FEATURED POST

Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

Image
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…

Clinton’s quiet support of the death penalty for Dylann Roof

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton
Shortly before her heavily publicized speech on foreign policy -- a speech that was so certain to monopolize media attention that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) used it as cover for his endorsement of Donald Trump -- Hillary Clinton finally gave the Huffington Post an answer to a question on which the outlet had been pressing her.

Last week, the Justice Department announced that it would seek the death penalty for Dylann Roof, who is accused of shooting nine people at a church in Charleston, S.C., last June. Bernie Sanders's campaign quickly told the Huffington Post that he opposes the move because he opposes the death penalty. But Clinton hadn't taken a position one way or another until Thursday afternoon. At that point, right before the big speech, a spokesman told HuffPo that "she respects the Justice Department decision."

In other words, that she supports the use of the death penalty in the case.

That's out of step with the most liberal wing of the Democratic Party. Most Americans support the death penalty, even as support for the tactic has slipped. In the most recent General Social Survey, conducted in 2014, only "strong Democrats," "liberal" and "extremely liberal" respondents were more likely to oppose the death penalty than support it.

Put another way: The people who were least supportive of Clinton in the primary are the ones who likely will most disagree with this move.

It's natural to assume that this is perhaps a move back to the center, after being pulled to the left by Sanders for months. That after having essentially secured the Democratic nomination, she's now taking more general-election-electorate-friendly position on the death penalty that wouldn't have served her well in the primary.

But that's not the case. Clinton has long supported the death penalty. In a debate in New Hampshire in February, she made that point explicitly, saying that, particularly in federal terrorism cases, she thought the use of the punishment was appropriate. "I do for very limited, particularly heinous crimes believe it is an appropriate punishment," she said, "but I deeply disagree with the way that too many states are still implementing it. If it were possible to separate the federal from the state system by the Supreme Court, that would, I think, be an appropriate outcome."

That debate coincided with the feud between Sanders and Clinton over who was more progressive. On a number of issues, including the death penalty, she is clearly more centrist than Sanders, and has been since the campaign began.

So there's a flip side to the question. Why quietly announce approval of the Roof decision when it was bound to be blanketed by other coverage? Because of California.

A Field Poll conducted in January found that 60 percent of Democrats in that state thought that the death penalty should be eliminated -- including three-quarters of "strongly liberal" respondents. Clinton has all but wrapped up the nomination, but would very much like to seal her inevitable delegate victory with a victory in the biggest, bluest state in the union next Tuesday. So although her position (a) isn't out of step with her past pronouncements and (b) wouldn't hurt her in a general election, it won't do her much good over the next five days.

Clinton is eager to move on to the general-election campaign. But her quiet acquiescence Thursday serves as a reminder that she can't do that entirely just yet.

Source: The Washington Post, The Fix, Philip Bump, June 2, 2016

- Report an error, an omission: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com - Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

New Hampshire: Death penalty repeal may be back on the table

Texas: Montgomery County DA asks governor to stay Anthony Shore's execution

Texas court halts execution to review claims that co-defendant lied at trial

Alabama executes Torrey Twane McNabb

The Execution Dock in London was used for more than 400 years to execute pirates, smugglers & mutineers

Hours before execution, Tourniquet Killer granted 90-day stay at DA's request

Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

Ohio parole board rejects Alva Campbell's mercy request

Papua New Guinea: Death row inmates denied full protection of the law

More drug dealers to be shot dead: Indonesia's National Narcotics Agency chief