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Clemency

Virginia Gov. Mark Warner granted clemency today to a convicted killer (the sentence was commuted to life in prison). According to the AP, Robin Lovitt would have been the 1,000th person executed in the United States since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty back in 1976.

“No case has been more troubling,” Warner said Tuesday on WTOP radio in Washington. “There’s no case I’ve spent more time thinking about, praying about.”

Warner, a Democrat, has never granted clemency in the nearly four years he has been governor. During that time, 11 men have been executed.

Is Lovitt guilty of the crime? Who knows, because the evidence that could have proven it one way or another has been lost.

Lovitt’s lawyers, who include former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, and anti-death penalty advocates had argued that his life should be spared because a court clerk illegally destroyed the bloody scissors and other evidence, preventing DNA testing that they said could exonerate him.

***

Karla Faye Tucker wasn’t as lucky as Lovitt. She and 152 others didn’t stand a chance of getting clemency from the “Christian” Governor of the Great State of Texas, George W. Bush:


Texecutioner: During his six years as governor of Texas presided over more executions than any other governor in the recent history of the United States. Tucker was executed in 1988 and was the first woman executed in the U.S. since 1984; the first in Texas since the Civil War.

In the weeks before the execution, Bush says, a number of protesters came to Austin to demand clemency for Karla Faye Tucker. “Did you meet with any of them?” I ask. Bush whips around and stares at me. “No, I didn’t meet with any of them,” he snaps, as though I’ve just asked the dumbest, most offensive question ever posed. “I didn’t meet with Larry King either when he came down for it. I watched his interview with Tucker, though. He asked her real difficult questions like, “What would you say to Governor Bush?” “What was her answer?” I wonder. “Please,” Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, “don’t kill me.” I must look shocked–ridiculing the pleas of a condemned prisoner who has since been executed seems odd and cruel–because he immediately stops smirking.

– Time Magazine

By the way, now the 1,000th execution is scheduled for Friday in the Tar Heel State. Kenneth Lee Boyd is slated to die for the murder of his estranged wife and her father.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding