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Murder victim family member speaks from the bench: “Death penalty should not be a penalty, ever.”

Judge Goodwine

The Lexington Herald-Leader has reported that on Jan 8, 2015, Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine announced that the “death penalty should not be a penalty, ever.” She also said, “Something needs to be done legislatively in Kentucky.” The article says she expressed frustration with the expense, time and emotional toll death-penalty cases take on participants.

KCADP agrees wholeheartedly with Judge Goodwine and applauds her saying what needs to be said so clearly and so publicly. During the 2015 legislative session lawmakers have an opportunity to heed what she says and do something “legislatively.”

Sen. Gerald Neal and Rep. David Floyd have each filed bills to abolish the death penalty and replace it with life without parole: SB 15 and HB 82.

In addition each filed a concurrent resolution in hopes their fellow lawmakers will agree that it is important to determine what is the economic cost of this expensive system of death sentencing: SCR 11 and HCR 30. In Washington, Seattle University professors recently completed an exhaustive cost analysis. The law school website posts this:

An in-depth study by four Seattle University professors found costs related to pursuing the death penalty are about 1.4 to 1.5 times more than when a prosecutor does not seek death.

In another post KCADP will report in more detail the results of this study.

We have provided accounts of the “emotional toll death-penalty cases take on participants” in prior posts. Victims’ family members told us of their pain and suffering and why they have decided the use of the death penalty is no answer to their grief. Click here to watch a series of videos by victim family members on our YouTube channel. Or read accounts of what they said by clicking here.

Recently, the dean of the School of Justice Administration at Eastern Kentucky University, Allen Ault, offered compelling testimony to members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committee and had an article published in both the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Courier-Journal describing what he experienced after he “murdered” five men for the state of Georgia.

Judge Goodwine is absolutely right: Something needs to be done legislatively in Kentucky. Please contact your legislators and share your thoughts and hers with them: 1.800.372.7181.

For anyone thinking Judge Goodwine doesn’t understand the pain and loss associated with murder and has not been touched by violent crime, know that in 1979 her mother was murdered by a mentally ill relative.

Photo: courtesy of KYProgress.blogspot.com

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