Monday, December 12, 2005

Stanley Williams and the Death Penalty

I wasn’t planning on it, but I sit here now writing a few words about Stanley Williams, who as of this moment, will probably be executed by the state of California in a few hours. If I was the governor I would commute his sentence to life in prison.

In a roundabout way The Underdog and I shared on the topic on this post a while back. In very, very, limited circumstances (which I can barely think of), I do not disagree with the application of the death penalty. I personally think such a situation would have to first include an indisputable preponderance of evidence showing malice intent and guilt. Of course the argument can be made that the legal and judicial systems do not require this, all an individual is legally entitled to have is a fair trial and competent defense. I believe for the sentence of death by the hands of the state to be given, the standard should be much higher than just a fair trial. If even one innocent person is murdered by the state, the entire system has failed, and I refuse to believe in the infallibility of death sentences handed out in the country. So until you can prove to me there has never been an innocent individual killed, I really cannot support the death penalty. I heard a preacher recently talk about the application of the death penalty in the Mosaic Law (which I think serves as the basis of much of the law today). He said in crimes where the sentence of death could be given, there had to be at least two eyewitnesses to the event in question. If this was not the case death was not an option. Now all that being stated, I would not pardon Mr. Wilson based on my doubt in the death penalty. I would commute his sentence based on grace and mercy, hopefully the same grace and mercy God has afforded to me many times.

To be honest I always feel a mixture of emotions at times like this. I’m not going into a lot of detail, but my grandfather, an 80 year old African Methodist Episcopalian Minister was brutally murdered. The man who did this is in prison, but I couldn’t imagine the man being sentenced to death. For our family it was a lot easier to forgive and pray for the man than wish for his death. Mr. Stanley Williams I’ll do the same for you, may God rest your soul. I can't condone the evil things you have done, but I do applaude the positive steps you have taken in remodeling your life to become among the best of humanity. Again may God rest your soul.

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