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March 20, 2015

"Victim's wife: Keep me out of death penalty fight"

The title of this post is the headline of this notable new article out of Philadelphia which highlights how victims often can and will get victimized again by the political debates over the death penalty.  Here is how the piece starts:

Since Gov. Wolf declared his moratorium on the death penalty last month, proponents of capital punishment have rallied around one case to push their cause - the scuttled execution of Terrance Williams, a Philadelphia man sentenced to die in 1986 for the beating death of a Germantown church volunteer.

But on Thursday, the widow of Williams' victim had a message for critics of the governor's action: Leave me out of it. In a publicly circulated letter, Mamie Norwood, whose husband, Amos, was killed by Williams in 1984, accused State Rep. Mike Vereb (R., Montgomery) and Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams of using her husband's slaying for political gain.

"You have never spoken to me and do not speak for me," Norwood wrote, adding that she had forgiven Terrance Williams long ago and did not want to see him put to death. She added: "Please don't use me . . . to get your name in the news. You should be truly ashamed of yourselves."

Norwood's letter was distributed by a group of Terrance Williams' supporters who run the website www.terrywilliamsclemency.com.

Norwood's letter is available at this link.

March 20, 2015 at 10:09 AM | Permalink


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One death penalty supporter who comments here is very confused about such people.

It's easy to do, it's a good reminder to be wary about speaking for others. This is a general concern & applies to death penalty opponents too.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 20, 2015 10:34:10 AM

No one is speaking for her. The death penalty has nothing to do with families, otherwise it would be for revenge, which it is not. Again, emotional left wing propaganda from pro-criminal journalists and lawyers. This is cheap, tawdry tactics from people defending ultra-violent murderers, and the indefensible. It is morally disgusting.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 20, 2015 10:47:42 AM

"No one is speaking for her."

People repeatedly speaking in the names of victims, shaming people for not caring about such people etc. It "has something to do with families." This is an argument, not a statement of fact. The death penalty repeatedly is defended as a means of retribution. This might be wrong in the opinion of some, but it is a widespread argument made.

Most "ultra-violent murderers" (a bit redundant) aren't executed. This is the result largely of non-lawyers, including juries who don't choose death or don't support the death penalty at all by not authorizing them or continuing to put in office those who do not apply it. The "pro-criminal" group is much broader than "journalists" and "leftwing" here. I respond this in part not just to directly respond to SC but because (if somewhat badly) a general idea is being expressed here that others also express.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 20, 2015 11:02:31 AM

Joe. The death penalty is a finely tuned system. End the death penalty, end $billions and thousands of lawyer jobs. They backed up from that. Do the death penalty correctly, at the correct dose in the dose response curve of all remedies, and it ends crime. End crime? Again $billions lost for the lawyers, and massive unemployment. Mandatory guidelines drop crime 40%, there is massive lawyer unemployment. So end the mandatory guidelines, with the charge led by Antonin Scalia.

You have bought the lawyer propaganda, and are repeating it. It is a carefully refined business in rent seeking.

Here are a couple of remedies short of fully justifiable, massive violence against the criminal cult enterprise that is the lawyer profession. All armed revolutions have been catastrophic, including the American Revolution. So I do not support mass violence against the internal traitors that have fully infiltrated the three branches of government and now make 99% of policy decisions, however idiotic their cult indoctrination has made them.

1) Criminalize rent seeking, for what it really is, armed robbery, with sentences similar to those for armed robbery.

2) End all self dealt government immunities, with professional standards of due care. Massive aggregate claim. The government is herding crime into black areas, and owes black victims big time.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 20, 2015 11:50:35 AM

It is a powerful and heartfelt letter, and forces one who reads it to echo Mrs. Norwood's question: why? Why is it that politicians ignore her wishes, and likely the wishes of other victims who feel similarly, when it is not convenient for the politicians?

The cynic in me resolves the question simply: politicians do not really care about victims, but only about power. To the extent siding with victims and their concerns enables them to continue to grand stand and seek power, they will do so. Cases like Mrs. Norwood's however, shows such disingenuousness for what it is: a power play.

To be sure, there are good politicians out there. They just don't get very far.

Posted by: Guy | Mar 20, 2015 12:22:29 PM

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