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Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

Death penalty does fill a role in system

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

There is not an equal divide in this country or this state over support for the death penalty. By any measure, residents here and across the county show strong support for capital punishment. And well they should because volumes of evidence support the fact that the death penalty is a deterrent for crime.

But opponents of the death penalty find every occasion to delay executions or reverse decisions concerning the death penalty.

The latest attempt to control the issue of capital punishment came this week in Missouri when lawyers for five death row inmates filed papers to have the members of the execution team identified before each execution. The identities of the execution team members has no significance. This is yet another stalling tactic by a vocal minority and they should be held accountable for wasting the precious and limited resources of our court system.

The brouhaha - simply the latest - stems from a report in St. Louis that one male nurse on a former execution team had been charged a decade ago with damaging the property of a man dating his ex-wife. Now I don't mean to justify taking a stupid action like the jealous damaging of another's vehicle, but that stupid act aside, what does that decade-old incident have to do with the ability to perform a professional act in carrying out the death penalty? The answer is "absolutely nothing."

Three St. Louis-area legislators want committee hearings over the potential naming of the members of the execution team in light of this latest non-

story. But it's far too easy to see beyond the bogus rhetoric of these legislators and recognize that this is just another attempt to undermine the overwhelming will of the public.

The United States Supreme Court is currently addressing yet another bogus issue in regard to the death penalty. The court is addressing a question from Missouri and other states on the "cruel and unusual" concerns of lethal injection. Opponents of capital punishment argue that the drugs administered to execute the condemned may not entirely eliminate the pain of the death penalty. We believe the high court will rule against this phony argument in the near future.

So for now, despite public sentiment and despite volumes of evidence, some Missouri lawmakers want to continue the delay against capital punishment. It's important that the public knows why this sham is being perpetrated once again. Those who oppose capital punishment for whatever reason should concentrate their legislative skills in some manner that protects our citizens and not those who murder.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen