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Siding with criminals rather than victims

| March 13, 2008 12:00 AM

To the Editor:

I am quite puzzled by the authority given the president and state governors to pardon convicted felons. The justification for this seems to be that there have been cases where some of those incarcerated were later found innocent of the crimes they were convicted for. But there are also cases where some of these pardoned criminals confirmed their guilt by committing horrific crimes when released into society. The most recent example that comes to mind being a convicted felon on death row pardoned by Gov. Mike Huckabee. This “model citizen” committed murder almost immediately after being pardoned.

I think it is necessary to accept the fact that our justice system is not perfect. It is however, arguably the best in the world. Those convicted of crimes are given a protracted legal process involving evidence, witnesses, legal counsel, and in some cases, appeal review. I find it absurd that this process can be overturned because an elected president or governor happens to disagree with the verdict. Why should the judgment of one individual carry more weight than the collective judgment of the entire judicial system?

I am more concerned when a suspect, known to have committed the crime, is released due to a technicality before the legal process can be completed. It seems to me we are overly concerned with the rights and welfare of criminals and somewhat oblivious to the plight of the victims of crimes.

We have made the environment of the incarcerated so comfortable many criminals prefer life on the inside of prison to life on the outside. We agonize over whether a death penalty is carried out in a human way, or if the death penalty is too harsh even for serial killers.

Our entire justice system is being undermined by sentiment. Isn't it time to return to a system of law and rely less on emotion?

William Payne

Libby