Reject death penalty SAGINAW NEWS, Letters to the Editor March 23 2004

Editor, The News: I could not agree more with the March 17 editorial calling on state representatives to reject reviving the death penalty in Michigan. Michigan's ancestors showed remarkable intelligence in abolishing the death penalty in 1846. Reviving the death penalty will only cause the brutalization effect the editorial speaks of and bring Michigan much closer to the shameful violent murder rate that we in Texas have forced upon ourselves. Michigan also will certainly be sending innocent people to death row like Darlie Lynn Routier. The jurors who sent Routier to death row told the media that they convicted her because her lawyers could not prove her innocence. One juror, Charlie Samford, came forward about three years after her conviction telling the world that he was pretty sure of Darlie's innocence, but the other jurors told him that he had to be certain of her innocence to acquit her. He now tells the world that he is absolutely certain of her innocence based on evidence that was never shown to the jury. Texas statutes also require "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" for criminal convictions. In death penalty cases that really means jurors have to find a possibility of guilt, and it is possible for some jurors to convict even though they think the defendant is actually innocent. I believe court officials rationalize this kind of criminal behavior and blind themselves to a defendant's innocence because they are playing God when the death penalty is sought. Please do not create the same kind of criminal justice problems in Michigan that we have here in Texas. David K. Kirkpatrick Dallas, Texas --- Source : Saginaw News, Letters to the Editor