Ron McAndrew: His death penalty errors - NH Death Penalty Commission

Ron McAndrew: His death penalty errors

Dudley Sharp

Former Warden Ron McAndrew spoke before the New Hampshire Death Penalty Commission on August 12, 2010. (1)

Most of his points were questionable or in error. This is not surprising. He is active in the anti death penalty movement and makes a number of questionable claims.

His quotes or claims are numbered. I respond as RESPONSE:

1) Of the execution process, McAndrew states: “It’s nothing but a premeditated, ceremonial killing, and we do it to appease politicians who are tough on crime,”

RESPONSE: All due process by definition is premeditated and/or ceremonial, as it should be. It is called law.  Governments should have rules regarding all government action - also called law. No rules equal anarchy. Some tough on crime politicians support the death penalty. More importantly, about 80% of the US population supports executions for death penalty eligible murders, because they view it as just and appropriate. (2)

2) McAndrew states: “The state has no right to ask people to kill others on their behalf.”

RESPONSE: Not only does the state have that obvious right, but its citizens also have the obligation to do so under certain circumstances, such as a just war, police actions and self defense and in cases where justice in law is served by executions, whereby good citizens volunteer as assistants in execution procedure.

3)  McAndrew states, with regard to corrections officers who participated in executions, “We spent hours on the phone, trying to process the horror we went through,”.

RESPONSE: I would like to know what percentage of the large number of those participating in executions had such a discussions with McAndrew. In addition, all volunteer for execution duty and our thanks go out to them.  There are numerous cases of those who participated in executions, who did not suffer such claimed "horror".

The primary focus should be on the horror of the innocent victims murdered. Did McAndrew mention them? I hope so. However difficult participation in executions might be, I suspect correction officers are aware of the suffering of the innocent murder victims which is the cause for the execution.


New York Law School professor Robert Blecker also testified on the same day.

Blecker said, "the commission should not view life without parole as a viable alternative to a death sentence, saying “lifers” typically earn the most privileges and get the best jobs behind bars."

"He said he visited the state prison Wednesday and saw inmates painting, sculpting, building furniture and playing sports outdoors. "

“I am angry,” Blecker said. “I see justice not being done. I know they have murdered heinously and they spend their day in play.”

(1) Friday, August 13, 2010

Warden critical of death penalty
The Associated Press

Nashua Telegraph

(2)  "Death Penalty Support Remains Very High: USA & The World"