Gov. Warner: Critics Claim He Moved Left on Crime Issues
VA Governor Mark Warner leaves office today. Some are criticizing his attempts to make our criminal justice system a fairer place. They are off-base. He is not a "soft on crime" politician.
But in four years as governor, Mr. Warner has incrementally and with little fanfare established groundbreaking policies on the use of DNA testing to confirm, or challenge, criminal convictions, many of them in death penalty cases. Last week, he became the first governor to order a DNA test involving a man who had already been executed.
The actions of Mr. Warner, who leaves office on Saturday, have established new middle ground in the polarized world of death penalty politics. Unlike former Gov. George Ryan of Illinois, who ordered a moratorium on executions in 2003, Mr. Warner has not called for halting executions, and he still supports capital punishment. His goal, he has said, has not been to undermine the system but to make sure it works.
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