Death penalty expansion bills that were blocked in recent years likely will become law in Virginia under a new administration, making more people eligible for what is already the nation’s second-busiest death chamber.
Since he took office in 2006, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has vetoed 15 bills making everyone from murder accomplices to killers of on-duty auxiliary police or fire marshals eligible for the death penalty. Legislators have overridden some of Kaine’s vetoes, and currently there are 15 crimes that are punishable by death in Virginia.
Republican Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell has said he will sign legislation to expand the death penalty, even though other states are restricting capital punishment or repealing it altogether.
This is a sad story. It marks the beginning of the end of Virginia's hopes to be considered a modern functioning state that plans to move ahead into the 21st century. Instead this, and you can only imagine what other backward ideas the new governor will push, will clearly place Virginia in alliance with southern and south-central neighbors.
What's your opinion? Is Governor-elect McDonnell already displaying cave-man tendencies in this matter? Do you think he and those like-minded legislators simply deny the concerns of other states, which, more enlightened, are moving away from the death penalty? Or do you think it's not necessary for them to deny anything to take this approach? Perhaps they feel like a lot of people that the death penalty cleans up the gene pool and an occasional wrongful execution is usually exacted upon someone guilty of other crimes anyway?
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.