April 14, 2007
Dallas Morning News wants death penalty ban in Texas
DALLAS - After reviewing its century-old stance in support of the death
penalty, the Dallas Morning News is calling today for the punishment to be
banned in Texas.
Mentioning a Texas case in which an inmate sentenced to death was later
cleared, the newspaper published an editorial today saying it no longer
condones the death penalty.
The Dallas Morning News is the state's largest newspaper to oppose capital
"This board has lost confidence that the state of Texas can guarantee that
every inmate it executes is truly guilty of murder," the paper said.
"We do not believe that any legal system devised by inherently flawed human
beings can determine with moral certainty the guilt of every defendant
convicted of murder."
Citing 13 men in Dallas County who have been released from prison after
years of incarceration for crimes they didn't commit and the Tulia and
fake-drug scandals, the board says such instances show that the possibility
for error in the justice system is very real.
"If we are doomed to err in matters of life and death, it is far better to
err on the side of caution. It is far better to err on the side of life. The
state cannot impose death - an irrevocable sentence - with absolute
certainty in all cases. Therefore the state should not impose it at all,"
the board says.
Since Texas resumed the death penalty in 1976, it has accounted for more
than one of every three executions in the nation, the editorial says.
All but one of the 13 executions nationwide so far this year have been in
State lawmakers this year are proposing to open the death penalty to people
convicted of sex crimes with children.
The newspaper also featured an opinion piece by assistant editorial page
editor Mike Hashimoto on why Texas should continue administering the death
"Our ultimate punishment for the ultimate crime must have an indisputable
finality," he writes.
Source : Associated Press