Saturday, May 5, 2012

Toronto Star: Commute !

The Toronto Star is calling on Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer to commute the death sentence of Ronald Smith (a Canadian) to life in prison. Smith says he is “horrendously sorry” for the double murders he committed and his lawyer says he is a "changed man.” Relatives of the victims, however, continue to see Smith as “the scum of the earth” and “an animal.”

The Star says Gov. Schweitzer should "let grace and mercy temper justice" because "the argument that the state must kill to uphold the sanctity of life has never been a strong one" (despite the fact that 43 states have the death penalty). The Star notes Amnesty International calls the death penalty “the ultimate denial of human rights” and a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Says the Star:
Capital punishment reduces the state to the same moral level as the most violent criminals, piling violence upon violence. It is used, disproportionately, by repressive regimes and against the poor and marginalized. Mistakes cannot be remedied. And the deterrent value is minimal, arguably no more than a life sentence. We have come to expect better of ourselves.
Finally, the Star notes Smith was "an abused youth" who was "drunk and high on hallucinogens when he committed his crimes" so his "his judgment was impaired when he actively asked for the death penalty." See entire editorial here.

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