View Full Version : Lawmaker calls it spiritually wrong, calls for moratorium


softheart
01-21-2003, 03:51 PM
MISSISSIPPI:

Lawmaker calls it spiritually wrong, calls for moratorium


A state representative who says God does not give man the right to take a
life wants lawmakers to place a moratorium on the death penalty in
Mississippi.

House Bill 269, proposed by Rep. John Mayo, D-Clarksdale, would also
appoint a 10-member Death Penalty Impact Committee to study the death
penalty and how it is applied.

"I've become convinced that not only is it spiritually wrong, it is
civilly unfair," said Mayo, who proposed similar legislation during the
last 2 sessions.

There are 67 inmates on death row.

Kirk Ladner of Gulfport, whose brother's killer in July became the 1st
inmate executed in Mississippi in 13 years, disagrees with the proposed
moratorium.

Ladner, whose brother, state trooper David Bruce Ladner, was murdered in
Harrison County in 1987, said the death penalty should be applied on a
case-by-case basis, if the evidence and the crime warrant it, he said.

Tracy Alan Hansen was executed in July for shooting David Bruce Ladner
during a routine traffic stop. His execution was the 1st in the state to
use lethal injection.

Issues now before the state's and nation's high courts may give Mayo's
bill at least a better chance for a hearing this year. On Jan. 6, Gov.
Ronnie Musgrove granted a temporary stay of execution for Ronald Chris
Foster, who had been slated to die Jan. 8 for the 1989 killing of a
Lowndes County convenience store clerk, until the issues are resolved.

The state Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether Foster is
mentally retarded, which under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling would make it
unconstitutional to execute him.

The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to rule on the constitutionality of
executing inmates who were juveniles when they committed their crimes.
Foster was 17 when he committed murder.

In addition, David Blue, 28, convicted of the 1992 killing, sexual
assault and robbery of Mary Turntine, could soon be the 1st death row
inmate in Mississippi resentenced to life without parole under the U.S.
Supreme Court ruling that makes it unconstitutional to execute the
mentally retarded.

Mayo, a Catholic, said a spiritual awakening in 1996 while reading and
praying in church led him to believe all life is sacred and a gift from God.

Before then, Mayo said, he was a "sideline player" on the death penalty
issue and had no strong feelings one way or the other.

"Everyone who has argued against the death penalty has never been a
family member of a victim," Ladner said. "That legislator needs to put
the shoe on and wear it before he knows how it fits."

Mayo said he understands this is a sensitive issue, and he feels
"extremely sorry" for the victims and their families.

"But I just don't see where, spiritually, we have any moral authority to
take a life that's not in self-defense," Mayo said.

Mayo argues the death penalty is given more often to people who cannot
afford adequate defense, and some death row inmates have been found to be
innocent.

In Mississippi, he said, a person can get the death penalty in 1 county
while someone who commits an identical crime in another county does not.

That's because it's left up to the discretion of prosecutors, Mayo said.

"Right now, I'm not asking people to be opposed to the death penalty," he
said. "I'm asking them to examine the death penalty."

Bishop Kenneth Carder of the United Methodist Church in Mississippi said
many questions remain about administering the death penalty and
protecting innocent people from being executed.

"I would, therefore, support a moratorium until all of the studies are
done that are necessary to ensure that innocent people would not be
executed," Carder said.

Ken McGill, director of Mississippians for Alternatives to the Death
Penalty, said he hasn't seen Mayo's bill, but his organization supports a
moratorium.

McGill, concerned about executing the innocent, cited the actions of
former Illinois Gov. George Ryan, who commuted the sentences of 167
condemned inmates earlier this month, two days before he left office.

Ryan had stopped all executions in Illinois about 3 years ago, after
courts found that 13 Illinois death row inmates had been wrongly
convicted since the death penalty resumed in 1977.

"I don't want one innocent person's blood on my hands, and I don't think
Mississippi wants to kill one innocent person either," McGill said.

Donald Hocutt, a former executioner at the State Penitentiary at
Parchman, supports the death penalty as a deterrent.

"We don't know how many times some guy has not shot a cop, not shot a
store owner, not shot somebody in the commission of a felony because of
the death penalty," said Hocutt, who worked 4 executions. "Plus, if you
commit the ultimate crime, taking somebody's life, you should have the
ultimate punishment."

Hocutt said there are sufficient court appeals to help ensure an innocent
person is not executed.

Yale Canfield, a pulpit minister at Skyway Hills Church of Christ in
Pearl, said he "cannot find biblical mandate against a government having
a death penalty as a means of just punishment."

Carder said the Bible can be used by those who support or reject the
death penalty, but only God can decide life or death. "No human system is
so perfect that it can rightly execute another."

(source: Clarion-Ledger)

danielle
01-23-2003, 11:57 AM
Thank you for posting this softie.

KRIS_NC
01-27-2003, 07:41 PM
THANKS FOR POSTING.OTHERS ARE STARTING TO FOLLOW THATS A GOOD SIGN

softheart
01-27-2003, 07:50 PM
I hope so, Kirk Ladner has always insisted that if you are againist the DP then you have never had a family member murdered. All though my heart goes out to him and his family. he is so wrong, I have tried many times to deal with the anger this man has, but to no avail. If it was up to Mr. ladner he would personally kill every man and women on DR.
He never faced tracy until Tracy was strapped to the gurney. He never allowed Tracy to apologize to him or his family. He never cared that tracy dedicated a book to his brother.
Bruce Ladner was a wonderful loving, caring man and I know he would not want the hate and anger in his name. When Tracy was a young man he would have been the type of person officer Ladner would have helped. The hate and anger Kirk still has proves that killing one by execution, does not give you closure for losing a loved one. Tracy is dead and so is Officer Ladner and his loved ones are no better for it.

softie