GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

April 19, 2013

Letter: Time to make death penalty a judicial 'option'


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

While emotions run high and before we return to life as we know it, I believe it is time to examine several of our past political decisions and shine a spotlight on them and their effects on our life and society.

Massachusetts abolished the death penalty in 1984. How many people really believe that those responsible for this bombing shouldn’t receive the death penalty? How many voters believe that those found guilty should be sentenced to life in prison without parole?

If you believe the latter, then you should understand that maintaining a prisoner in maximum security prison costs the taxpayer about $200,000 per year.

I guess you think this is a more productive use of our tax dollars than applying it to educating our children, feeding our poor, upgrading our deteriorating infrastructure, etc.

I certainly do not subscribe to a callous indifference. The death penalty should only be enacted when there is no doubt regarding guilt. But I believe it should be an option for our juries.

We have to ask our current state legislators to stand up and be counted. In 1995 Mitt Romney tried to reinstate the death penalty for what he called the “worst of the worst” crimes, including terrorism, murder involving torture and murder of witnesses. But he couldn’t get it passed by our Democrat House and Senate.

I’d like our current legislators to give the Times and other area newspapers their views so voters will know their position before voting this November. Let’s hope they honestly care enough to offer their opinions.

JIM CHANDLER

Amesbury