In the past five days, editorial boards at The New York Times and The Hartford Courant have come out against the death penalty and the Dallas Morning News took Texas Gov. Rick Perry to task for his cavalier attitude towards his state’s execution of the likely innocent Cameron Todd Willingham.
From the Sept. 25 Hartford Courant’s “Enough Of The Death Penalty“:
The sickening spectacle of technicians laboring for two hours, without success, to insert a needle into the arm of an Ohio convict so they could execute him shows again why the death penalty is a national embarrassment.
From the Sept. 25 Dallas Morning News’s “Editorial: Perry’s Certainty about Execution Ignores Science“:
But Gov. Rick Perry has not let expert reports or modern science shake his belief that Willingham must be a murderer. So certain is the governor that he’s delivered his own guilty verdict without bothering to wait for the Forensic Science Commission’s own conclusions in the case.
Perry flippantly dismissed the findings of “supposed experts.” Just in case his sarcasm wasn’t evident, he added air quotes with his fingers to dismiss the nationally respected scientists.
The governor says he’s seen nothing that would cause him to question this capital murder conviction. That’s disappointing.
While it’s difficult to say definitively whether a dead man was actually innocent, the prosecution’s original case appears to be unraveling. At the very least, Willingham would have sought a new trial and a chance to allow a jury to hear the more scientifically sound findings.
And from the Sept. 28 New York Times’s “High Cost of Death Row“:
To the many excellent reasons to abolish the death penalty — it’s immoral, does not deter murder and affects minorities disproportionately — we can add one more. It’s an economic drain on governments with already badly depleted budgets…
States waste millions of dollars on winning death penalty verdicts, which require an expensive second trial, new witnesses and long jury selections. Death rows require extra security and maintenance costs…
Money spent on death rows could be spent on police officers, courts, public defenders, legal service agencies and prison cells