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Stop Paul Warners’ execution, scheduled for today in Virginia

Mar 18, 2010 Stop Paul Warners’ execution, scheduled for today in Virginia

Death penalty: Always unjust.

Paul Warner’s admitted murder was beyond heinous. However, he also had counsel who were asleep at the wheel when they did not challenge the prosecutor’s severely erroneous NCIC criminal record that was shown to the sentencing jury.

Today he is scheduled for state-sponsored murder in Virginia, with Governor McDonald — who was apparently Virginia’s attorney general during at least some, if not more, of the litigation in Mr. Powell’s case — having rejected clemency.

Each year, we learn of horrific wrongful convictions sometimes lasting for decades before the wrongful conviction is discovered, and sometimes never discovered. If the convicted person is executed before the wrongful conviction is discovered, that is particularly tragic.

Many people’s gut reaction might be not only to execute Mr. Powell but to make him suffer as close to the way his victim suffered as possible, and possibly more so. That might satisfy some people’s initial cravings for mob justice, but it does nothing to serve real justice nor to assure that other capital defendants get fair trials, fair sentencing, and fair appeals.

Mr. Powell is not going anywhere if his death sentence gets commuted, just as he has gone nowhere since his initial arrest.

Stop capital punishment now. Please make your voice heard.  

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