March 24, 2010

TONIGHT'S SHOW: Last-minute stay of execution

Posted: 06:49 PM ET




(CNN) - The Supreme Court granted a temporary stay of execution late Wednesday for a condemned Texas inmate who is requesting DNA testing of evidence in his case.

The order was handed down less than an hour before Henry "Hank" Skinner, 47, was scheduled to be executed by injection for the New Year's Eve 1993 killings of his live-in girlfriend, Twila Busby, and her two sons, Elwin Caler, 22, and Randy Busby, 20, in Pampa, Texas.

The Supreme Court granted the temporary stay while it considers whether to take up Skinner's broader appeal. It was not immediately clear when the court might consider the case, but there was no indication a decision would be made before Thursday.

Skinner's attorneys maintain that DNA testing of the evidence could establish his innocence and determine the real killer.

"Since his arrest in the early morning hours of January 1, 1994, Mr. Skinner has always and consistently maintained that he did not commit the crimes for which he was convicted," defense attorney Robert Owen wrote this month in a 30-page letter to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, seeking a 30-day reprieve of Skinner's execution.

Skinner's attorneys maintain that DNA testing of the evidence could establish his innocence and determine the real killer.


Filed under: Crime • Larry King Live

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Terri   March 24th, 2010 7:14 pm ET

Thank you to whoever made this decision. I hate that it took so long but now maybe the truth can be discovered. Rest a little easier tonight Hank....

Rachael Ford   March 24th, 2010 7:24 pm ET

The news of the stay is a victory for common sense in a justice system that oftentimes exhibits precious little of it. To bring a man to within an hour of execution whilst justices "weigh" whether DNA testing that could prove his innocence is justified, is barbaric and patently absurd. How can allowing DNA testing ever be a question needing of debate? If the state is so certain of its case then why the reluctance to agree to this in the first place?

I am fervently anti death penalty, despite the loss of a close loved one to murder some 19 years ago. I share Sandrine's path, as my husband too is on death row. I have witnessed both the grief of my relative's young children when their mother was stolen from them, and I have witnessed the grief of condemned men's children when they are stolen from them. People can debate the differences between murder and execution as much as they desire, but nothing on earth will ever convince me that the pain inflicted on innocent young children is any different no matter whether inflicted by an individual or the state. The death penalty punishes those left behind – and that can never be justice.

AlphaPoe1   March 24th, 2010 7:25 pm ET

No I don't support the death penalty 99% of the time. And this is exactly the reason why. Unless we are 100% sure he committed the murder with positive proof or confession, we shouldn't be executing a human being and find out later, or NOT find out later, it was a mistake.

herb   March 24th, 2010 7:54 pm ET

I do not support the death penalty. It does not serve as a deterrent to murder, it is most often the poor & those in minorities that are given the death penalty. It is also very expensive & the money saved could be used to help greater funding of police departments. We cannot risk killing an innocent man. Life without parole is the logical alternative.

Joe G. (Illinois)   March 24th, 2010 8:21 pm ET

We elect presidents based on popularity.. majority. Maybe bloggers should be casting their votes.. In America the "Majority" thinks to be always in the right anyways.. Trials be cheaper.. faster

DR GARY   March 24th, 2010 8:27 pm ET

/they should D & A everyone on deathrow and get out of the way before they get the juice.

A. Smith, Oregon   March 24th, 2010 9:03 pm ET

This is in Texas, what do you expect? There appears to be another man executed recently in Texas that clearly appears to be innocent of causing a fire which destroyed his home and caused the death of his family.

The death penalty should be federally banned and removed from US and State sentencing. That would also open up many neighboring and foreign country's that shelter known fugitives from deportation to America for sentencing.

michael armstrong sr.   March 24th, 2010 9:03 pm ET

Man what did this guy have to eat I would have had a bottle of wild turkey for my last meal .

michael armstrong sr.   March 24th, 2010 9:04 pm ET

Dont mess with Texas .

Kate772000   March 24th, 2010 9:08 pm ET

My opinion, who in this world is sooo perfect to take another persons life, in ANY situation including the death penalty. Also, consider the many many people who would have been wrongfully executed before DNA technology came and saved them. Sad to say, our justice system is imperfect so therefore is ineligible to take anyone's life. One of these centuries this world will outgrow the ancient "eye for an eye" philosophy and eventually EVERYONE will be above murder and/or execution.

michael armstrong sr.   March 24th, 2010 9:08 pm ET

If you cant do the time then dont do the crime thats why Texas dont have people moving in from Chicago .

Mark   March 24th, 2010 9:10 pm ET

I believe in the death penalty, but if there is DNA evidence it should be mandatory for it to be processed to confirm guilt or innocence.

vic nashville tn   March 24th, 2010 9:11 pm ET

What is wrong with Taxes? recently they executed man for set the fire for his home and killed his kids later forensic expert that is ascendant now this

We can’t punished innocents

Tami   March 24th, 2010 9:12 pm ET

This man is my mothers ex-husband. I have read the court documents and have researched this case. There is no reason why this man should not be executed. He killed three innocent people over 16 years ago and it is time for him to pay for his crime. Someone needs to give Twila a voice.

michael armstrong sr.   March 24th, 2010 9:13 pm ET

Theres not anything wrong with Texas its the rest of the country thats turning into yellow dogs .

Tami   March 24th, 2010 9:15 pm ET

This woman is crazy. She married a murderer while he was in prison for killing three people and she has no idea how he behaves when he is on the outside. He is insane.

vic nashville tn   March 24th, 2010 9:19 pm ET

G.W.Bush killed nearly 4000 Americans in Iraq he can walk around in Taxes free

But innocent man in prison in Taxes

michael armstrong sr.   March 24th, 2010 9:20 pm ET

See there Texans knows how to off people Just follow Georges tracks .

Tami   March 24th, 2010 9:22 pm ET

I have read the case files and the court documents. This man is guilty. Lift the stay of execution and give Twila and her sons a voice and send him to the chamber.

michael armstrong sr.   March 24th, 2010 9:24 pm ET

You Northerners handle your criminales your way and we will handle ours western style.

michael armstrong sr.   March 24th, 2010 9:27 pm ET

If you are a yellow belly killer then dont come to Texas because your going to die for your crime .

Latonia Green   March 24th, 2010 9:28 pm ET

The reason,for the stay. is for texans. to vote for Rick Perry. my sons were falsly accused. served 2 and a hLf years. the texas district Attorney and the supreme court,don't do dna's because. they deny dna's so,theydon't hVe

Debbie   March 24th, 2010 9:30 pm ET

Execution is wrong. It is final. With the advancement of DNA no person should be executed if there is any chance that they could be innocent. No person should be executed without DNA first. Our system spend billions on nonsense. We are talking human life here which is more valuable than any amount of cost needed to prove that they are innocent. When is man going to learn that this is WRONG!!!!!!!

Concerned   March 24th, 2010 9:34 pm ET

He needs to be executed, if he not executed where is the justice for the victims. it seems that larry and the rest of you are more concern over the criminal rights than the victims rights. it goes to show you that the legal system is in favor for the criminal not the victim.


michael armstrong sr.   March 24th, 2010 9:35 pm ET

Give that dude some Kibbles and bits and then some juice to wash it down .

Debbie   March 24th, 2010 9:37 pm ET

Execution will never be a solution. It only feeds mans need for revenge.

michael armstrong sr.   March 24th, 2010 9:38 pm ET

Its not revenge its throwing garbage away .

ron collins   March 24th, 2010 9:40 pm ET

there are a lot of men and woman in prison that such not be there .but come on if this would have been a man of color do you really think he or she would have got a stay of execution i think not . if it walk like a duck look like one its duck.

vic nashville tn   March 24th, 2010 9:40 pm ET

God give the life only god can take it back

If they do the crime let them do the time

Guerdy Remy   March 24th, 2010 9:41 pm ET

Honestly, this man is a product of the "Republican Agenda," it seem odd that that Texas would temporarily pardon a person right after eating their last meal. I lived in Texas in the 90's when Bush was Governor and the death penalty was widely used. It's just that if they had gone through with his execution tonight, how would they explain all of their rage for the pro-lifers against the "Health Care Bill." Is not one life worth the same as another? How can you execute someone but turn around and condemn abortion or call those who are pro-choice "Baby Killers?" It's unfortunate that this man fell victim to this agenda, but I can guess that after November's election that his execution will be reinstated.

KATE   March 24th, 2010 9:41 pm ET

The death penalty is a barbaric has no place in an evolved society. There is enough reasonable doubt to stay this execution, but how many human beings have been executed who did not have the lawyers to fight for them. No, the death penalty is abhorrent and should be put away with the rest of the medieval instruments of torture.

michael armstrong sr.   March 24th, 2010 9:44 pm ET

This man should have stayed out of Texas .

Latonia Green   March 24th, 2010 9:45 pm ET

Texas Supreme Court and District Attorney.aren't going to answer your calls. they're all crooked!. just like their laws.they (named above) don't do dna's. because they deny them. because they won't have to pay millions to innocent people.I have two sons. one was sentice 60 years. and one just got out feb 9,2010. evidense came to another person.and not my sons.and the district attorney,and Houston Police,still haven't picked up suspect and it's been 52 days. and they dragging their lazy asses.and for the stay for mr.skinner praise GOD...

Sharon   March 24th, 2010 9:46 pm ET

Does anyone know what is going on with Rodney Reed? Last I heard Rodney is on death row for crimes commited by a bastrop cop Jimmy Fennel who also in jail for rapping and kidnapping another woman.

With the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling, the decision falls to Texas Gov Perry, according to David Protess, a Northwestern University professor and director of the university's Medill Innocence Project, which has investigated Skinner's case. Perry's Office closed at 4:00 today.

On Monday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended Perry reject a reprieve for Skinner on a unanimous vote and also voted against granting Skinner's request for a commutation of his death sentence.

Another troubling aspect of the case is the background of Skinner's trial lawyer, Harold Lee Comer. Formerly the District Attorney of Gray County, Comer had prosecuted Skinner for two offenses, theft and assault. After resigning from office and pleading guilty in a drug scandal, Comer was appointed at taxpayer's expense to represent Skinner at his capital murder trial - without the required hearing to determine whether he had a conflict-of-interest.

Latonia Green   March 24th, 2010 9:47 pm ET

i'm happy for mr.skinner, God Bless you.

Pete Marquardt   March 24th, 2010 9:48 pm ET

How many guilty men have to be executed to justify one innocent? Is there an exchange rate we should work out here?

Charloom   March 24th, 2010 9:52 pm ET

The words of the boy who hurt that girl so badly says so much. I think there is an attitude of "whatever" or "so what" among the youth. They are not scared by anything.

Stella   March 24th, 2010 9:53 pm ET

Absolutely NOT in favor of the death penalty (except in the cases of Child Molestation & Rape (Child or otherwise; and that's only because the Justice System is SO messed up in regard to letting these monsters out of prison repeatedly, I see no other way to STOP them).

michael armstrong sr.   March 24th, 2010 9:53 pm ET

The kids that burned the other kid needs to pay punitive damages when the become of age .

michael armstrong sr.   March 24th, 2010 9:56 pm ET

Any damd kid that think they can get away with this stuff needs to pay a high price for there crime the moment they reach 18 years of age they need to pay money to there victoms and live the life of the poor .

Jean   March 24th, 2010 10:05 pm ET

This pertain to the youth who was physically abused by a teenager. I feel saddened for her and wish her well.
When I was a child to my adulthood, it was unheard of children behaving in such a manner and murdering others including their parents. My parents and grandparents would agree. So would many adults and older ones.
It may have been that children then were more obedient, nurtured appropriately, loved others and had respect for them. In addition, their parents were religious and their children also went to church. In the past few years, the situation has drastically changed and this is extremely sad.
Children are to concentrate on attending school and learning so that one day they will graduate and either enter college or university and also obtain a job. They should not be involved in wickedness as maiming others, even murdering them. They need to curb their temper.
Whenever I hear and read of the behaviour of youths physically attacking other youths in such a manner so as to injure them, I ask myself what is wrong with these children of today.
There is a serious problem among some of the youths. One of it is that many of them, do not practice a faith and do not pray. Some of them associate with bad company and "bad company corrupts." Much more could be stated about that.
The children are not the only ones to blame. There are times that they received bad parenting. Granted, there are those who were appropriately nurtured but who chose evil habits.
In order to fully assess this youth who physically harmed this other youth, it is necessary to know what type of parents and upbringing he had and the type of friends he associated with. If he goes through life with such a behaviour, he will get into additional trouble. May he be rehabilitated so that as he grows to adulthood and thereafter he will become a useful adult and citizen.

Crystal   March 24th, 2010 10:12 pm ET

Obviously some people are backwood, and are not reading the same documents that i have read. I am all for some one getting punished to the fullest extent if they are guilty. However i don't feel that this mad is guilty and it is about time that someone is going to give him a fair chance to prove this.

A. Smith, Oregon   March 24th, 2010 10:18 pm ET

Give Texas back to Mexico!

Another 20 years and Mexican immigrants will totally erase the Republican boot politics now evidenced in Tea Party central, aka Texas.

eve   March 24th, 2010 10:23 pm ET

Talk about " Its a Baby Killer? The Death Penalty is murder and, it, in many states is legal. In this country, "we kill people ,who kill people to teach people that killing is wrong." Where is the logic in that?

vallary   March 24th, 2010 11:04 pm ET

why is it just now they are doing this? I mean he has been in jail since 1994. I mean if he didn't do it and there are cases where the person was wrongly put in jail. But, why does it take so long for some one to stand up and DNA... This isn't rocket science

Dodie   March 24th, 2010 11:58 pm ET

They even looked at execution without doing DNA? Isn't this the 21st century? What happened to Texas?

Ken Macdonald   March 25th, 2010 12:12 am ET

I am very much against the death penalty. If one innocent person is killed by mistake (there have been many) then there should not be a death penalty. What is remarkable to we who live in Canada where there is no death penalty, is how a country founded with an "In God we Trust" ethos can be so uncivilized as to kill its citizens. Not only do we not kill our citizens, we try to make them live longer, and Canadians live about two years longer than Americans. We do it with the universal single-payer medical system, as is done in most other industrialized countries. And where Americans are fed a steady diet of BS and pay obscene amounts of money for health care and premiums, we pay $56 per single person; $196 for a family of three. Canada is a very civil society and we wish the best for our American neighbors in achieving a more gentle and caring society of their own.

jack   March 25th, 2010 12:15 am ET

His DNA should be examined and compared. Executions are barbaric, and set a bad example when the state commits homicide. I feel prisoners should be housed humanely. Violent criminals and those convicted of grand theft (whether white collar criminals or others) should be required to do some hard productive labor instead of being pampered. People in jail for no reason (victemless "criminals") should be released right away.

Creyton Riseling   March 25th, 2010 12:17 am ET

The death penalty does have a place in our society. But, it's use must be aligned with or commensurate with the gravity of the crime. This is, by the way, the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph 2266 of the Catechism).

Brian (Houston)   March 25th, 2010 12:26 am ET

The death penalty is there to be a deterant, but since our government has allowed the idiots of the ACLU to change the way the death penalty is applied from methods like the electric chair or hanging to a kinder and gentler, more humane execution...lethal injection? Give me a freaking break, just this last Sunday, a 3 year old girl was shot down by some thug with an AK47 who attempted to car jack her parents for the car's rims.

This worthless thug shot a three year old girl in the head to steal a car, and do you honestly think he should have a kinder, gentler and more humane way to be executed? Absolutely NOT! It is because of the lame method of execution is why crime is out of control on our streets today. If the ACLU and Liberals want to house, feed these cancer's, then make them pay for the keep of these violent criminals.

Four years ago, a girl was gang raped in front of her friend and she was made to watch as they murdered her friend, and do you think the five men who gang raped, murdered this girls friend and then murdered her should get lethal injection?

I agree on one area and that is to ensure a fair trial and a proper attorney for the accused so they can have proper defense. But if the evidence overwelming shows the accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt, and the person accused is indicted and found guilty then the punishment should and must fit the crime.

Three years ago, a man kidnapped his two small children from his astranged wife, they looked for these kids for days only to find out the father drugged them, put the one of the kids in a foot locker and the other a large suitcase, then set them on fire, do you think this man should live? I say no, and do you think this man deserves a kinder and gentler punishment of lethal injection? NO! That man should die the same way he killed his kids, but fully awake.

It striked me funny to see other countries have a low crime rate because they don't put up with the crime like we do here. We let some organization tell our government how to apply the law and its punishment. In California, lifelong criminals run their enterprise from their jail cell, and if our government would stop letting organizations like the ACLU tell them what to do, perhaps we would see less crime.

This man who got his stay, should have had access to the DNA tests from the outset, and anyone who is accused should be given the tools to defend themselves. But capitol punishment should and must be strengthened because violent crimes are getting worse and unless there is a clear deterant, and not prison, death is a deterant. But not by lethal injection, in a way that puts the fear of god in a person where they will think twice before taking a life, raping someone, home invading a family, car jacking someone or molesting a child.

If the penalty is so severe, then these people who commit these crimes would think twice before committing them.

jack   March 25th, 2010 12:30 am ET

Any kids that would burn another child to that extent,should have to do public service for years in the form of paying him and his family a money settlement , after they are employed, Also , if he wishes, running errands , doing housework and yardwork for the family, and a host of other services. And first they need some serious reformation. That poor kid was seriously injured and traumatized, so these juveniles should have to make some ammends when they are released from custody.

Dodie   March 25th, 2010 12:31 am ET


Good blog. I am certainly for all prisoners receiving labor that will pay for their time in prison.

jack   March 25th, 2010 12:41 am ET

@Brian(Houston)... I think life in prison with no parole, and some old fashioned hard and productive labor would work instead of murdering them. Torture is not a solution either, it only adds to the fabric of cruelty, which is more common in the US than in many countries, which have no death penalty. While it may feel nice to vent rage at the thought of such heinous crimes, torture or the death penalty will not solve the problem. In fact it can make matters worse, by devaluing life. Also, if the person is later found innocent, you can't bring them back to life. Some studies have suggested that the death penalty does not deter homicide.

jack   March 25th, 2010 12:43 am ET

@Dodie... Thanks, Yes, and the cost of all the appeals for death penalty cases is also prohibitive.

Dianne Malone   March 25th, 2010 12:46 am ET

With the costs of medical care, housing, clothing, etc. for inmates, I can certainly see the logic behind the death penalty for the most horrific cases rather than keeping offenders alive for a rehabilitation that will never happen. Having said that, I don't think I could ever personally vote for the death penalty if I were a juror on an individual case. And I wonder how anyone can say in 99% of the cases out there that there is not "reasonable doubt."

grrace   March 25th, 2010 12:59 am ET

Larry, how does Mrs. Brewer, who's son was set on fire, feel about the RNC's website showing Nancy Pelosi set on fire with the headline -put Nancy on the firing line, or "fire Pelosi?" Isn't that inciting the same violence toward our Speaker of the House? What kind of example does that provide for our children?

Jackie   March 25th, 2010 1:02 am ET

I think they should close the school down where these children keep being attacked by being lit on fire. Clearly something is seriously wrong with a school where this horrible situation not happened only once, but twice.

I don't know why any parent would send their child back there, would we suggest parents send their child back to a place, where they were at risk of torture every day? As far as not being able to lock up each of these kids who participated in this, why not? They are inhuman, they should be put to death in my opinon. I am assuming these are the same kids who burned the boy before.

I was bullied relentlessly in high school, to the point I graduated with a diagnoses of chronic depression, and PTSD. We should stop pretending our children, can learn when they're in a un-monitored war zone for a school. How many more children have to be victimized by these monsters until something is done? I'm beyond outraged. It's not a question if these children who did this will grow up to be murderers or criminals, it's when.

These sick creatures, have lost their right to life, the first time they burned the first student. I hope there is action taken against them, they are put away for life, or something else. I wouldn't be surprised if things aren't taken care of, someone will decide to take out vigilante justice against those horrible children.

eve   March 25th, 2010 1:15 am ET

"This is, by the way, the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph 2266 of the Catechism)." The Church? Why dont we just choose to follow our hearts? An eye for an eye just makes both men blind? We need to turn the other cheek, to gain a better persepctive, If the death penalty detered crime, we would all live in a more peaceful society.

Marsha   March 25th, 2010 1:29 am ET

I am totally against the death penalty. We kept the telephone lines hot to the Texas Governors Office for days, but of course he did not issue a stay of execution.

eve   March 25th, 2010 1:36 am ET

"Il vaut mieux hasarder de sauver un coupable que de condamner un innocent. "
"It is better to risk sparing a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one"

François-Marie Arouet (1694-11-21 – 1778-05-30),

Cheri   March 25th, 2010 2:33 am ET

I live near Deerfield Beach where these teens were both hurt. The Atty wants parents to sit down with their kids and discuss how to handle conflict. This is South Florida, we cant even get parents to drop their kids off at school on time, you think they care about having an important discussion with their kids when they dont care about their education! I see 30 to 50 parents a day that drop their kids off after 8am, some pushing closer to 9am. They teach their children to disrepect their teachers and fellow students by showing up late all the time! They even tried to bring in social services but nothing worked here. I'v lived all over the USA, this place is like no other! Crazy parents who never make their kids a priority!

Alessandro Bernardi   March 25th, 2010 3:09 am ET

How can Texas be so cruel? Do they live in another world or have they lost the sense of reality?

Jamshid Mirzaei   March 25th, 2010 3:16 am ET

Yes I agree with Capital punishment. Eye for Eye. you take someone' life, you have to give your life. We put these killers in jail for life in prison and spend millions of dollars on them.

I am a doctor and I used to work in county hospital. These murderer come to hospital for any reason and get the best medical care which a good hard working citizen can never get!! Every thing is free for them and they abuse it all time.
So all these criminals and murderers get great medical care and millions of hard working Americans don't!
I say, give them death sentences if their crime is definitely proven and do it a week later not 15 years later. Don't waste Tax payer's money on some one who destroyed many lives. Once you kill someone, you kill whole the family, you kill the son, the wife,the mother... Their lives will never be the same. They deserve the worse punishment.

Kevin   November 3rd, 2010 3:56 am ET

I dont agree doctor jay ! You should shot up and do your job regardless of what you think. That is so sick that a doctor who should save lives talk so much about taking lives! What kind of doctor are you?

Bob   March 25th, 2010 4:03 am ET

I always look at it this way .An eye for an eye . If you murder someone wrongfully ,you should be put to death imediately . and stop wasteing taxpayers dollars to keep them alive . And put the prisoners that didn't kill someone ,out in the middle of the desert ,in tents like the sherrif does in Arizona . With no coffee,no computers, no air conditioning , no weight lifting equiptment , no swimming pool , etc. I have heard so many men say it is better on the inside than outside . Because the get three meals a day ,They eat better in prison than out of prison . And get a bed to lay down on instead of laying on the ground . What is wrong with the law system in the u.s.. If the death penality was in affect all over the u.s. ,we would have less crime .

Tyrone   March 25th, 2010 4:52 am ET

Dear Larry King,

Joyce Doucette suggested that I contact you, in order that you may be able to help or assist me regarding Fr. Donald J. McGuire, The most Dangerous Priest In America.

I have known Fr. McGuire approximately 50 years. I along with many others believe in his innocence, including Mother Teresa and Fr. John Harden, S.J. I have worked along with him on his defense for the past seven years and attended both of his criminal trails. I have solid evidence that proves that his accusers perjured themselves during their police interviews and their testimony at the trails. In addition, I have evidence that proves that the prosecutors in Wisconsin and Chicago deliberately misinformed the jury just for a conviction and the Jesuits, especially, Fr. James P. Gschwend, conspired by violating hundreds of Canon Laws just to railroad Fr. McGuire out of the Jesuits and his priesthood.

Fr. McGuire was convicted through the media prior to his trails, McGuire’s lawyers told him to remain silent and stole $85,000 from his supporters. His side of the story, including the all the evidence that I mentioned above, was never told or shown to the jury or the media. If anyone’s rights have been violated, his surely have been.

I would like to share this information with you to see if there any possible way to resolve this mis-carriage of justice.

I await your reply.

Thank you,
Tyrone W. Cefalu

Afi   March 25th, 2010 5:39 am ET

I believe in the death penalty but only for rape cases. Especially when it concerns kids.

Tom Scott   March 25th, 2010 7:13 am ET

Congratulations on covering the Hank Skinner case. Extraordinary that the state of Texas was prepared to execute this man without allowing DNA tests. And, of course, many innocent people have been put to death in America.

This man has been on death row since 1995. What cruelty that he – and many others in Texas and other American states – should spend so many years forced to contemplate their judicial murder.

Although I have many American relatives, I am British, living in the UK. Here the death penalty was abolished back in 1965. It's been abolished in every European country except Belarus (where abolition is being considered).

There is no evidence that the death penalty acts as a deterrent. The murder rate is far lower in the UK than in America.

There are no votes in America in pressing for abolition. Remember how Presidential candidate, Dukakis, fared in 1988 when he stated his opposition to the death penalty ? But surely it's time now for political leadership on this issue ?

Two thirds of the world's countries have abolished the death penalty. America is the only major industrialised country to retain it.

As a friend of America, I say it's time for the US to get rid of this barbaric penalty.

Ted   March 25th, 2010 9:12 am ET

We live in the 21st century, therefore all prisoners on death row should have a DNA test.
If they are proved innocent they should be released. If they are proved quilty, the death sentence should be carried out.

Death penalty will not stop a murderer from murdering someone, however it certainly releave the taxpayers from the burden to pay for his upkeep $40,000-50,000 a year for many years. They placed themselves outside of our society so no remorse is needed.
That money could be used to repair a few schools and other public institutions.

Tom Scott   March 25th, 2010 11:19 am ET

Ted's wrong. If you want to keep American taxes down, you should support abolition !

A recent study by the Death Penalty Information Centre found that it is far more expensive to retain the death penalty. Costs – including higher security needs & access to the appeal process – can average $10 million more per year per state than life sentences.

In California, "the additional cost of confining an inmate to death row, as compared to the maximum security prisons where those sentenced to life without possibility of parole ordinarily serve their sentences, is $90,000 per year per inmate. With California’s current death row population of 670, that accounts for $63.3 million annually.”

They also did a poll of 500 police chiefs. Only 1% thought the death penalty was the best way to reduce violent crime.

Chere   March 25th, 2010 11:31 am ET

@Tom, you are correct. It has been shown that the death penalty cases are the most expensive. It's time to do away with it for more reasons than one.

Ted   March 26th, 2010 9:55 am ET

@ Tom Scott

You are correct, if we keep doing what we do today, keeping them in death row for 15, 20 or 25 years!!
The whole procedure should be done in a year or two, either convert the sentense or execute it.

Tom Scott   March 26th, 2010 12:35 pm ET

Ted, If you do that, you are going to have to curtail the right of appeal.

This will inevitably result in more innocent people being put to death for crimes they did not commit.

Abolition of the death penalty is the only sensible and humane solution.

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