As one who is Pro-life on the front end and the back end of life, I do not support the death penalty.
As mayor, I would not be in an official responsible for the imposition of capital punishment. However, I wholeheartedly support the concept of ending the death penalty.
Termination of the life of one living, breathing, mature, human being, is the most powerful exercise of ultimate authority the state can engage in. Putting someone to death is also the most irreversible state action.
That’s troubling because the records are full of cases where after someone was executed it was discovered, in fact, they were not the person who committed the crime for which they were executed. Similarly, there are well documented cases that clearly demonstrate the state has carried out the death penalty, based upon a trial verdict, flawed because there wasn’t a sufficient legal basis for a guilty verdict.
Notably, since 1973, 190 former death-row prisoners have been exonerated of all charges related to the wrongful convictions that resulted in them being sentenced to death. Death is irreversible. An inmate who was put to death, and later exonerated cannot be revived.
Another concern is Justice is not blind, fair or impartial. Although African Americans are only 13 percent of the nation’s population, Blacks are 54 percent of the prison population. Whites use and sell drugs at a higher percentage rate than African Americans. However, African Americans are ten times more likely to be incarcerated.
Amongst the drug abuser community, there is now a higher Black to White incarceration ratio. On average, African Americans are serving longer sentences than Whites convicted of similar crimes. This is directly attributable to the 100 to 1 sentencing quantity disparity for crack cocaine versus powder cocaine. That was not always the case. But American standards have a way of changing according to the whims of the most powerful forces within our society.
Like crack cocaine sentencing, the threshold for the death penalty may find itself on a sliding scale. The list of circumstances that make a person death penalty eligible may change to include those designated as habitual offenders.
The Founding Fathers did not specifically grant the Criminal Justice system the power to mete out punishment that is cruel nor unusual. The judges, lawyers, and injured parties are not authorized to seek revenge. The only protection people have against tyranny is the precept that we are a nation of laws. As such, even when emotions run high, the overriding responsibility of the Justice system is to safeguard the public, and provide remedies within the confines of the law.
Even in a case where a sick or depraved human being commits a heinous act, whether motivated by passion or greed, society must exercise restraint. We cannot take a life under thoughtful circumstances and call ourselves civilized.
Some would argue that the death penalty serves as a deterrence to heinous crimes. That has yet to be proven.
Actually, it cost taxpayers more when the state is forced to respond to appeals of Death Penalty sentences than it does to keep that person in prison for life.
Therefore, as Mayor, I could not stand idly by and watch as a Las Vegas citizen is executed by the state. I would much rather that inmate be given a life sentence without the possibility of parole.