The Commonwealth of Virginia already has a serious relationship with its death penalty. In the past three decades, only Texas has executed more inmates. But on Sept. 23, the Old Dominion will enter new territory when it executes a female inmate for the first time in nearly a century.
Her name is Teresa Lewis, she is the only woman on death row at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, and her appeals have all but expired. If she is executed, she will become another glaring example of the unfairness of our death penalty system.
Fairness. That is a concept that almost defines a definition if you base it on the actions of the criminal justice system. In the case of Teresa Lewis,how is it fair that she received a death sentence while the actual killers were spared? Is it fair that this outcome was predicated on who made the best deal with the state the quickest? How is it fair that the evidence shows has an I.Q. of 72 and is easily manipulated by others, which seems to be the case with her co-conspirators?
If we searched the records, we would no doubt find cases of killers with far worse criminal records or a worse killing (I have yet to figure a way to be a good murder victim) and who did not receive a death sentence, yet the death penalty is supposed to be reserved for the worst of the worst. So how is this fair to Teresa Lewis?
No, I am afraid we will have to look elsewhere for justice and fairness. The criminal justice system continues to fail to deliver on this fundamental concept of a civil society.