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In the Bible Belt, Christmas Isn’t Coming to Death Row

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When it comes to the death penalty, guilt or innocence shouldn’t really matter to Christians.  

NASHVILLE — Until August, Tennessee had not put a prisoner to death in nearly a decade. Last Thursday, it performed its third execution in four months.
This was not a surprising turn of events. In each case, recourse to the courts had been exhausted. In each case Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, declined to intervene, though there were many reasons to justify intervening. Billy Ray Irick suffered from psychotic breaks that raised profound doubts about his ability to distinguish right from wrong. Edmund Zagorksi’s behavior in prison was so exemplary that even the warden pleaded for his life. David Earl Miller also suffered from mental illness and was a survivor of child abuse so horrific that he tried to kill himself when he was 6 years old.
Questions about the humanity of Tennessee’s lethal-injection protocol were so pervasive following the execution of Mr. Irick that both Mr. Zagorski and M…

Death penalty is no longer needed in Washington

US Dollars
It is time to abolish the death penalty in Washington state.

A proposal in the Legislature sponsored by state Sen. Maureen Walsh, R-College Place, is worthy of support.

Walsh offers strong arguments for ending capital punishment, starting with concern that families must endure the long and emotional appeals process in murder cases. Media coverage opens old wounds. And when the convicted killer is executed, families don't feel vindicated, she said.

"The death penalty is not accomplishing a wonderful relief for these families," Walsh said.

Beyond that, the appeals process is very expensive. A Seattle University study in 2015 found the appeals process in death penalty cases cost $1 million more than keeping the killer in prison for life.

Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, has put a moratorium on executions while he is in office. The public reaction, which has been essentially very little, indicates the public either agrees or does not care.

The last execution in Washington was in 2010 at the state penitentiary in Walla Walla. To that point this newspaper accepted the death penalty as an option to punish those convicted of the most heinous acts imaginable.

The state has used capital punishment sparingly - and appropriately - since the death penalty was reinstated in 1981 and used for the 1st time in 30 years in 1993. 5 inmates have been executed - 2 by hanging and 3 by lethal injection - since capital punishment was reinstated.

A total of 110 executions have been carried out in the state (and before that territories) since 1849.

In 2009, the Union-Bulletin did an in-depth look at the death penalty. It was clear the costs of implementing the death penalty were enormous - about $20 million from 1981 through 2009 - with the appeals processing accounting for most of the spending.

Sentencing some to death is far more expensive than life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Some of the arguments for retaining the death penalty are based on the emotion of seeing a brutal killer pay the ultimate price, rather than as a deterrent to crime, or even justice.

A better approach, given the excessive expense and lack of relief for families, is to bring closure to these cases more quickly.

A sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole serves taxpayers as well as justice.

Source: Union-Bulletin,  Editorial Board, January 17, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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