Monday, February 19, 2007

 

A Tale of Two Mothers

Perhaps this story is more appropriate for Mother's Day than for President's Day, but it is one which needs to be heard, regardless of what day it is. I recently read this article about two mothers ensnared by the death penalty machine, both seeking its repeal in Maryland..

One mother, Carolyn Leming, almost lost a son to execution, convicted of a crime which he didn't commit. Another mother, Vicki Schieber, had a daughter who was brutally raped and murdered. She did not want prosecutors to seek the death penalty in her daughter's case, knowing that the appeals process would only drag out her pain as she relived the horror again and again. Schieber supports a repeal of the death penalty so other families don't experience such prolonged suffering and so that resources, now used for executions, can instead be used to actually help victims. Carolyn Leming is opposed to the death penalty because, in spite of all of his appeals, her son sat on death row for 10 years for something he didn't do.

The story highlights two painful sides of yet another flaw in the death penalty system: without lengthy appeals, innocent people will be executed (and probably still are);and yet, with lengthy appeals, victim's family members are constantly reliving the nightmare while state financial resources are drained. The death penalty did not alleviate the pain of these two women but compounded it. In this system, no one benefits.
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