In Michigan, John D. White murdered a 26-year old woman and spent 12 years in jail. He came out and became a pastor. He murdered his fiancÃ©eâ€™s 24-year old daughter Rebekah Gay, stripped her, and dumped her body.
People of California have a referendum on Proposition 34 which is about retention of death penalty. Around 260 murderers face death penalty in California. Some groups are canvassing for abolition of death penalty. Some are in favour of death penalty. It is sad that Catholic bishops favour abolition.
People of California should learn lessons from Mexico which did away with death penalty. Murders take place openly without any fear. That has led to rival gangs engaging in shootouts anywhere, anytime. Policepersons are not safe. Priests, teachers and many others are murdered at random. California should imitate Texas which executed around 254 persons in 11 years. Texasâ€™ Governor Rick Perry earned applause for his statement that he does not lose sleep over people executed.
India needs judicial reforms. Cases drag on for years from lower courts to Sessions Courts to High Courts to Supreme Court. Adjournments and stay orders delay justice. Appeals are allowed long after the expiry of the period granted for appeal. Cases decided by arbitration are appealed in High Courts. There are various tribunals whose judgments can be appealed.
Cases of murder, rape, abduction, hijacking and such high crimes must be tried by a court having three judges and the decision should be first and last. There should be no appeal, only mercy petition in case there is punishment. Minor crimes may be tried by one judge. Civil matters may be tried by one judge or three judges depending on the amount involved and there should be no appeal.
Vatican officials oppose death penalty in disregard to church tradition. That has influence on other bishops. One official went so far as to say people who want death penalty for murder are like those who shouted â€œKill him.â€ about Jesus in front of Pilate. The official could not have been more wrong.
Tamil Nadu is a fit case for imposition of Presidentâ€™s Rule as it is not run as per constitution and its Legislative Assembly passed a resolution asking for mercy to criminals whose petitions had been rejected by the President. Omar Abdullah was right in questioning whether the reaction would have been as muted if Jammu & Kashmir had passed a similar resolution in favour of Afzal Guru. In that case BJP and many other parties would have gone ballistic. There is hypocrisy in Tamil Nadu. Some years back Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly had passed a resolution favouring death penalty for the criminals. Parties headed by Karunanidhi and Vaiko were part of NDA which rejected mercy petitions. Ram Jethmalani was member of BJP and did not oppose death penalty then. Madras High Court should not have entertained the petitions and stayed the executions for eight weeks and when that happened Supreme Court should have intervened and vacated the stay. If waiting for death penalty is cruel why extend it by eight weeks? That shows the falsehood of the claim that waiting for death penalty is cruel and an excuse to get death penalty commuted to life imprisonment. What happens in India puts banana republics to shame and there should be a new phrase to describe India.
In one James Bond film it is said: Once can be happenstance. Twice can be coincidence. Thrice or more enemy is at work. On NDTV 24×7â€™s Left Right and Centre on three days Nidhi Razdan asked the question: Is death penalty a deterrent? She implied it was not. My answer is â€œYesâ€.
First time Nidhi Razdan asked the question with regard to remarks by Justice Markandeya Katju about policemen who kill in fake encounters. He had said â€œSuch policemen should be hanged. It is nothing but cold-blooded brutal murder, and yes, police personnel responsible should be hanged.â€ The discussion turned around fake encounters. Y. P. Singh said policemen do a noble job in an unethical way. It is a political call to control crime. The government of the day asks police to finish criminals. When there were gang wars in Bombay encounters took place and criminals disappeared.
There are people who say Lokpal Bill targets corruption at top and does not make any difference to corruption at bottom. They do not know corruption at bottom is very often due to corruption at top.
A home minister takes four crore rupees as bribe to appoint a police officer as commissioner. The commissioner recovers that money from his juniors who in turn recover money from their juniors and so it reaches the level of constable. This also results in criminals going scot-free due to acts of commission and omission by police.
A chairman of a Public Service Commission takes 75 lakh rupees as bribe to appoint DSPs and judges. They recover it from their juniors and others.
Sometime back California bishops had opposed death penalty. Now Ohio bishops oppose death penalty.
Do Ohio bishops want Ohio to end up like Mexico? Why bishops ignore the dangers of not having death penalty? The bishops have eyes but they do not see. They have ears but do not hear. Death penalty is according to the tradition of the church. Christianity is not opposed to death penalty.
Pope Benedict XVI may be opposed to death penalty but sometimes popes have been wrong. One pope was declared a heretic in 681.
On 25/1/2011, Yashwant Sonawane, Additional District Collector of Malegaon, was burnt to death by oil mafia criminals in Panewadi, near Manmad in Nashik District. The death could have been avoided if India had death penalty for every murder and had hanged all who were sentenced to death. Every death penalty prevents three to eighteen murders as proved in an article in Newsweek some years back.
There are evil people who call themselves human rights activists and oppose death penalty. For them murderers are human beings, victims are not.
Judgments in cases of Priyadarshini Mattoo and Pratibha have raised questions about what is a rarest of rare case. Supreme Court in 1980 restricted death penalty to rarest of rare cases. It usurped the function of legislature.
The government must act and bring a law that makes death penalty mandatory in all cases of murder, attempted murder, abduction, hijacking, kidnapping and other such high crimes.
In Priyadarshiniâ€™s cases the criminal had committed house breaking, rape and murder. High Court had awarded death penalty. Supreme Court reduced it life imprisonment. As Adiya Nath Kaul said on CNN-IBN on 8/10/2010 life sentence in India is a joke. He gave the example of Manu Sharma.