Sunday, June 30, 2013

How Texas Shows It Values Life

A few days ago, Texas executed its 500th prisoner since the death penalty was reinstated there in 1976. They've executed more people than the next six states combined, accounting for 40 percent of the national total, though they have just 11.5 percent of the population.

The 500th prisoner was a woman named Kimberly McCarthy who was convicted in 1997 of killing her neighbor. McCarthy was a crack addict at the time.

I admit I have not read all the details of the crime, but this does not match the image I have of a death-row inmate. I oppose the death penalty, but even so, I naively had assumed that it was reserved for the most egregious cases -- people who would clearly kill again if given the chance.

A person addicted to drugs who kills either to get money for drugs or just in an argument with a neighbor doesn't seem like the type of case anyone would have had in mind. Except in Texas.

It doesn't help that McCarthy is black (and her victim was white), plus the fact that she obviously was poor, which meant she didn't have anything near the best legal representation in her original trial.

McCarthy's execution was a misuse of a misuse of justice.

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