Don’t allow feelings to cloud judgment about death penalty

Don’t allow feelings to cloud judgment about death penalty – click on this link to access the online letter and its comments

5/21/14 News Journal Letter to the Editor by Kristin Froehlich, sister of a murder victim and Board President of Delaware Citizens Opposed to the Death Penalty

In response to his editorial “Should Delaware Still Have the Death Penalty?” John Sweeney asks us to debate some hard questions about the death penalty. I welcome a forthright discussion. However, I warn against getting mired in how we “feel.” Feelings are what have kept us from addressing the realities of Delaware’s death penalty as it is practiced. Feelings are what keep the death penalty on the books when Delaware has the 8th highest murder rate in the country. Feelings are what keep legislators from discussing the systemic bias in Delaware’s death penalty. Feelings are what blind us to Delaware’s death penalty failure rate (more than 1/3 of death sentences are reduced to life without parole.) Feelings are what prevent the true financial costs of the death penalty in Delaware from being disclosed. Feelings are what promote the death penalty as “the” answer for victims’ families when the vast majority of families will never have access to it. Feelings are what keep law enforcement and corrections leadership staunchly supporting the death penalty while they go begging for personnel, raises, and resources. Feelings are what keep Senate Bill 19 stuck in the House Judiciary Committee instead of allowing the facts to be debated before the full House. I “feel” disgusted that this barbaric practice remains common in Delaware, but I know my feeling is not relevant to people who disagree with me or to decision-makers. Let’s take up John Sweeney’s challenge and discuss the hard questions.

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