Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Where I Stand: The Death Penalty

Opposition to the death penalty too often gets wrapped up in the morals and ethics of an eye for an eye and the extent to which fear of the death penalty is a viable deterrent to crime. I don't even get that far. To me, the entire death penalty discussion begins and ends at the foundation of our criminal justice system and its obvious inequities.

To even get to the point where I would be willing to debate sentencing someone to death, I would have to believe that we have a fair and equal court system – and we most assuredly do not. With the advent of cutting-edge DNA technology, we have seen far too many examples of people exonerated after spending years on Death Row. In some cases, it was proven that the inmates were totally innocent and had been framed by police.

Which begs the question: How many innocent people have been put to death in our country? In a civilized nation, even one innocent person dying should be considered too many. As long as we have a justice system where only money can buy the best defense, I will remain strongly against the death penalty.