Tuesday, December 13, 2005

It's not about Tookie

Los Angeles Times: "GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER should have granted clemency to Donald Beardslee, the convicted murderer executed in January.
Beardslee didn't have celebrity advocates making his case, like Stanley Tookie Williams did.

But if Schwarzenegger had commuted Beardslee's sentence to life in prison without parole, he would have made clear that no one would be put to death on his watch. And he could have explained that a civilized society doesn't kill for retribution and should certainly not continue doing so when it's become clear that the judicial system's margin of error is unacceptably high.

Alas, Schwarzenegger failed to stake out that principled position. So Williams, who was scheduled to be executed shortly after midnight, always faced an uphill battle in seeking clemency.

The governor turned him down because he does not consider capital punishment to be about our values as a society, but about the merits of the convicted supplicant."

BUSH failed too in this

The population of California's death row now stands at 647, with the next execution, of Clarence Ray Allen, scheduled for Jan. 17. Allen, who is 75 years old, blind and confined to a wheelchair, is unlikely to attract the kind of attention that accompanied the debate about Williams.

If the governor feels compelled to issue a treatise explaining his decision in that case, he should take the opportunity to address the larger injustice of capital punishment.


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