Entry for December 22, 2005

Copyright  2003 Rob Rogers/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Reprinted with permission.

I submitted a  story  on Tookie William and the death penalty  to the New River Free Press today.  The death penalty cartoon above is from 2003 by the terrific Rob Rogers.  Illinois continues to operate under a moratorium ordered by former Governor George Ryan (R).  On December 15, The New Jersey Senate voted 30-6 to temporarily suspend all executions in the state and examine flaws in the death penalty system.  Legislators expressed concern about the risk of executing the innocent and racial and geographic bias in the administration of the death penalty  The measure is scheduled for a January vote in the Assembly.  If the bill passes, and is signed by the Governor Richard J. Codey (D) as expected, New Jersey will become the first state in the country to legislatively mandate a suspension of executions.   Maryland briefly suspended executions as the result of an order from former Governor Parris Glendening (D).

The  California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice will complete a study by December 31, 2007. The “California Moratorium on Executions Act”, A.B.1121, is scheduled to have its first hearing in the state legislature in January 2006.  None of this came in time, despite his lawyers’ pleas, to save Tookie Williams. 

As  Steve and Cokie Roberts write in their syndicated  op-ed,  December 19, “Corpes Can’t Do Much Good” 

If even a few kids who would have otherwise been seduced opt out of gang life because of what they’ve learned from Tookie Williams, his life behind bars will have been worthwhile. His death, on the other hand, sends a very different message: Revenge outweighs redemption.

Amnesty International has  a death penalty blog and  Death Penaly Focus has an  action alert group at Google.  DPF is one of the groups in California that fights executions.

Also submitted a  story on the Bush impeachment developments to the Free Press.  Now it’s time to go to Writing Practice Group.

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