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Death Penalty Questioned in Indiana

by TChris

The South Bend Tribune today called upon Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to do two things. First, follow the advice of former Gov. Joe Kernan to "examine whether the sentencing system is fair in Indiana death penalty cases." Second, until that review has been completed, impose a moratorium on the imposition of the death penalty.

Kernan granted clemency to two individuals who had been sentenced to death -- "the only two times in the 48 years since the death penalty was reinstated that an Indiana governor has stepped in to spare the lives of condemned prisoners."

That fact may say something about Kernan's willingness to take the chance of being labeled soft on crime. More than that, it speaks to his willingness to take a new, objective look at the clemency petitions before him. What he found ought to shake anyone's confidence in Indiana's application of capital penalties.

In Kernan's words, "I now have encountered two cases where doubt about an offender's personal responsibility and the quality of the legal process leading to the capital sentence has led me to grant clemency. These instances should cause us to take a hard look at how Indiana administers and reviews capital sentences."

As the Tribune points out, even the strongest supporters of the death penalty should not accept a flawed system for dispensing the ultimate penalty.

< Clock Ticking for Calif. Death Row Inmate | Guilty Plea in Oil for Food Scandal >
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  • Re: Death Penalty Questioned in Indiana (none / 0) (#1)
    by jimcee on Tue Jan 18, 2005 at 03:12:11 PM EST
    As someone who believes in the death penalty for very heinous crimes I would have to agree with you 100%. Although there is that guy in Conn. I think that says he wants to be executed so I would be all for postponing his death sentence for a while just because..... In all seriousness if the state is going to execute people they better darn well make sure that that person is the guilty party and wait for as long as it takes to be proved.

    Re: Death Penalty Questioned in Indiana (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Jan 18, 2005 at 05:03:06 PM EST
    Seems that Indiana may be taking Illinois' lead here. The machinery in place for the death penalty is, by its very nature, inherently unfair, undemocratic, and almost wholly subject to short-term political power plays. It has no place in a truly democratic society. The best possible alternative is life WITHOUT parole. Such a plan also makes it a whole helluva lot easier to undo mistakes. Why are we, as a society, so hungry to kill people? A much more effective policy would be in making geriatrics of these people - truly stealing their lives away, as they did to others, so that they can be made to live a living death, so that they can be made to spend each day for the rest of their lives exiled from the rest of humanity. How much remorse does one feel with a needle in one's arm? How much remorse does one feel with the passage of 15,000 days? Death can be freedom and time the ultimate prison.