Saturday, January 27, 2007

Bloodthirsty Virginia Legislators

As more and more states do away with the ultimate punishment, the General Assembly in Virginia recently passed a bill that would add even more felonies to the too-long list of crimes eligible for the death penalty.

It just makes Howling Latina sick with disbelief. Legislators who tout their deep religious roots in Christianity and their 100 percent pro-life stance cavalierly signed-off on a bill that "would expand the use of the death penalty in Virginia," according to a Washington Post article.

That's right, now even accomplices are eligible for execution if Gov. Tim Kaine signs the bill.

Hmmm, whatever happened to that ol' canard about only executing the absolute worst of the worst?!? So typical of death-row supporters to dupe the public by framing the issue with nightmarish worst case scenarios so they can garner support and add more and more crimes to their long merciless list.

And of course when it comes down to the trial, oops, so sorry, a murder was committed, give him the needle.

Indeed, it's the kind of ruthless and savage legislation that just passed the Assembly that landed a 19-year old kid on death-row from Prince William County, even though he didn't kill anyone.

You ask what happened to the real killer? Oh...he received 48 years in prison for being the first in the cue outside the prosecutor's office.

Any attorney general worth his or her notches on the death-row conveyor belt in Virginia has the power to legally construct a case so that a defendant either faces a death sentence or not, wholly contingent on charges brought. Forget the judge; irrelevant in the ultimate outcome.

That's right, once a Draconian law is in the books, a judge has no authority to reduce the legislated mandatory sentence. Prosecutors have total and absolute power.

Call me a doubting Thomas, but Howling Latina has little confidence in the temperance and wisdom of commonwealth attorney generals when measured against the forbearance and prudence of judges.

We don't need additional legislation that gives prosecutors added power to decide life and death decisions over more and more criminals.

It's obvious by the huge geographic disparity in meting out death-row sentences in the commonwealth that a few attorney generals in Virginia are a little too enamored of the death penalty and seek the ultimate sanction when cases do not warrant it.

Why give them more legal ammunition?!? Gov. Kaine, as a death penalty opponent, please do not sign this venal legislation into LAW!

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