Saturday, March 22, 2008

Judge rejects killer's current, future appeals

A federal judge dismissed the latest round of appeals by Idaho's longest-serving death-row inmate.

read more | digg story

Mr. Sivak is serving two sentences - life on death row and then death at the hands of the State or of natural causes. Think of the costs associated with the trial, conviction, appeals, housing, etc., and still no resolution of this case in sight. It is not fair to the victim's family and friends to keep this case going year after year. It is certainly not fair to the defendant and his family to keep telling them that the State is going to kill Mr. Sivak for 27 years and counting. It is not fair to the citizens and taxpayers of Idaho to continue this failed policy.

Since 1976, the State has had one execution and one exoneration. The death penalty has failed as a public policy and should be abolished. New Jersey abolished the death penalty last year because of the problems cited above and because of concern over executing an innocent person. Public support for capital punishment has been declining, the size of death row has been shrinking, and the majority of the world has already abandoned this failed policy. Time for Idaho to revise its entire criminal justice system, starting with an end to capital punishment. The millions of dollars squandered on this failed policy could be invested in other crime control efforts that work.

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