Death penalty opponents lack understanding

April 11, 2011

The so called "Maryland Citizens Against State Executions" do not have a clue as to what the process could be for the death penalty. Several states have the process, including appeals down to as little time as 5 years. It is not the death penalty that punishes victims, it is the structure of the death penalty in liberal Maryland that does. The Sarah Foxwell case "cried out for the death penalty" but the State's Attorney agreed to pursure a lesser punishment. As for closure for the family, do you not think that the family thinks quite often about how the individual who viciously murdered their family member is sitting in a prison watching TV, playing games, enjoying the outdoors and seeing their family while they cannot!!! The man who murdered Sarah Foxwell is 27 years old, so that means that the victim's family and Maryland taxpayers will have to pay at least $40,000 a year to house him in prison for the next 40+ years. That is over $1.2 million. Not to mention the movement now in Annapolis to parole inmates with life sentences. There soon will be no reason not to carry a gun and kill someone because no one will fear the punishment.

A concerted effort needs to be put in streamlining the death penalty process in Maryland and make it work. The death penalty is a deterrent to a reasonable person if it is a possibility and the studies that show that it does not significantly reduce murder does not take into account those individuals who did not commit murder because that ultimate penalty was there.

A good example of what a life sentence means to the individual is the murder of Correctional Officer McGuinn by two inmates already serving life sentences for murder ... had they gotten the death penalty for their first murder they would not have been in a position to murder again. I guess they just felt "I got the life sentence already, why not kill again?" How do you rationalize any closure to the McGuinn family in this instance?

Those individuals rallying against the death penalty for the most part are far removed from crime or this type of activity in their neighborhood and not until one of their own is kidnapped, raped, viciously murdered and their body set on fire will they have a real understanding of why the death penalty is necessary.

Gary Hornbaker

The writer is a retired correctional professional.

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