CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

States are Attempting to Expand the Death Penalty

From At least a half-dozen states are considering broadening the death penalty, countering a national trend toward scaling back its use.

Lawmakers have proposed legislation that would increase the range of crimes eligible for execution. In Texas and Tennessee, for example, legislators want to include certain child molesters who did not murder their victims.

"The hope is that these monsters will see that Texas is serious about protecting children," says Rich Parsons, spokesman for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Dewhurst, a Republican, is working with state senators to draft legislation that would make repeat offenders subject to capital punishment in some cases. "If they understand they could face the ultimate punishment, " they might "think twice," Parsons says.

Virginia is considering bills that would make accomplices to murder, as well as killers of judges and court witnesses, eligible for the death penalty.

"I'm a believer in the deterrent effect of the death penalty," says Republican Delegate Todd Gilbert, a state prosecutor who sponsored two of the measures. "I know a number of states are reconsidering their position on the death penalty. … I feel confident Virginia's system is set up to work."

Lawmakers or courts have temporarily halted all executions in 11 states in the past year, most of them over concerns that lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment, says Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center, which he says takes no position on the death penalty but has been critical of how it is applied. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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A Book Recommendation "Journey Toward Justice" This is the Companion book to The Innocent Man, Journey Toward Justice by Dennis Fritz changed my mind about the Death Penalty. True Crime, Murder and Injustice in a Small Town. Journey Toward Justice is a testimony to the Triumph of the human Spirit and is a Memoir. Dennis Fritz was wrongfully convicted of rape and murder after a swift trail. The only thing that saved him from the Death Penalty was a lone vote from a juror. Dennis Fritz was the other Innocent man mentioned in John Grisham's Book. which mainly is about Ronnie Williamson, Dennis Fritz's co-defendant. Both were exonerated after spending 12 years in prison. The real killer was one of the Prosecution's Key Witness. Read about why he went on a special diet of his while in prison, amazing and shocking. Dennis Fritz's Story of unwarranted prosecution and wrongful conviction needs to be heard. Look for his book in book stores or at , Journey Toward Justice by Dennis Fritz, Publisher Seven Locks Press 2006. .
Read about how he wrote hundreds of letters and appellate briefs in his own defense and immersed himself in an intense study of law. He was a school teacher and a ordinary man whose wife was brutally murdered in 1975 by a deranged 17 year old neighbor. On May 8th 1987, Five years after Debbie Sue Carter's rape and murder he was home with his young daughter and put under arrest, handcuffed and on his way to jail on charges of rape and murder. After 10 years in prison he discovered The Innocence Project, a non-profit legal organization. With the aid of Barry Scheck and DNA evidence Dennis Fritz was exonerated on April 15,1999 Since then, it has been a long hard road filled with twist and turns and now on his Journey Toward Justice. He never blamed the Lord and solely relied on his faith in God to make it through. He waited for God's time and never gave up.

Posted by: Barbara | Feb 8, 2007 7:46:20 AM

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