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Death-penalty Deception

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Don Pesci has this op-ed in the Waterbury Republican American:

In 2012, the Democratic majority in the legislature abolished Connecticut's death penalty while leaving the penalty operative for the 11 convicted murderers on death row, thus demolishing all their moral arguments against capital punishment. If the death penalty is cruel, unusual and morally indefensible, would it not be doubly inappropriate for death-row inmates?

Only those who were committed to a scheme of deception supposed the partial-abolition bill would remain law after the Connecticut's Supreme Court reviewed a case challenging the justice of the throwaway legislation that would permit the state to execute 11 men in the absence of a law prescribing a penalty that had been abolished.

Everyone pretended otherwise -- and this pretense was entirely political. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the Democratic legislators favoring abolition knew the bill could not pass if the 11 death-row inmates had not been exempted. Two mass murderers, Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes, only recently had been convicted and sentenced to death for having committed a particularly heinous murder in Cheshire. The two recent parolees had invaded a home in Cheshire, pummeled homeowner Dr. William A. Petit Jr. with a baseball bat, tied two of his young daughters to their beds, forced his wife to draw money from a bank, raped the wife and one of the daughters, and then set fire to the house, murdering all inside but the doctor, who managed to escape and alert police. Theirs was just the sort of crime that merited a death penalty.
After abolition, another heinous crime occurred in Newtown. A heavily armed man, Adam Lanza, entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and murdered 20 children and seven staff members. Lanza committed suicide. Had he been taken alive, Connecticut could not have executed him because the legislature already had abolished capital punishment in all future criminal cases.

The state Supreme Court now has come to the rescue, relieving abolitionist Democrats of their awful political burden. Serving on the court is a justice newly appointed by Malloy who ought to have recused himself from any decision concerning the death penalty. Co-chair of the Judiciary Committee along with then-Sen. Michael Lawlor, Supreme Court Justice Andrew McDonald led the fight in the legislature to repeal the death penalty. Lawlor, later appointed by Malloy as his penology guru, has produced a program that assigns get-out-of-jail-early credits to rapists and arsonists. Malloy and Lawlor are former repentant prosecutors. Before assuming his position on Connecticut highly politicized Supreme Court, Mr. McDonald was a lawyer in a legislature overweighted with lawyers. Lawlor and McDonald were responsible for striking down a "three-strikes-and-you're-out" bill supported by then-Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

After the Supreme Court's abolition decision was rendered, Malloy, retreating to a default position in which he publicly wiped every tear from every eye, gave a slap on the back to compassion -- and himself.

"Today is a somber day where our focus should not be on the 11 men sitting on death row, but with their victims and those surviving families members," Malloy said. "My thoughts and prayers are with them during what must be a difficult day."

A difficult day -- just a day, after which Mr. Malloy may shelve his concern. One supposes the families of the victims murdered by the death-row 11 will have little time for Malloy's politically obligatory bosh and his dollop of compassion. One supposes they would rather have a death penalty than Mr. Malloy's prayers -- not for themselves, of course, but for future victims subject to heinous acts of murderous intent.

1 Comment

Kent,

I'm afraid you don't get it. Abolitionists are entitled to use dishonesty and deceit because they are more moral than we are.

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