To: New HampshireGov. John Lynch, General Court, Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, Prosecutors, Policeand media throughout the state
From; Dudley Sharp, contact info below
General Court Testimony
According to the Concord Monitor, Kirk Simoneau was standing just feet away when a drunken driver hit and killed his father. Mr. Simoneau testified:
"If I could have, in the moments after my father's death, killed the woman who caused my father's death, I would have," he said. "And that's why I stand opposed, because in considered reason, in tempered thought, we do the right thing. In sudden emotion, we do the wrong thing."
My sincere condolences for his loss and horror.
As we all know, people connected to the crimecannotbe fact finders or sentence givers in any cases, for the very reasons that Mr. Simoneau gives. The reality is that capital law is the product of long standing considered reason and tempered thought. It can take 1-2 years, or even longer, to bring a capital case to trial.
Thus, Mr. Simoneau's testimony regards a problem that doesn't exist in the prosecution of any criminal cases, even less a capital one. The reality, as I think we all know, is that one of the primary functions of the criminal trial is to do away with personal revenge and it does so, more, in a death penalty trial, than in any other.
The Death Penalty: Neither Hatred nor Revenge
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below
Death penalty opponents say that the death penalty has a foundation in hatred and revenge. Such is a false claim.
A death sentence requires pre existing statutes, trial and appeals, considerations of guilt and due process, to name but a few. Revenge requires none of these and, in fact, does not even require guilt or a crime.
The criminal justice system goes out of its way to take hatred and revenge out of the process. That is why we have a system of pre existing laws and legal procedures that offer extreme protections to defendants and those convicted and which provide statutes and sanctions which existed prior to the crime.
It is also why those directly affected by the murder are not allowed to be fact finders in the case.
The reality is that the pre trial, trial. appellate and executive clemency/commutation processes offer much greater time and human resources to capital cases than they do to any other cases, meaning that the facts tell us that defendants and convicted murderers, subject to the death penalty, receive much greater care and concern than those not facing the death penalty - the opposite of a system marked with vengeance.
"Some"who call capital punishment an expression of hatred and revenge are often exhibiting their contempt for those who believe differently than they do. Instead, they might reflect on why others believe it is a just and deserved sanction for the crimes committed.
The pro death penalty position is based upon those who find that punishment just and appropriate under specific circumstances.
Those opposed to execution cannot prove a foundation of hatred and revenge for the death penalty any more than they can for any other punishment sought within a system such as that observed within the US - unless such opponents find all punishments a product of hatred and revenge - an unreasonable, unfounded position
Far from hatred and revenge, the death penalty represents our greatest condemnation for a crime of unequaled horror and consequence. Lesser punishments may suffice under some circumstances. A death sentence for certain heinous crimes is given in those special circumstances when a jury finds such is more just than a lesser sentence.
Less justice is not what we need.
A thorough review of the criminal justice system will often beg this question: Why have we chosen to be so generous to murderers and so contemptuous of the human rights and suffering of the victims and future victims?
The punishment of death is, in no way, a balancing between harm and punishment, because the innocent murder victim did not deserve or earn their fate, whereas the murderer has earned their own, deserved punishment by the free will action of violating societies laws and an individuals life and, thereby, voluntarily subjecting themselves to that jurisdictions judgment.
Copyright 2001-2009 Dudley Sharp, Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part, is approved with proper attribution.
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.
A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.