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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Don't allow killer to plead not guilty

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The death of 9-year-old Jessica Lundsford in Florida last month is just the latest tragedy involving a young child. State officials there acknowledged Wednesday that the girl was raped, bound and buried alive. Police found her body buried less than 150 yards from her home in Florida.

To their great credit, police quickly began to focus the investigation on John Evander Couey, a convicted sex offender who had been staying with a relative near the young girl's house. When police tried to question Couey, he fled to Georgia. But he was captured and returned to Florida.

Here's where this story makes me begin to question the judicial process in this great nation.

Couey finally told police he had kidnapped the girl. He said his relatives knew nothing of the crime. He led police to the gravesite where he had buried her alive. Police found blood on his clothing.

And then Couey entered a not guilty plea in court!

So someone explain to me if you will how this process is just? How can a murderer acknowledge his crime in great detail and, for all practical purposes, turn the body over to police and then enter a not guilty plea? Why do our courts allow this bizarre process to continue.

If Couey is guilty - and he most certainly is - then by what process is he allowed to use the court process to deny his guilt? Yet without fail, in every instance of a crime of this nature, that's exactly what happens.

Rest assured, Couey will be convicted and probably sentenced to death. But it will likely take years before that process is complete. And this process will unfold despite the overwhelming evidence and admission from the murderer himself!

It may be insignificant but taxpayers will have to spend millions of dollars in court to prove what we already know. The case will take precious time away from the courts on much more important matters. And the victim's family will have to suffer through a difficult process.

In this case and many others, the defendant is guilty beyond any doubt. He should not be permitted to enter a not guilty plea. He can most certainly ask for mercy, he can offer any excuses he might want, etc. But a not guilty plea is both absurd and insulting to the judicial process.

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