Thursday, October 25, 2007

Unfair penalty

To the editor:

Every year it becomes more and more obvious that the death penalty is unjust and unfair. The taking of a person’s life for the sin of murder is most often an act of vengeance rather than justice.

American is one of the few civilized nations in the world to support such an extreme measure. According to Amnesty International, four nations last year accounted for 94 percent of the worldwide executions: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States, which had 60. Currently, 122 nations have abolished the death penalty.

We shall never know how many innocent prisoners have been executed in the past. We do know that in the United States, more than 123 prisoners have been found innocent and released, although all had previously been found “guilty beyond reasonable doubt.”

In 2003, the Missouri Supreme Court reversed the verdict of a death row inmate, Joseph Amerine, after he had been imprisoned for 18 years. After 26 years, another prisoner, Luis Diaz, 67, of Florida, serving a life term, was released. He was fortunate not to have been previously executed. Minority races, as you might guess, are most often found guilty.

Yes, I oppose the death penalty upon the basis of injustice and lack of fairness for those tried. It falls most upon the poor, the ignorant and the underprivileged.

Many churches now also oppose the death penalty for religious reasons as well. Life imprisonment is a fairer, more humane verdict, in my opinion. I hope Kansas will once again abolish the death penalty.

Harold Piehler,


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