Editorial - 6/3/13 - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Editorial - 6/3/13

As of January, there were 3,125 inmates "under-death-sentence" in the U.S.   California , 727; Florida 413, then Texas, with 300 on death row.  Closer to home, Georgia 94, and South Carolina with 49 now sentenced to death.  The major problem, here, in addition to having over 3-thousand individuals sentenced for committing, most often, very violent crimes, is the extended-period often spent on death-row following conviction. We spend far too much state and federal money keeping these individuals housed, fed, and healthy, for way too long, with the average stay, now, at 13-years.  Delay after delay, due to multiple legal-motions, with resulting court-time, also a public cost-factor. Inmates are deserving of appeal-time to avoid execution errors, but the process must be accelerated.  Georgia has inmates who were sentenced to death almost 20, sometimes, 30-years ago, with one, currently, at 37-years, according to Corrections Department data.    

Florida legislators are calling for executions within 180-days of a signed death-warrant. Said the "Timely Justice Act" sponsor: "Too many defendants are gaming the system with legal maneuvers that have no bearing on guilt or innocence." In March, Georgia approved protecting the identity of lethal-injection makers, further securing dependable supply. Whether or not Florida's measure passes muster, the time-span between sentencing and execution, in all 32 death-penalty states, should be no longer than 2-years. Time enough for further actions, forensics, and appeals, with courts needing to ramp-up as well.  Yes, those convicted of capital crimes, do have reasonable rights, but not decades' worth.  Our focus should rightly be on the families of victims: their loss, anguish, and need for closure.  For them, and for society in general, far more timely-justice is needed.   

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