I would like to respond to Editorial Director David Hampton's blog ("Capital punishment not 'effective'," March 23 Blognotes) regarding the death penalty. I disagree for these reasons.
I believe the death penalty to be a useful tool for law enforcement. Think how many admissions of guilt are obtained by taking this possibility off the table.
I also believe it is the only appropriate punishment for some crimes and that some people are dangerous in any venue. Even in jail, they are a threat to their fellow inmates, to those who must guard them, and potentially even to visitors to the prison.
A female guard was killed in Monroe in January 2011 and another in Washington State in the same month. What about those states where the death penalty doesn't apply? Reoffending within the prison or after escaping carries no real-life penalty.
If you have multiple life sentences without parole, what's another?
In my experience, the death penalty is costly and lengthy because archaic rules apply. The answer is to amend the rules.
These laws were developed in pre-forensic science times. There is no logical reason to have post-conviction relief (the extra set of both state and federal appeals) for a capital DNA case. The Innocence Project, rightly, can exonerate a wrongly convicted person immediately. Forensics should have the same power to convict and to enforce the timely imposition of a legal sentence.
I believe the death penalty should be used sparingly for heinous, forensically supported crimes. In these cases, I truly believe that our foremost responsibility is to ensure our own safety and that of our children and our communities.
It is difficult for me to believe that life or even life without parole will ever really mean that. If you recall, a life sentence once translated into about seven years of actual time served. Larry Matthew Puckett, for example, was on parole for one murder when he committed another ("Miss. executes man for 1995 sex slaying," March 21).
The death penalty is a terrible, practical solution to a lethal problem. It is not appealing to the idealist; neither is it appealing to me, not an idealist. I simply see it as the only certain safety from a lethal offender.
Ann R. Pace----Jackson
(source: Letter to the Editor, Jackson Clarion-Ledger)