for some of those people there’s no cure. They just need to be put to death.”

Becker said that he expects prosecutors would pursue the death only “in only the most heinous crimes.”

The proposal is a direct result of the case of Ariel Castro, a Cleveland man who held three women captive in his home for a decade and repeatedly raped them.

Castro was sentenced on Aug. 1 to life in prison plus 1,000 years on his guilty plea to 937 counts including kidnapping and rape.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, August 18, 2013

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