Debating the Ultimate Penalty | Letters | Chicago Reader

Debating the Ultimate Penalty 

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Hats off to Michael Miner's article [June 9] which provides a counterpoint opinion of a prosecutor. Although I am a supporter of police and the prosecutorial system, it is clear that abuses are made, often motivated by career advancement. Death penalties are good play with the public, and seem to be used as notches on a prosecutor's belt (why does the Du Page prosecutor want the death penalty for the Naperville woman who killed her children?--because he can get a conviction?). In the beginning of the Sunday Tribune article on Texas, reference was made that there were defendants who admitted guilt and asked for forgiveness prior to execution. That was good counterpoint, but no numbers were provided (as opposed to the statistics regarding the problems with the convictions): How many admitted? How many of these were also cited as having questionable defense attorneys, or other noted problems with the judge, prosecutor, police, etc. It's extremely important that the Tribune has raised these issues, in Illinois and now Texas: due process is our only way of making the best effort to punish the guilty, and to hopefully free the innocent. And the Reader article was excellent in providing opposing opinions to the Tribune's findings (even though the author was on record of being more on the side of journalists). It is this type of debate, that although can create problems, in the long run is necessary to hold people accountable, both in government and the press.

Dave Beinor


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