Take death penalty off table

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Take death penalty off table

Post  Jennie on Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:35 am

A Northumberland County jury will begin hearing testimony today about whether or not Richard C. Curran should be sentenced to die for killing his ex-wife Tina. Jurors should weigh the evidence and make whatever decision they feel is appropriate, but Pennsylvania ought to take the death penalty off the table.

Some might be willing to accept the worst punishment possible for those accused of such a horrifying crime. However, Pennsylvania's justice system has proven largely incapable of following through when juries made the soul-wrenching decision to impose the ultimate penalty. There are 225 people on death row, but only three people have been executed in Pennsylvania since capital punishment was reinstated in 1978. No one has been executed since Gov. Ed Rendell became governor in 2003.

Three Northumberland County men have received the death sentence, including Kevin Marinelli, who has been on death row for 13 years. He was convicted in 1995 of shooting a man twice in the head during a Kulpmont robbery. As recently as March, 2007, the governor had signed a death warrant setting the date of Marinelli's death. The warrant was stayed while Marinelli's attorneys continued to file appeals on his behalf.

Quick delivery of justice should be applied for the death sentence to serve as a meaningful deterrent to future crime. Instead, inmates wallow on death row for years. Rightly, concern over making a fatal error has paralyzed the judicial system when it comes to implementing the death penalty. Capital punishment leaves no room for errors.

Amnesty International estimates that 86 countries around the world have abolished the death penalty and 11 others only allow its use for exceptional crime like war atrocities. 13 states and the District of Columbia refuse to employ state-sponsored killing. Pennsylvania should join the roster of states acknowledging that capital punishment is a barbaric tool that should be consigned to the pages of history books.

Life in prison without chance of parole is sufficient penalty to provide a measure of justice without the moral concerns associated with capital punishment.

(source: Editorial, The Daily Item)

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