"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Friday, March 16, 2007

Maryland Holds Firm

Maryland rejects death penalty abolition, dealing a stunning blow to the over-confident abolitionist community, which had placed alot of money, lobbying, PR, and hope in the Maryland initiative.

Sen. Alex X. Mooney, the Frederick Repub lican and devout Catholic who was expected to swing the Senate vote, did not support the repeal after trying unsuccessfully to exempt prisoners who kill again while serving a jail term. He told the committee that he struggled with the choice. "I have decided that a full and absolute repeal of the death penalty under all circumstances is not in the best interest for the common good of Maryland's citizens," he said.
It probably didn't help the zealots that a Florida jury showed just a few days before the Maryland vote why the DP is sometimes necessary, condemning John Couey to death for the rape and suffocation murder of 9-year old Jessica Lunsford in 2005. Coey, a long-time sex offender, raped little Jessica, put her in a plastic bag, and buried her alive, clutching her stuffed toy dolphin. As prosecutor Ric Ridgway in his closing argument put it:

"She was in pain. In the dark. She was certainly terrified," Ridgway said in his closing statement. "If this is not the person who deserves the death penalty, who does?"
Just so.

At least Couey's vile crime and Jessica's horrific death may have had the effect of giving pause to lawmakers considering abolition bills. We know several states are pursuing or considering laws to allow for death sentences for certain violent repeat sex offenders.

May Jessica rest in peace.

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