In a Sunday commentary, Thomas E. Viloria argued it is time to end the death penalty in Nevada. Mr. Viloria cites a number of problems with the current system, including that it is unevenly applied — 40 percent of Nevada’s death row inmates are black — and that there are greater costs to prosecute capital cases. Mr. Viloria says our death penalty system is too broken to fix.
But I do not believe our justice system is so crooked that is metes out the death penalty based on the color of your skin. What Mr. Viloria who prosecuted death penalty cases, is not telling us is how thoroughly a death penalty case is reviewed before the state decides to seek such punishment. The death penalty option should always be available for the worst of the worst.
While working at a federal prison, I witnessed an inmate stab another inmate 37 times in the recreation yard. A crowd gathering around the two inmates prevented any of us in the guard towers from taking a shot to end it. The guard on the recreation yard attempted to intervene but was kept away by the knife-wielding murderer. The two inmates involved were both in prison for murder.
Whether a person spends a lifetime incarcerated or receives the death penalty, the victim’s family and friends will never be made whole. What the death penalty does is keep that person from ever murdering again. The current death penalty system is problematic because the appeals process takes too long. Someone convicted of a heinous murder should not be allowed to keep filing appeals that go on for decades. Swift punishment is just punishment. Put a time limit of five years on all appeals.