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July 21, 2011

Notable execution mid-summer execution news from Georgia and Texas

Two interesting execution stories were developing last night in Georgia and Texas, although the stories linked below showcase that one of these stories continue today:

July 21, 2011 at 08:48 AM | Permalink

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The Reuters story (http://news.yahoo.com/texas-executes-man-says-killed-9-11-retaliation-022031196.html) on the Texas execution noted that one of the surviving victims opposed the execution on religious grounds (it didn't say if the family of the deceased victim weighed in). The last sentence of the article was "But death-penalty advocates said the victim doesn't get to decide the punishment."

I thought that was interesting, and I wish they would have identified these persons/advocates by name. Many of the DA's/AG's I'm familiar with routinely cite the wishes of the victim/victim's family as the be-all and end-all of charging and sentencing decisions. In effect, they treat the victims as having a veto power over the State's position. Whether right or wrong, this type of rhetoric is wide-spread, so I am always interested in the position taken by the State in cases where the victim's family takes a less-punitive position on charging or punishment.

Of course, it is possible that it is *never* the same people deferring to the wishes of the victim when they seek maximum retribution, but ignoring those wishes when they favor leniency. But I doubt it.

Posted by: Anon | Jul 21, 2011 1:25:29 PM

@Anon
The man seeking to save Stroman's life is alive. Stroman was not put to death for shooting him, but for killing Vasudev Patel. A surviving victim from a second case has very little say. Patel's widow took no position on the execution and made it clear she had not authorized anyone to speak on her behalf.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Jul 21, 2011 5:59:48 PM

Anon --

"Many of the DA's/AG's I'm familiar with routinely cite the wishes of the victim/victim's family as the be-all and end-all of charging and sentencing decisions."

Since you know "many" prosecutors who take this position, please quote a single one, giving his name and the source, who has said even once that the wishes of the victim/victim's family are the be-all and end-all of charging and sentencing decisions. Either that or anything similar, e.g., "the victim's wishes are controlling for prosecution and sentencing positions."

My bet is you won't post a single one. The reason for this is that the victim's/family's wishes, while given due weight and respect, in fact are NOT controlling. The wishes of private parties control the litigating positions of private lawsuits. A prosecution is a public lawsuit, and, as prosecutors know, the public is the client, not any private party no matter how worthy.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 21, 2011 8:37:11 PM

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