Friday, December 28, 2007

Lufkin Daily News calls for abolition of the death penalty

Lufkin Daily News has joined the growing list of Texas publications calling for abolition of the death penalty.

...Not only has the death penalty proven ineffective as a deterrent, it has also proven to be extremely expensive. It costs much less to keep a murderer in prison for life than it does to defend a death penalty throughout an exhaustive appeals process. And the best argument against the death penalty is ... there's no undoing it if innocence is proven.

A district attorney in Oregon made another good point for avoiding the death penalty — the "needless anguish" that families of murder victims suffer during what can be decades of appeals, litigation and retrials.

There are district attorneys in Texas who are ambivalent about the death penalty as well. When Texas lawmakers proposed expanding the list of crimes for which the death penalty could be assessed to specific sex crimes, some prosecutors opposed the move, saying it might cause perpetrators to murder the victims in order to eliminate witnesses.

Our state isn't gaining anything by keeping the death penalty. But until lawmakers eliminate it as an option, or unless Texas juries quit assessing it, the only "significant and lasting development" we see is that Texas has become one of the few states that doesn't stop until justice is served.

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