97 Pro Death Penalty Quotes by Attorneys from the U.S.A



The American public possesses a deep-seated sense of right and wrong. It seems that no matter how hard the liberal media and the anti-death penalty elitists try, average citizens continue to believe that those who commit the most heinous murders should face the possibility of the most serious punishment. America’s prosecutors feel that people who violate our laws should suffer the consequences of those acts, and they will continue to do all they can to see that law-breakers are held responsible for their criminal acts. The safety of the public is job # 1 for prosecutors. That is what the public expects and wants.

“Do you feel safe in downtown Detroit? You shouldn't be. Beyond the obvious specific deterrent of executing a killer so he can't kill again, the most recent studies (since 2000) come from a broad base of economists and non-ideological scientists. Their studies include authors who personally oppose capital punishment but cannot deny the findings of their research.”

“Citing a high murder rate in Texas makes as little sense as citing Michigan or the District of Columbia - both places with much higher than average murder rate - as examples of how. Comparing the United States with other countries is equally pointless. There are very stable countries like Switzerland or Japan with low murder rates (one has the death penalty, the other not) or point to countries like Brazil with murder rates much worse than the United States.”

“As someone who has tried both capital and non-capital murder cases, as well as defending similar cases, I can say from direct knowledge that the costs of capital punishment are directly related to the amount of due process given the defendant. The costs exist because we want to be very sure to guarantee that the defendant has every protection.

The only way to "save" money is to cut the defense made available to defendants charged with very serious crimes. I have tried murder cases where the death penalty was NOT available and the costs of the defense were similar to those in death penalty cases.

In places where the death penalty is either legally or effectively abolished the next attack comes on life without parole.

In a 2001 debate at the American Bar Association convention I debated the head of the ACLU. http://www.justicetalking.org/viewprogram.asp?progID=196
During that debate it became clear that if and when the death penalty is off the table the next target is life without parole.”

“What Amnesty International is not telling you is that polling done on capital punishment shows that consistently 65 to 85% of Americans support capital punishment in some cases since the mid-1970s. Support peaked in the 1980s, decreased slightly to about 65% in 2000, but remains about 70%. If the question is asked "Is there ANY crime that merits the death penalty" Americans say yes at a rate of 82%.

There is no question that death penalty cases are decreasing.

Because of decreasing rates of violent crime (including murder) due in no small part to tougher penalties, the number of cases appropriate for the death penalty have decreased.

Both juries and prosecutors are becoming more discriminating about the cases in which the death penalty is applied.”

How Many Innocent Victims are Too Many?

There has never been any doubt that capital punishment is a specific deterrent. The killer who dies cannot kill again, but in the last decade a series of academic studies have shown that executions mean less murder, less innocent victims. This is the number rarely bandied about by those who fashion themselves “abolitionists.” They claim the moral high ground and point to a system they claim is fatally flawed. But they do not speak of what happens when society fails to incapacitate the worst of the worst killers. Since the death penalty was reinstated by the United States Supreme Court in 1976 there have been about 600,000 murders in America and just over 1000 killers executed.

The death penalty is used rarely, as it should be and as the criminal justice improves there are fewer death sentences. This is because prosecutors are being more discriminating about the cases they submit to juries for capital punishment, the Supreme Court has narrowed the categories of murders for which the death penalty is even available as a choice for juries.

As progressive law professor Cass Sunstein says is his paper “Is Capital Punishment Morally Required,” how can we exclude capital punishment if we know with certainty that innocent people will be murdered without it?

The Idea that Many People on Death Row are Innocent is Nonsense: One of the most pernicious urban legends perpetrated by those who oppose capital punishment is that innocent people have been executed and that there have a large number of exonerations. Exoneration means innocent and while there is no question the justice system makes mistakes they are extremely rare. Of almost 10,000 people sentenced to death over the last 30 years exactly 4 have been removed from death row because DNA showed it extremely unlikely they committed the crimes of which they were convicted. The Innocence Project points to just over 200 DNA exonerations in all kinds of serious felonies. The question raised by Justice Scalia in his concurrence in the case of Kansas vs. Marsh was out of what universe. Those are 200 DNA exonerations out of tens of millions of rapes and murder cases.  That would mean an error rate of about one ten thousandths of one percent or putting it another way a success rate of around 99.99%. No human endeavor is without risk and every year tens of thousands of people are killed by mistakes by pharmacists and doctors. Yet we don’t stop medicine or surgery, we seek to improve it and reduce the risk.

The Gary Graham case offers fodder to those who contend that the United States has gotten carried away with enthusiasm for capital punishment. But Joshua Marquis, a member of the board of directors of the National District Attorneys Association, said that the adversarial justice system remains a sound forum on which juries and judges can weigh matters like eyewitness testimony and circumstantial evidence and make sound convictions short of scientific certainty.

   ``DNA can be a marvelous forensic tool, but it is not a magic bullet,'' Marquis said. ``We must never forget the other, massively larger part of this risk-benefit analysis _ the thousands of truly innocent victims who die at the hands of criminals that the legal system has failed to hold accountable.”

``In this country we have an incredibly elaborate appellate system that recognizes that police, prosecutors, judges, and juries are not infallible,'' he said. ``Opponents . . . are attempting to reshape the discussion in the form of a new urban myth: that our justice system is growing increasingly reckless in its zeal to execute and, worse yet, that significant numbers of innocents are ending up on death row. This is a myth in search of a crisis that doesn't exist.''

 

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: “The U.S. in Bad Company.”

Only a handful of countries still execute more prisoners each year than the U.S., including countries such as China, Iran and Saudi Arabia.  Is this the company that we want to keep?

JOSHUA MARQUIS, District Attorney, Media Commentator: “America is NOT a Rogue State.”

Many democracies maintain capital punishment, not the least being India and Japan. The death penalty was abolished in Europe and Euro-centric countries because the European Union made abolition an absolute prerequisite to membership.

Polls of most western European counties show the people of those nations agree with most Americans that the death penalty is appropriate in the worst murders. 

Even some of the states that abolished capital punishment still reserve it as a possibility for war crimes or crimes against humanity, such as the execution of Nazi war criminals during the Nuremberg Trials in the late 1940s.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: “The Death Penalty Makes Too Many Mistakes.”

We know that many innocent people have been sent to death row - over 125 have now been released from death row in the U.S. due to evidence of their wrongful convictions. The death penalty is also riddled with racial and economic bias and geographical arbitrariness.   

JOSHUA MARQUIS, District Attorney, Media Commentator: “Innocence on Death Row Rarer than Rabies.”

In discussing capital punishment, words matter. But the idea that death row is "riddled" with innocents is ridiculous.

There is not a single case in the modern era of capital punishment (since 1976) where a person executed has turned out to be factually innocent. There have been 5 people freed from death row because of DNA evidence and 9 more who had ALREADY had their death sentence removed who were later cleared by DNA. Of the approximately 10,000 sentenced to death in the U.S. since 1976 perhaps 30 of them were actually innocent. 

The larger question is how many innocent people will die because we fail to incarerate or execute killers. Cass Sunstein of the University of Chicago Law School - a well known "progressive" - makes the case best in "Is Capital Punishment Morally Required, A Life for Life Trade-off."

Sunstein refers to a series of studies (http://www.cjlf.org/deathpenalty/DPDeterrence.htm ) that show that failure to condemn killers results in an unacceptable number of new victims.

 

Parting Thoughts A Just Punishment (Oregon State Bar Bulletin — MAY 2002) - One need not practice criminal law to recognize that even in a crime as bad as murder, these are particularly horrific and are denominated as aggravated murder under Oregon law.

Parting Thoughts A Just Punishment (Oregon State Bar Bulletin — MAY 2002) - Far from signaling ambivalence, these lengthy delays and retrials bear witness to the extreme care given to the most extreme penalty. The death penalty is seldom sought by Oregon prosecutors and even more rarely imposed by juries. It is properly reserved for the worst of the worst. Oregonians understand that there exist some crimes so unspeakable, some men so evil, that a just punishment is the forfeiture of the killer's own life.

The Myth Of Innocence published in the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology - March 31, 2005 Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, Illinois - In the last ten years the violent crime rate in America, including the murder rate, has decreased dramatically. A series of recent studies by economists showed an undeniable correlation between the death penalty and deterrence.
The Myth Of Innocence published in the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology - March 31, 2005 Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, Illinois - Some claim that a civilized society must be prepared to allow ten guilty men to walk free in order to spare one innocent. But the well-organized and even better-funded abolitionists cannot point to a single case of a demonstrably innocent person executed in the modem era of American capital punishment.
The Myth Of Innocence published in the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology - March 31, 2005 Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, Illinois - Instead, let's tally the additional victims of the freed: Nine, killed by Kenneth McDuff, who had been sentenced to die for child murder in Texas and then was freed on parole after the death penalty laws at the time were overturned. One, by Robert Massie of California, also sentenced to die and also paroled. Massie rewarded the man who gave him a job on parole by murdering him less than a year after getting out of prison. One, by Richard Marquette, in Oregon, sentenced to "life" (which until 1994 meant about eight years in Oregon) for abducting and then dismembering women.137 he did so well in a woman-free environment (prison) that he was released-only to abduct, kill and dismember women again.138 Two, by Carl Cletus Bowles, in Idaho, guilty of kidnapping nine people and the murder of a police officer. Bowles escaped during a conjugal visit with a girlfriend, only to abduct and murder an elderly couple.

The victims of these men didn't have "close calls" with death. They are dead. Murdered. Without saying goodbye to their loved ones. Without appeal to the state or the media or Hollywood or anyone's heartstrings.

The Myth Of Innocence published in the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology - March 31, 2005 Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, Illinois – Discouraged over polls that have consistently shown public support for capital punishment between sixty-five and eighty-five percent over the last quarter century,140 proponents of the death penalty have decided to tap into an understandable horror that people who are truly innocent of the murder of which they stand convicted are on death row. They are turning into doe eyed innocents the few murderers who have slipped through one of the countless cracks in the law afforded to capital defendants. They want us to believe that any one of us could be snatched at any time from our daily freedoms and sentenced to die because of a false and coerced confession, police corruption, faulty eyewitness identification, botched forensics, prosecutorial misconduct, and shoddy and ill-paid defense counsel.

The Myth Of Innocence published in the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology - March 31, 2005 Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, Illinois - For those who believe that no rate of error is acceptable, the death penalty can never be "reformed" sufficiently, despite the claims that they are seeking only to insure a fairer system. Yet these same advocates urge the substitution of life without parole, claiming (as is sometimes true) that many inmates consider a life sentence to be worse than execution. Peel back the layers of this reckoning and you'll find these advocates claiming that it is just as horrible to threaten to take away the remaining days of a murderer's life, and therefore we must abolish all long prison sentences as well as the death penalty. In a debate at the American Bar Association's annual convention in Chicago in 2001, I confronted Nadine Strossen of the American Civil Liberties Union on that very question. I asked her, if I would-for the sake of argument-abandon my support for capital punishment, would she, on behalf of the ACLU, affirm her support for sentences of life without possibility of parole? She honestly responded that she could not; that it was an ever-changing political and moral environment. And therein lies the dilemma. If there are people so dangerous, so evil that that they can never be trusted to walk among us, how will we answer to their next victims? What level of risk are the j abolitionists willing to accept for those who will die at the hands of a McDuff, a Marquette, or a Massie?

The Myth Of Innocence published in the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology - March 31, 2005 Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, Illinois - The number of death sentences is, in fact, decreasing. Criminal sentences for crimes other than murder have become tougher, terms of imprisonment more certain, and perhaps more significantly, the rate of murder is down overall. Prosecutors and juries are properly and appropriately becoming even more discriminating about determining who should die for their crimes. It is a journey not taken lightly.

Likewise, casting the accused as true innocents caught up by a corrupt and uncaring system only discredits a movement that has legitimate moral arguments. Nothing excuses making the victims nameless and faceless, making martyrs out of murderers, and turning killers into victims.

The Myth Of Innocence published in the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology - March 31, 2005 Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, Illinois - Some may wonder why it should matter if the number of people who were genuinely exonerated is 30 or 150. Many will claim that even one innocent person put to death is an intolerable number, but those who make that argument are demanding an impossibility-a perfect system. Such errors are episodic, not epidemic, and merit the most rigorous review, precisely as occurs in 21st century capital jurisprudence.

But if one of the primary engines in the debate over capital punishment is that wrongful capital convictions are rampant, then the devil is very much in the details. To call a man with blood on his hands innocent stains not only the truth, but calls into question the actual innocence of the fewer number who are truly exonerated.


The Myth Of Innocence published in the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology - March 31, 2005 Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, Illinois - In a subject as emotionally charged as the death penalty these claims must be made precisely-by all sides. Intellectual honesty is a critical ingredient to a meaningful discussion of this important subject. Death penalty opponents risk losing their credibility when they are reckless with the truth.

American justice is a work in progress, and those of us charged with administering it are well aware that it needs constant improvement. But nothing is gained by deluding the public into believing that the police and prosecutors are trying to send innocent people to prison. Any experienced defense lawyer will concede that he would starve if he accepted only "innocent" clients. Americans should be far more worried about the wrongfully freed than the wrongfully convicted. - The Innocent and the Shammed January 26, 2006

He's a murderer. He should die. December 4, 2005 Los Angeles Times - There are heartfelt moral and religious reasons to oppose capital punishment, but holding up Stanley Tookie Williams as a symbol of redemption is absurd and obscene. It is especially offensive to his victims' families, whose names the celebrities championing his cause probably don't know. News coverage rarely mentions Albert Owens or the Yang family, all gunned down by Williams in a series of crimes in 1979. The Crips' reputed co-founder also bears moral responsibility for the deaths of countless young black men.

He's a murderer. He should die. December 4, 2005 Los Angeles Times - According to a Gallup poll in May, nearly 75% of Americans support capital punishment for murderers. There are some murderers so heinous and so evil that removing them is the measure of the severity of their violation of the social contract. Williams qualifies.

Thursday 9 June 2011 - Clatsop County Attorney Josh Marquis, a death penalty proponent who has prosecuted two capital cases, said capital punishment is an important tool for prosecutors. The threat of a death sentence helps prosecutors secure plea bargains for life without parole, he said, and Oregon hasn't had a history of imposing the death penalty on innocent people.

"It is rarely asked for, it is rarely used and it is rarely imposed," Marquis said.

Sunday 9 October 2011 - Efforts aimed at persuading Oregonians to dump the death penalty are doomed to fail, according to proponents of capital punishment.

As they tell it, nothing has changed since 2002, when death penalty opponents shut down a proposed ballot measure to abolish capital punishment after polling showed it would not pass.

"Polls show that between 65 and 85 percent of Oregonians support capital punishment," said Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis, a death penalty proponent and author on the topic.

A quiet majority favoring the death penalty lacks the "fevered" intensity of those who want to abolish it, Marquis said.

"The zealousness on one side is not matched by the zealousness on the other," he said. "I know there are some crazy people that show up at the pen when there's an execution and wave signs saying 'roast in hell' and 'burn baby burn,' stuff like that. But most people who are pro death penalty are somewhat ambivalent about it because it's very serious business."

Kitzhaber allowed the executions of Wright and Moore to occur in 1996 and 1997 during his previous administration.

Marquis thinks Kitzhaber should take the same non-intervention stance with Haugen.

"When Mr. Wright and Mr. Moore came up, his position was, 'Look, this is the law, and I'm not going to interfere in it, absent of a tremendous injustice'," he said. "Well, the only injustice that the opponents can point to (in Haugen's case) is, they don't like the death penalty."

"I don't think Oregon voters voted for it because they thought it would save them money," said Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis, a proponent of the death penalty.

He says the money argument doesn't really wash when criminals convicted to life in prison don't fight any less than those facing execution.

"They still have expensive $300,000 trials, and they still appeal," Marquis said. In fact, they will appeal forever just like the people on death row." [Wednesday 23 November 2011]

The unique intersection of democracy and justice that is the death penalty must be respected. [Column: Governor should uphold law By JOSH MARQUIS for the Daily Astorian | Posted: Thursday, December 8, 2011 10:30 am]

Some claim life without parole is an adequate substitute. What they fail to note are the people, both inside and outside prison, who die at the hands of convicted murderers. Nor do they seem to comprehend that the only reason many terrible murders are resolved with a plea to a "true life sentence" is the specter of a possible death sentence. [For select few, death is just 11 December 2005]

Opponents claim the death penalty is arbitrary. So is homicide. Thus, each case must be examined individually, first by a prosecutor, then by a jury in two phases, then by more than a decade (on average) of appeals. [For select few, death is just 11 December 2005]

We all agree: 10 guilty men should go free to prevent one innocent from being wrongly convicted. But how about 10,000 guilty, or 100,000, going free? How many victims become too many? What do we say to the victims of killers like Kenneth McDuff, Robert Massie or Carl Cletus Bowles, all murderers doing life who got out and killed again? [For select few, death is just 11 December 2005]

Maybe someday we can start having an honest debate in this country over the morality of capital punishment rather than constantly refuting the chimera of the wrongfully convicted. [Guilty Again! Sunday 15 January 2006]


Even according to Barry Scheck's Innocence Project there have only been 174 DNA exonerations for ALL crimes, more than 90% of which were not murder, let alone death penalty cases. In fact, the number of inmates taken off death row specifically because DNA cleared them is....FIVE. An additional nine inmates who were once on death row were eventually fully exonerated by DNA evidence. Some might say, 14 or 140, it doesn't make a difference. That makes as much sense as being told you have a 1% mortality risk from a surgical procedure versus a 10% risk. [How many innocent victims is “a few”? Tuesday 14 March 2006]

Joshua Marquis (born 1952) is an attorney and politician from Astoria, Oregon in the United States. He has served as District Attorney for Clatsop County since 1994. He frequently writes and speaks about capital punishment. He is known for his belief that the death penalty is justified in some cases. He is often quoted as a spokesperson on behalf of the National District Attorneys Association.

“A two and a half-year-old girl was kidnapped, raped, sodomized, tortured and mutilated with vise grips over six hours. Then she was strangled to death. Her assailant, Theodore Frank, according to court records and his own admissions, had already molested more than 100 children during a 20-year period. A sentence of death is the only appropriate punishment for such a serial assailant committing such an extraordinarily heinous crime.”

“In our understandable desire to be fair and to protect the rights of offenders in our criminal justice system, let us never ignore or minimize the rights of their victims. The death penalty is a necessary tool that reaffirms the sanctity of human life while assuring that convicted killers will never again prey upon others.”

Michael D. Bradbury is the Former Ventura County District Attorney.

Do you support the death penalty? Why or why not?

I took an oath to uphold the laws of the State of Washington, which includes due consideration of the death penalty option in the appropriate aggravated first degree murder case. There are extreme cases when a jury should have this option.

"Cal Brown's sadistic and predatory crimes rank him among the worst of the worst criminals in our state, and there can be no doubt about his guilt," King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said in a statement. "If we are serious about having a death penalty in the State of Washington then it is time to carry out the sentence."

Thursday 1 September 2011 - Satterberg currently is prosecuting two death penalty cases, one involving the murders of six members of a family and the other a murder of a Seattle police officer. Neither case has gone to trial, yet the cost of defending them has hit $4.3 million and keeps going up. Because all three defendants are indigent, that cost is born by taxpayers. Budget shortfalls have forced Satterberg to cut his department by 51 employees including 36 deputy prosecutors.

Nationwide, death penalty sentences have dropped 60 percent since 2000 from 224 to 112 last year. Experts say there are several factors including more skeptical juries, better defense teams and fewer death sentences being sought by district attorneys.

Satterberg blames what he calls the death penalty "industry." 

“They want to drive up the cost,” Satterberg says, “They want to delay the cases forever, only to turn around and use those arguments why we should get rid of the death penalty.” 

Dan Satterberg A.K.A Daniel T. Satterberg is currently King County Prosecuting Attorney, an office he has held since 2007. He is a member of the Republican Party. Satterberg attended Highline High School and graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in Political Science. During his undergraduate education at the University of Washington, Dan Satterberg pledged Delta Upsilon Fraternity (Washington Chapter), class of 1982. He went on to receive the J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law, following which he began work in the King County Prosecutor's office. There he spent four years as a trial attorney in the Criminal Division before serving as Chief of Staff to then-Prosecutor Norm Maleng from 1990 to 2007.In May 2007 King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng unexpectedly died of a heart attack. Satterberg was appointed by the King County Council to fill the position until a special election was held in November 2007. That November, Satterberg was elected to fill the remaining three years of Maleng's term. He subsequently won election to a full four-year term in 2010. A Republican, Satterberg has called for the King County Charter to be amended to make the office of Prosecutor nominally non-partisan. Since 2008 Satterberg has served on the State of Washington Sentencing Guidelines Commission under appointment by Governor Christine Gregoire. He is the co-chairman, along with Washington Attorney-General Rob McKenna, of the Washington Law Enforcement Group Against Identity Theft (LEGIT), a quasi-governmental organization that seeks to raise awareness about consumer data privacy issues in Washington.

"It was pretty obvious he committed the crime," said Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed, who prosecuted the case and also witnessed the punishment. "He went on a killing spree. He's an evil person." [Referring to the execution of Frank Garcia on Thursday 27 October 2011] 

Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed, who prosecuted the case, attended the execution in Huntsville, Texas, according to a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Earlier in the week, she called the murders "a huge tragedy."

"If there was ever a poster child for the death penalty, this is the case," Reed told Reuters. "Hector Garza, a fine officer; Jessica Garcia, a woman who is trying to leave an abusive situation, and this huge tragedy happens to all of them." [Referring to the execution of Frank Garcia on Thursday 27 October 2011] 

Susan D. Reed is the Criminal District Attorney of Bexar County, Texas. She is a member of the Republican Party. Reed was elected District Attorney of Bexar County (San Antonio) in 1998, becoming the first woman to hold the office. She served as Judge of the 144th District Court (San Antonio) from 1986 to 1998. She served as an Assistant District Attorney for Bexar County from 1974 to 1982, including duties as chief prosecutor for court districts 144 and 187. Reed was in private practice from 1982 to 1986, with the firm Soules and Reed, specializing in business litigation. During her tenure as a 144th District Court Judge, she helped create a "Gang Unit" in the Adult Probation department. As Bexar County District Attorney, she has created a new "Elder Fraud Unit" and successfully lobbied the Texas Legislature to increase penalties for crimes against the elderly. Reed is a member of the National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women. She was appointed to the Criminal Justice Policy Council for Governor Bill Clements. Later, Governor George W. Bush appointed her to serve on the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Board. She continues to serve on that board under Governor Rick Perry.

Referring to the upcoming execution of Oba Chandler  on Friday 11 November 2011 - It will be the first time Bartlett, the chief assistant state attorney for Pinellas and Pasco counties, has watched a man die at the hands of the state.

"I really have no compunction or reservations in seeing this guy executed," Bartlett says. "If Florida is going to have a death penalty, this individual is the poster child for having it.”

Bartlett said this is a part of the criminal justice system he's never experienced. He has a professional curiosity to see how it's done — and to see this particular sentence carried out.

"I don't take any pleasure in seeing someone take their last breath," Bartlett said. "But this particular individual, I don't have any reservations about. He has shown throughout this entire process that he has no remorse for the family. He hasn't provided any additional information about how this happened. It's been complete and total denial."

Wednesday 4 January 2012 - The announcement of Waterhouse's death warrant was welcome news for Bruce Bartlett, Pinellas-Pasco chief assistant state attorney. Bartlett helped secure a second death sentence for Waterhouse after the Florida Supreme Court tossed his original death sentence.

"He definitely ranks among some of the most notorious murderers that we had in Pinellas County during that time," Bartlett said. "I'm glad to see the governor moving forward with this."

Bruce Bartlett is the chief assistant and No. 2 official at the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office in Florida. Bruce Bartlett has seen a lot of murders in his 33 years as a prosecutor.

The states’ attorneys say the move would rob them of an important bargaining chip — the threat of death to get guilty pleas from suspects who opt for life in prison.

Take that off the table, they say, and there’ll be more trials because defendants facing only the prospect of life behind bars would be less inclined to deal.

“When we go to battle in the most serious, heinous cases, we have to have every weapon available to us,” said Thomas Gibbons, the state’s attorney in southwestern Illinois’ Madison County. “Let’s say you’re playing cards and you lose your ace — you’re one step behind.”

 

Thomas Gibbons was appointed to the position by Chairman Alan Dunstan and the unanimous vote of the Madison County Board on November 17, 2010 to fill out the remaining 2-year term of State's Attorney William A. Mudge who was elected Circuit Judge in the November 2010 election. He will serve until the November 2012 General Election. In 1998, Gibbons, a native of Edwardsville, was hired by the State's Attorney's Office upon graduation from St. Louis University Law School. While a full-time Assistant State's Attorney, he was promoted to Chief of the Misdemeanor and Traffic Division and was active in the development of the Domestic Violence Court. Gibbons left the office in 2001 to pursue a career in the private sector, but returned in 2004 as a part-time Assistant State's Attorney where carried a felony caseload while being responsible for the traffic and misdemeanor docket in Granite City. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree and Juris Doctor from St. Louis University, he pursued a Masters in Public Administration at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, graduating in 2003. He is a member of the Third Judicial Circuit Family Violence Prevention Council and has served as a volunteer with the Madison County Juvenile Diversion Program and the Glen-Ed Food Pantry. Gibbons was also a member of the Metro-East Auto Theft Task Force and the Regional Computer Crimes Enforcement Group. In addition to his work as a prosecutor, Gibbons served as Guardian ad Litem for minors and disabled adults in guardianship, child custody, accident and wrongful death cases. He is a certified arbitrator in the 3rd Judicial Circuit.

On seeking the death penalty for the murderers of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom


“These weren't just murders," prosecutor Leland Price said. "These crimes cry out for the maximum penalty. Give us justice."

 

Leland Price is a prosecutor in Knoxville, Tennessee

"I can still see the picture of that little girl in the field," said Catherine Babbitt, chief of the Bexar County district attorney's family justice division, who helped prosecute the case. "Murder is horrible anytime. Not only did we have a murder of a child, but a murder and a rape of a child. It was particularly horrific." [Referring to the execution of Guadalupe Esparza on 16 November 2011]

Catherine Babbitt has over twenty years of experience in criminal prosecution. She currently oversees the Family Justice & Victim Protection Division, which handles all cases of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence in Bexar County, Texas. Ms. Babbitt has been a faculty member for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas, United States District Court, Western District of Texas, and Texas District and Attorneys Association. Ms. Babbitt completed her academic training at Wells College - Aurora, New York (BA, 1984), and St. Mary's University School of Law - San Antonio, Texas (JD, 1987). She is a frequent lecturer for the Rape Crisis Center, the Alamo Area Council of Government, numerous law enforcement agencies, and for local schools.
Marion County District Attorney Walt Beglau, whose office prosecuted Haugen and a co-defendant in the 2003 killing of inmate David Polin at the Oregon State Penitentiary, said counties with prison populations see the death penalty as a valuable deterrent in preventing crime within the prison walls.

"Someone doing a life sentence or the equivalent really isn't threatened by (another) life sentence" as punishment for a prison murder, he said.

Walt Beglau A.K.A Walter M. Beglau was appointed Marion County District Attorney in October 2004. He is also the 2011 President of the Oregon District Attorneys Association.  

Tuesday 8 March 2011: In the words of Kane, when asked by state Rep. Gary A. Holder-Winfield, D-New Haven, what he considered the value of the death penalty, "There are crimes … which are so horrendous that the public has the right to have us as prosecutors seek the highest penalty that the law permits.

"I think, with regard to human beings being on the face of the earth, there was a substantial amount of our life over the years where a death penalty was probably necessary for the survival of civilization," Kane added.

Kevin T. Kane is the seventh person to hold the title of Chief State’s Attorney since the position was established in 1973. His appointment by the Criminal Justice Commission was effective September 5, 2006. As Chief State's Attorney, Mr. Kane is the administrative head of the Division of Criminal Justice, the independent agency of the executive branch of state government that is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of all criminal matters in the State of Connecticut. The Division includes the offices of the State’s Attorney for each of the thirteen Judicial Districts in the State of Connecticut and the Office of the Chief State's Attorney in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. Attorney Kane joined the Division of Criminal Justice as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the former 9th Circuit in Middletown in August 1972 and was promoted to Prosecuting Attorney in the fall of 1973. He transferred to the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney in November 1978 where he served as the Unit Chief of the former Special Investigations Unit. In 1986 he transferred to the Office of the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of New London. He was promoted to Senior Assistant State’s Attorney in 1988 and Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney in 1990. He was appointed by the Criminal Justice Commission as State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of New London effective January 4, 1995, and served as State’s Attorney until he assumed the position of Chief State’s Attorney. Chief State's Attorney Kane earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Connecticut School of Law.