The Death Penalty

The ability to take a citizen's life as punishment for committing a crime is one of the defining attributes of a sovereign nation. It is something that should never be imposed lightly.

Tonight we saw two state executions take place, one in Georgia, the other in Texas. The execution in Texas was that of Lawrence Brewer. The crime for which he was executed was so brutal it was part of the inspiration for hate-crime legislation.

The other execution, that of Troy Davis in Georgia, has been surrounded by controversy. And in my mind, should the inspiration for new laws that set very clear, definitive and absolute standards for seeking the death penalty.

Davis was convicted on the sole basis of eye-witness testimony.

We have heard many times how such testimony is unreliable. We have also heard many times how people have been released from prison (often on death row) after serving 10, 15 or even 20 years and more when new forensic evidence (such as DNA) proves them innocent.

It is my belief that the death penalty should never be imposed without the presence of incontrovertible forensic evidence. It is better to let every prisoner go free than to kill and innocent person.

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