Archive for Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Death penalty opponents offer bill to repeal Kansas law

Say mistakes are too common

January 30, 2007


— Death penalty opponents Tuesday introduced legislation that would do away with capital punishment in Kansas after a former death row inmate talked about how he was almost killed by a broken judicial system.

When Ray Krone was freed from an Arizona prison in 2002 he became the 100th defendant in the United States cleared of the crime that had brought a death sentence.

"Our justice system; I don't support it now," Krone, 50, said to a gathering of death penalty opponents.

Krone, who had no previous criminal record, was sentenced to die in the 1991 slaying of a cocktail waitress.

Krone said he was the victim of inadequate legal defense, and an overzealous prosecutor and judge.

He spent 10 years in prison before being freed when DNA evidence was reviewed and found a match with another man.

Without the support of his family and a dedicated appellate attorney, Krone said he would have either been executed or spent his life in prison.

He said the same thing could happen to anyone. "Mistakes happen," he said. He said people see sports referees make wrong calls all the time, but they refuse to believe that the justice system could condemn an innocent man.

Krone now works to get states to repeal their death penalty statutes.

Cecilia Wood, a private investigator from Lawrence, said Krone's story showed why the death penalty should be jettisoned.

"There are too many errors in the system," Wood said. "There are too many mistakes in law enforcement."

Measures to end the death penalty were filed on the 100th anniversary of the day in 1907 that Gov. Edward Wallis Hoch signed legislation abolishing the death penalty, which had been on the state's books since 1859 when Kansas was still a territory.

The death penalty was reinstated in 1935, repealed again in 1972 and finally reinstated in 1994.

Since the death penalty was last reinstated in Kansas, there have been 10 death sentences but no executions. One sentence was removed by the prosecutor's request and two have been vacated by the Kansas Supreme Court.


Crispian Paul 11 years, 4 months ago

I am wondering if that was a joke? It's about time to repeal this...what message do we send as a country when we say to the world "You better not kill someone in the US or we'll kill you back".

Tom McCune 11 years, 4 months ago

What about Gary Gilmore? He admitted his crime, asked for the death penalty, and was POed at the protestors who kept delaying it.

shirinisb 11 years, 4 months ago

Why are they spending so much on a punishment that rarely even happens. Despite the fact that killing another human is wrong this crap costs us lots of money each year. By having the death penalty and so many loop holes, appeals, etc. we're just pouring money down a toilet.

ksmoderate 11 years, 4 months ago

Stop killing people to show people that killing people is wrong.

Frank Smith 11 years, 4 months ago

There is no evidence that the death penalty has any deterrent effect. None. That's it.

There is plenty of evidence that innocent people have been convicted and executed.

There is a man in Rose Hill who was convicted of killing his seven children and sentenced to death in Florida. There was egregious prosecutorial misconduct and an inept defense. He did three years on death row before Furman v. Georgia found the death penalty unconsitutional in 1972. He spent almost 20 more years doing life without possibility of parole before Janet Reno reopened his case. By then the children's babysitter, who had poisoned the kids, had murdered one and possibly two husbands. She was awaiting trial when she died.

While he was in prison he almost died from terrible medical care and a heart condition. Illiterate when he went in, he learned to read and write and became a minister.

Amazingly, he seems to bear no one ill will, feeling that it was "God's will" that all that happened.

Which readers think he should have been executed? Which readers think that the prosecutors who were guilty of similar misconduct in Ray Krone's case did the right thing? They let the real killer run loose and commit other horrible crimes, because they had zeroed in on Krone and faked evidence. When the DNA results were returned, they found who the actual killer was, but it should have been obvious from the start.

Us having the death penalty keeps us associated with only a handful of countries in the world....including China, North Korea, Iran and Iraq.

By their friends, thee shall know them.

EvaTrujillo 11 years, 4 months ago

I'm opposed to innocent people being punished for crimes. I am not opposed to guilty people punished for crimes. This includes the punishment by removing a murderer from our midst. Now, someone opposing the death penalty will say, "It won't bring the loved one back." So, that's not the point. Then someone opposing the death penalty will say, "Two wrongs don't make a right or revenge is wrong." So, that's not the point. The point is, "Get em out of the gene-pool." What we all agree on is that the legal system needs to be better so less innocent people are not punished.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 4 months ago

And how do you propose to do that, Eva, when the one thing that gets a lot of people convicted, eyewitness testimony, is the most unreliable piece of evidence that can be used?

How do you propose to do that when police and prosecutors focus so much on one suspect that they stop investigating the crime? When they badger suspects to the point where they will confess to a crime they didn't commit, just to get the interrogation to stop?

Get them out of the gene pool? What does that mean?

Punishing criminals and murdering them are not the same thing.

It costs much less to keep a criminal in prison for life than it does to have to go through all the appeals process.

EvaTrujillo 11 years, 4 months ago

Yes, eyewitness testimony is the most unreliable. Yes, prosecutors focus on one suspect and ignore other pieces of evidence. These processes are part of the legal system and MUST be resolved, and I'm not proposing how. If you want to define capital punishment as murder instead - okay.

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