Back From The Precipice

by digby

I am very glad to see this:

HUNTSVILLE, Texas - Gov. Rick Perry accepted a parole board recommendation Thursday to spare condemned inmate Kenneth Foster, the getaway driver in a 1996 murder who had been scheduled for execution within hours.

The sentence had drawn protests from death penalty opponents because Foster wasn't the actual shooter.

Foster was convicted of murder and sentence to death under Texas' law of parties, which makes non-triggermen equally accountable for a crime. Another condemned man was executed under the same statute earlier this year.

"After carefully considering the facts of this case, along with the recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, I believe the right and just decision is to commute Foster's sentence from the death penalty to life imprisonment," Perry said in a statement.

"I am concerned about Texas law that allowed capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously and it is an issue I think the Legislature should examine."

That law is a moral abomination. There is no doubt that someone who was involved in such a crime should pay a price, but to make it a death penalty crime when he wasn't even armed and didn't know it was happening turns the whole death penalty argument of an eye for and eye on its head. (Not that I agree with an eye for an eye either.)

That the Governor of one of the most bloodthirsty states in the nation and the successor to the the execution-happy George W. Bush, did this -- and issued that statement about the law itself --- means that there is a glimmer of hope that this insanity about expanding the death penalty may have finally hit the wall. Fairly recently there were rumblings of making child molestation and rape capital crimes again.

I'm getting so sick of the state killing and torturing it makes me want to vomit. Too much blood is already being spilled in this world without the government of the United States losing all restraint and morality too. The only message all the bloodletting sends is that Americans are as barbaric as the enemies and criminals from whom we are allegedly protecting ourselves. (Hint: it's not working.)

This is a step back from the brink. Sadly, it happens far too infrequently.

Hats off to James Rucker at ColorofChange and to Sean-Paul Kelly who organized calls to the Governor's office. You can make a difference.