Another Phony "Milestone"

The execution of Kenneth Boyd by the state of North Carolina today was in most respects unremarkable. There is no serious dispute about his guilt in the murders of his estranged wife and her father (in front of their sons) 17 years ago. Yet the (belated) carrying out of this particular death sentence has been major news. Why? Because of the cunning of the opponents of the death penalty and their willing participation of their accomplices in the liberal media.

Boyd is the 1000th person executed since the Supreme Court again allowed them in 1976. (Given that the Constitution specifically authorizes capital punishment, unlike say abortion, it is more than a little ironic that the Court charged with interpreting and enforcing that Constitution ruled capital punishment unconstitutional.) This is an utterly meaningless statistic. Yet just as the anti-war types used the 2000th death in Iraq a few weeks back, this non-event is being used to rally people to a cause.

There is no difference between Boyd's execution and the others carried out last week or those that will (hopefully) be carried out next week....yes "Tookie" Williams, I'm talking about you. It does not mark a "sad milestone" or a "moment to reflect" or a "time to change the law." What it does is bring to an end the wait of a family for justice for their murdered loved ones. The fact that it takes 17 years to execute a man who makes no claim of innocence should forever shut the mouths of those who say the death penalty does not deter crime. A closer correlation and shorter time frame between crime and punishment would be needed to make such a determination.

Finally, a word for those who worry about executing the innocent. DNA testing should be automatic in any case where it could be used. Every death sentence should be automatically appealed and/or reviewed, preferably by an independent judicial board of at least three members. That review should include whether the accused received competent counsel, whether the jury selection process meets the standards of civilized society, and whether the judge properly performed his job. Three days after those questions have been answered satisfactorily, the sentence should be carried out.


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