Saturday, June 17, 2006

Three Major Newspapers Support Kaine's Decision

A little over one week ago, Gov. Tim Kaine granted a temporary stay of execution with barely an hour before Percy Levar Walton was scheduled to be executed on June 8.

Within days of Kaine's decision, three major newspapers weighed in.

Editorials in The Washington Post, The Virginian-Pilot and The Roanoke Times unanimously supported Kaine's decision.

Walton not only suffers from schizophrenia but is mentally retarded as well.

Despite protests by the commonwealth attorney general, Kaine's last minute reprieve will now allow Walton’s mental state to be examined by impartial mental health professionals.

In a previous 7-6 finding by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Walter was ruled fit to die.

The Washington Post writes, Kaine is "empowered by Virginia's constitution to review scheduled executions one by one, and he is duty-bound to take that responsibility seriously."

Virginia governors have granted clemency in seven cases since the Supreme Court reinstituted the death penalty in 1976. Mr. Kaine is right, and courageous, to order a full review before passing a final judgment on Mr. Walton.
The Virginian-Pilot admonishes, "Virginia should not be so bloodthirsty, so vengeful as to kill a man who’s obviously so mentally unsound."

The Roanoke Times observes, "Before Virginia pumps lethal chemicals into this killer's veins, the state should be sure Walton understands exactly what will happen to him and why the commonwealth exacts the ultimate retribution. The U.S. Supreme Court requires -- and a just society demands -- this level of mental competency."

And that is the heart of the matter. You don't execute an individual who suffers from mental illness with an IQ of 66.

I support the Death Penalty whole-heartedly. But if the independent council tells Kaine that this man is truly mentally retarded/ill, I think he'd be justified in reducing the sentence.
I am opposed to the death penalty. It is unconscionable to sanction state murder. The Governor did the right thing.
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