By Nancy Aviña & Hongyi Wen
JOPLIN, MO — The Joplin Globe here this week said the conversation about Missouri ending the death penalty should begin now.
The newspaper stated that this conversation is something that should be spoken about because it is a controversial topic among conservatives, church leaders, religious organizations, and legal and constitutional experts.
The Joplin Globe noted that listening to the views of conservatives was important in starting the conversation because conservatives include pro-life conservatives and conservatives leery of giving the government too much power.
Additionally, the Joplin Globe stated that Hannah Cox, the senior national manager for Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty commented, “The death penalty is so problematic, it’s so broken, there is something there for everyone.”
After examining statistics, the Joplin Globe is concerned with wrongful convictions after courts have wrongfully accused people convicted for a death sentence.
This has been seen exponentially through the Death Penalty Information Center, said the newspaper, noting that close to 185 of those who have been wrongfully convicted for a death sentence have been exonerated.
According to the Death Penalty Information Center, several wrongful convictions have happened, arguing, “Wrongful capital convictions have happened in 29 different states and in 118 different counties, showing that, in whatever part of the country they are tried, capital defendants face an inherent risk of wrongful conviction.”
Four of those wrongfully convicted cases were located in Missouri.
The Joplin Globe said that mental illness, poverty, and race raises large doubts about the fairness behind the death penalty, pointing to case of Richard Strong v. the State of Missouri, in which defendant Richard Strong, a man who had severe mental illnesses, was still sentenced to death by lethal injection in the state of Missouri.
The Joplin Globe also notes the process of death penalty cases can often drag on for long periods of time, sometimes decades. The victim’s families also have to go through multiple hearings and appeals.
The mother of one of the victims explained how the surviving families are restricted by the legal procedures, noting “The sad reality is that the death penalty handcuffs the surviving families of homicide victims to decades of legal procedures.”
The Joplin Globe also points to the cost of death penalty cases, which are also exorbitant. A conservative group concerned with the death penalty indicates that even States with fewer protection and faster process spend an abundant amount of taxpayer money on the death penalty.
The group noted, “In Texas, for example, the death penalty still costs an average of three times more than 40 years in prison at maximum security.” Joplin Globe added that the five recent federal executions cost around $1 million each.
The Joplin Globe said the conservative group argued, “we have tinkered with the death penalty in an effort to make it fair, accurate, and effective. Yet the system continues to fail.”
The editorial board of Joplin Globe concluded that opposing the death penalty does not equal anti-justice or soft on crime. Life without parole. the editorial board said, is an expedient punishment for the worst criminals, without burdening the taxpayers and minimizing the harm to the victim’s family.
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