by Max Brantley
Is it worth the cost in money, innocent lives and lack of deterrence? Brummett raises the questions again on the occasion of a speech by a man who spent 18 years on Death Row after a mockery of a trial.
Brummett mentions what I'd heard last week, too, from death penalty opponents. They are preparing to ask Gov. Mike Beebe for a moratorium on executions in Arkansas. They will ask that he do what governors in other states have done -- appoint a commission to study the death penalty thoroughly. This would include its cost, the lethal injection procedure, the possibility that innocent people might be executed. If we should go forward with executions, they say, we should go forward with a full knowledge of these factors. (They hope, of course, that the absence of evidence of deterrence, the staggering cost and emotional toll, the poorly handled execution procedure and all the rest could contribute to a change in attitudes about death.) It is hard to believe that the uber cautious Mike Beebe would do such a thing, even during a time period removed from the election cycle.