Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Prosecutors: 'Oh, Waaah! We've Lost Our Death Penalty'

With today's watershed political-bravery action, Illinois has abolished the death penalty.

Predictably there's a flurry of wingnut hand-wringing rage over it, but the most poignant is this story out of Chicago, wherein the prosecutors are crying the blues because they've "lost their leverage" over murderers, rapists, etc., because...get this...they can no longer dangle the death penalty over someone's head and get them to cooperate by pleading guilty to a lesser charge.

Ex-fucking-cuse me? That is exactly what is wrong with having a fucking death penalty in this country. It's exercise is totally at the whim of a local prosecutor. So it happens that a local yokel prosecutor in a big Kill-em-All-Let-God-Sort-Em-Out state who is out to make a political name for himself can bring death penalty charges against pretty much anybody, and the more executions he can carve on his pistol-grip, the farther in politics he will advance.

On the other end of the scale is my own Washington State and its refusal to bring death penalty charges against America's most prolific serial killer Gary "Green River Killer" Ridgway, who has been convicted of 48 49 murders and who is believed responsible for something in excess of 70 killings.

If anyone deserves the death penalty, it is Gary Ridgway, yet he is over there at the maximum security pen at Walla Walla serving 48 life sentences -- no wait, make that 49, since he was recently transported back across the state for yet another trial and another guilty verdict and another life sentence, at the cost to the taxpayers of several hundred thousand dollars in a time of cramped budgets and forced layoffs from every state agency, including the Department of Corrections, who had to lay off correctional workers, with the result that one of their remaining employees was murdered by an inmate inside the Monroe prison...

But I'm starting to rant.

The bottom line is that as long as the death penalty is subject to the individual whim of politically ambitious prosecutors and as long as serial killers like Gary Ridgway can skate by while some crack-addled gang-banger who can't really figure out how to even handle a weapon shoots a bystander and ends up on death row for it, it's time to end the Ultimate Penalty.

I say Hooray for Illinois!, and you local-yokel ambitious prosecutors who claim that "the death penalty is how we express our respect for human life" and want a free ride to the top on the corpses of executed "criminals" can stick it up your collective asses.

Update 3-10-11: Apparently I failed, when I wrote this post, to make it clear that I am fundamentally opposed to the death penalty in all of its permutations. Well, I am, and that's that...


Anu said...

Amen, Farnsworth. There's no talking to wing nuts. They exist on a different plane than the rest of the world.

mike said...

I couldn't agree more. However, your point about Ridgeway may leave the wrong impression for those of us who believe the death penalty should be abolished completely and totally throughout the entire US.
I kind of get the impression that you would not object to executing Ridgeway. If that's the case, I don't think it would do much to advance the cause of abolishing the death penalty. The fact that he hasn't been executed only serves to point out one of the many problems with having the death penalty as an option.
I don't think we can realistically have the death penalty on the books for some and not others. Of course, that's exactly what happens when we have some states with and some states without the death penalty. That opens it up for the serious abuses, as you have noted.

PS: I enjoy the hell out of reading your blog!

Farnsworth68 said...

Thanks, gang. And Mike, thanks for the question: I don't want to leave anyone with the impression that I am in favor of the death penalty; in any and every case I am totally and irrevocably opposed to it. I believe it is a barbaric custom that does NO good and much ill to society, which is why I will never find myself on a death-penalty jury -- which in itself is yet another reason to oppose the death penalty...
--The F Man