Friday, July 04, 2008

Alabama's Troy King is "predictably inappropriate"

The Decatur Daily opines We think King doth protest too much in his reactions to the recent United Nations report on Alabama's flawed death penalty systems. The DD writes, "we would expect a responsible public official to ..." instead of choosing "to dismiss the report and attack the messenger" but that first assumes Prince Troy is responsible. He has long been a right wing reactionary, even while a student at the U of A.

The B'ham News weighs in on the UN report with The United Nations' look at Alabama's death penalty practices highlights unsavory facts, and our state's blithe acceptance of them. I wasn't aware Alabama had "the highest rate of executions per capita in the country". I was aware of the American Bar Association's recent Alabama Death Penalty Assessment Report yet Prince Troy dismissed their concerns as well.

It seems like in Lee County officials are equally dismissive of the UN's concerns. The O-A News Katie Stallcup provides the reporting where she writes,

Lee County District Attorney Nick Abbett said he hadn’t read the full statement, but he thought the critique was harsh.

"The death penalty serves as a deterrent to crime,” Abbett said. “I’m for the death penalty. I really don’t think the U.N. ought to have a lot to say about what we do in the state of Alabama ..."

Actually the jury is still out on the death penalty being a deterrent. I think it is a question of morality that the state should not kill. Add in concerns of racial disparities, costs, how wealth/poverty of the Defendant often determines "justice", ... and that is enough for me. The undeniable fact that many souls have been released after serving many years for crimes they didn't commit thanks to DNA testing and it seems reasonable to think innocents have been or may be executed.

Ms. Stallcup also gives Circuit Judge Jacob Walker a chance to enlighten us. She writes,

Alston said when Alabama judges override jury verdicts, they almost always increase the sentence rather than decrease it.

Circuit Court Judge Jacob A. Walker said he thought that statement didn’t coincide with his experience. He talked with one judge who overrode a jury’s sentence from death to life in prison, he said.

Actually Judge, your experiences aren't that relevant. The Equal Justice Initiative reveals More than 80 People Sentenced to Death in Alabama as a Result of ‘Judge Override’ where they claim "In 2006, 30% of new death sentences were imposed by judges who rejected jury verdicts for life without parole." Reckon Ms. Stallcup could have shared this apparent contradiction?

With Alabama "leaders" like Bob Riley, Prince Troy King, ... maybe I expect too much from reporters and others on this sensitive subject. I appreciate some papers trying to move the debate toward a better understanding yet Alabama voters keep electing these goobers. Finally, I agree the United Nations is hardly without their own troubles. Still, that doesn't mean this report is without merit. John Gunn

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