The Week’s Eric Pfeiffer covered the growing conservative opposition to the death penalty and interviewed death row exoneree, Ray Krone, and myself for his article. Pfeiffer wrote,
Their outreach specialist is a man named Marc Hyden, a former campaign field representative for the National Rifle Association who argues that opposing capital punishment is a natural philosophical fit for tough-minded conservatives.
“Point to a single government program that works flawlessly. Death penalty supporters have to accept that it’s a human-run program and so my question is, how many innocent people are you willing to execute?” Hyden told me.
The fallibility of government is just one of several strategic points from which Hyden and his conservative constituency come at capital punishment. They are also quick to point out that putting someone to death is far more expensive than simply keeping them in prison. Then there’s the empirical data challenging whether the threat of execution is truly a disincentive for would-be criminals. Some anecdotal accounts challenge whether families of victims benefit in any measurable way from seeing a perpetrator put to death. And for the truly committed pro-life believer, there is the larger philosophical dilemma of whether a God-fearing society should be empowering the state to execute its citizens.
The author also highlighted the real risk of executing an innocent person by describing Ray Krone’s story. The article read,
That brings us to the case of Ray Krone, an early player in state Republican politics before he was wrongfully convicted of murder. In 2002, Krone rose to prominence when he became the 100th U.S. citizen exonerated from death row since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.
“I was in the Boy Scouts and the church choir. I did six years in the Air Force, seven years in the Post Office,” Krone said in a phone interview. “This could be your son, father, neighbor. I didn’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars for a great lawyer and most people facing death row probably don’t either. How many innocent people take a plea bargain?”
Pfeiffer commented on the many conservative leaders who are becoming increasingly vocal against the death penalty. He said,
However, the opposition has a few vocal opponents on the right, including former RNC Chairman Michael Steele and Oliver North. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has expressed his own skepticism
This article was also reprinted in the conservative media outlet Hot Air.