Keane observations about life, politics and sports.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

Here is a pathetic story of how ridiculous the appeals process has become for death penalty cases. A local man was convicted of brutally killing a young woman in 1983 and received a death penalty sentence. That's 26 stink'n years ago! After dozens of frivolous appeals he is getting a new sentencing hearing. The reason for ordering a new hearing is some character witnesses didn't testify in person. How did these character witnesses know the murderer?
Simply put, during the earlier re-sentencing hearing, the judicial panel did not allow Davis to present testimony from prison employees about his good behavior in prison. Instead, the judges allowed written summaries of what the employees would say - but no testimony - before upholding the death sentence for Davis.
So, his missing character witnesses were prison guards who would explain how he was a model prisoner when he was in prison previously for murdering his wife back in 1970. BS!

Death penalty opponents argue that it isn't a deterrent. Well, if it takes 26 years to carry out the sentence then of course the deterrent effect is muted. Beyond that, if the death penalty was available and utilized for his first murder it definitely would have deterred him from committing his second murder.

Bottom line: There is an easy fix to this recurring problem. Once a trial is over give the lousy attorney's a week to submit valid grounds for appeal. The following week the victim's family hears the appeal. If the family rejects the appeal then carry out the sentence.


Blogger bob said...

I heard a report on the radio a while back that stated for every execution 6 lives are saved.

August 21, 2009 at 9:50 AM

Blogger John said...

The following week the victim's family hears the appeal.

Are you suggesting that we do away with criminal appellate courts?

August 22, 2009 at 9:35 AM

Blogger LargeBill said...


Not really. However, it definitely needs fixing. Any system that goes through 20+ years of appeals is clearly broken. My idea might not be as "fair" as the current system but it would certainly be quicker.

August 23, 2009 at 3:09 PM

Blogger John said...

I agree that the appeals process takes far too long -- whether you're the crime victim or the convict.

August 25, 2009 at 10:49 AM


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