Ferrer Fumbles on the Death Penalty

New York City Mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer came under fire Friday from death penalty opponents for saying that the death penalty is justified in some cases.

"After 10 years of experience with the death penalty, New Yorkers have rethought their position on the issue, and Mr. Ferrer should, too," said David Kaczynski, executive director of New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty, which was influential in virtually scuttling the state's death penalty law this year. "We would welcome the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Ferrer to help him sort through the various issues."

Ferrer has flip-flopped before on capital punishment. He has said he's opposed to the death penalty. He's also said he supports it in some cases. At other times he has said he supports a moratorium until flaws can be removed.

[He] opposed the death penalty until 1997 when he came out in favor of it for cop killers. When he ran again in 2001, he supported a moratorium on the death penalty, a position that many have embraced in the wake of DNA evidence exonerating scores of death row inmates.

Mayor Bloomberg has consistently opposed the death penalty. In the 2001 Democratic primary, former Governor Mario Cuomo backed Ferrar's opponent Mark Green because of Ferrer's one-time support for the death penalty.

State-wide, by 53 to 38%, New Yorkers prefer life without parole to the death penalty. Earlier this year, the New York Assembly killed a bill that would have reinstated the death penalty.

New York does not currently have a death penalty. Ferrar's use of Osama as an example of someone for whom he would support restoration of the death penalty in New York is silly. Osama, and any high-level terrorist, is never going to be charged in the state courts of New York, and the death penalty is available in the federal system - even in New York. I hope Ferrer takes Kaczynski up on his offer to explain why the death penalty should not be restored for anyone, so he can recover from this mis-step.

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    Re: Ferrer Fumbles on the Death Penalty (none / 0) (#1)
    by joejoejoe on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:47 PM EST
    Ferrer has as much to do with the administration of the death penalty as Bloomberg has to do with the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice and Katrina response which is to say ZERO. Do local jursidictions make death penalty law? At the end of the day people have to carry out the duties of a real job in the real world, not a purity test in a fantasy world. Government isn't an ethics class. I'm opposed to the death penalty in all cases but I don't see how Ferrer's position is relevant in any way as to what kind of job he will do if elected. It's a gotcha question that has nothing to do with the office of Mayor. The demagoguing of the right on the death penalty is endless. Ferrer moderates his public position and is hit by the left as a flip flopper. Meanwhile Bloomberg reaps unearned benefits for endorsing a position he will never have to actually back.

    Re: Ferrer Fumbles on the Death Penalty (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:51 PM EST
    I disagree. People want candidates who they agree with on important issues. If candidates only talked about policies that they actually have the power to influence once in office, candidates would often have little to talk about (would you expect burough presidents to only discuss land-use issues?) See my post on this topic on my blog:

    Re: Ferrer Fumbles on the Death Penalty (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:51 PM EST
    Here's that link to my post: Ferrer Flip Flops on Death Penalty