Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Death penalty foes try to buy justice

Don’t get me wrong, if we can encourage condemned inmates to behave during their time behind bars that’s a good thing. Promotion of constructive behaviors in our prisons can certainly help reduce medical expenses that result from the assaults that are inflicted on other inmates and corrections staff. Good behaviors behind bars don’t make up for past bad deeds though. The Lord knows; families of victims deserve more restitution when/if they can get some.

Should monetary compensation be considered before a condemned inmate is actually executed?

Anti-Death penalty groups seem to be asking that question. It’s quite possible that many death penalty foes have forgotten that in the list of ingredients (aggravating and motivating factors) that got many of these condemned inmates where they are (death row) there is often 1 part “camouflage” for every part “predator”. No murderer can ever make up for the life or lives that they’ve already extinguished (certainly not with money).

Who can say for sure what motivates some inmates to attempt to compensate their victims for the trouble they caused? It’s also worth asking, who can guarantee that many of these same murderers won’t attempt even more violent crimes (additional murders and escape)?

Today’s “poster boy” for “not executing the guilty” seems to be a Jeffrey Kandies whose current residence is Central Prison in North Carolina. Too bad articles about him fail to mention his 9 infraction records behind bars. Most of these infractions are for using profane language or disobeying an order but he was found guilty of possession of a weapon during his incarceration. Obviously, wise persons would never turn their back towards a proven murderer (even this one).

Kandies’ execution seems to be getting closer as his appeals work their way through the courts. His infractions are minor compared to other condemned inmates but one must never lose track of what crime he committed to “earn” his death sentence. Some prosecutors could argue at length that those on death row are no closer to dying than the average citizen. A moratorium on executions could make Kandies’ execution a little less real for him (and for those that remain on death row or others who might consider murdering an innocent victim).

Legislators in North Carolina are currently considering what some persons call a “temporary halt” to executions while they conduct a study of the judicial system. At the same time they fail to explain why they can’t study the system without a moratorium. Moratorium supporters (alarmists?) seem to think that an innocent person might be executed or that the system is unfair. Most families of victims view moratoria as a “legislative continuance with additional uncertainty” (not a judicial one) in an already endless series of reviews (a defense tactic).

What no one is asking is, “what constitutes fairness for those who would be forced to endure the learning curve of the moratorium advocates?” (i.e., families of victims or those that feel threatened by these murderers). No one seems to expect death penalty foes to accept responsibility for any death row inmates who might be executed during the two year “time out” if one stabs another inmate or a corrections staff person. What’s “fair” about that?

When condemned inmates or those that advocate for them actually help victims, it’s admirable but, no one should be tempted into thinking that restitution can make the families of murder victims whole. Justice should never be “For Sale” because some murderers attempt to compensate their victims.

Let’s just hope that our leaders aren’t so simple minded that they will decide right from wrong on this issue based only on the number of phone calls or emails that they get from the alarmists that think a moratorium is necessary.