On The Prayer List today is a request from our good friend,
Jane R, that we should pray for Marty Link who is scheduled to be executed in the next twenty four hours. Marty's crime was the worst imaginable. He kidnapped, raped and murdered a young girl.

Although, philosophically, I disagree with the death penalty in all cases, I can understand why some people believe it to be a just punishment for crimes such as the one Marty committed. However, I think it is obscene to lock someone up for twenty years (as in this case) and then execute them. That is torture and torture should have no place in any nation's legal system.



  1. One of my UU friends is very active in fighting the death penalty. She was married to a death row inmate (who died from an untreated – at his request – brain tumor, not at the hands of the state as it turned out). She, like Joe, is very staunchly against the death penalty no matter the crime that has been committed.

    I don’t know her reasons for being anti-death penalty, but I know Joe’s reason: it’s too easy to condemn and eventually kill the wrong person, and if that ever happens, what can the state to do fix the fact that they killed an innocent person? There are too many factors that can go wrong that puts the wrong person on the gurney or strapped into Old Sparky (the name of the electric chair up in the federal pen in Starke, FL).

    Given Joe’s very checkered past, I sometimes think he might even think “that could be me on that gurney/in that chair”.

    I wrestle with the idea of the death penalty. If it was my kid someone had raped and murdered, I’d likely go to the chair myself for killing them with my own two hands. :sigh:

  2. It’s totally understandable to want a perpetrator to pay with his or her life. Look at the Psalms. I, too, assume I would want this man dead if his victim were my child. It wouldn’t make me right, but it’s understandable. In the cold light of day, I think the death penalty encourages us to act on a belief that violence is a good answer to conflict.

  3. I know of no other country that still has the death penalty which prolongs the process from conviction to execution to such torturous extremes.

    Also, the costs involved in the process must be astronomical. The money would be far better spent on redemptive acts rather than destructive, judicial ones. The lawyers involved in such cases must be laughing all the way to the electric chair.

  4. The money would be far better spent on redemptive acts rather than destructive, judicial ones.

    There are in fact some who argue this about the prison system altogether. I agree with you about the torturous extremes. My understanding is that the length of the process is intended to offer innocent individuals a chance who are wrongly convicted a chance to have their conviction overturned (though I could be wrong about that), but in practice all it does is make life hell for years on end.

    Lois, I like your comment.

  5. There is an appeal process involved in the death penalty in the USA. The length of time is often due to the manner in which the convict’s attorneys draw out the time frames in the system specifically to lengthen the life of the convict. The so-called torturous time frames would often be the fault if the defense attorneys milking the system.

    It is my understanding that the system has been modified to shorten how long defense attorneys can draw out those time frames.

    I am not against the death penalty per say. I am concerned that the system is not foolproof. I also find it unconscionable that there would be those who deny a convicted person the opportunity to prove their innocence up to the moment of execution because of some misguided need for respect for the system! If there is a chance that DNA evidence available today could exonerate someone, then by all means test it, regardless of what it may say about a conviction process or the personalities involved at a time when DNA testing was not available.

    Tracy, Old Sparky is housed in a Florida State prison, it is Florida law that allows electrocution as a form of capital punishment in Florida, not federal law.

  6. The urge for personal revenge is perfectly human…

    …it’s also what our civil states evolved to prevent (Wanna live in a vendetta society? I don’t!)

    It boggles my mind, I confess, that someone could actually sanely WANT to turn a living, breathing human being into a corpse. What does this accomplish? To have two corpses where (assuming the condemned had murdered) there was previously one?

    I suspect that that the pro-death-penalty mindset tracks, like much of social conservatism, to a hightened fear-based response [Conversely, one could say anti-death-penalty/liberalism, results from a fear-resistant response. Obviously, whether one thinks that’s a good or bad thing, I can’t say (unbiased!).]

    I offer prayers for all of those on death row . . . and, all the crime victims that the condemned are, rightly or wrongly, convicted of killing.

  7. I am against the death penalty. That said, it is precisely the defenses that have drawn out these cases. The defenses are notorious for making serial appeals to prolong the process.

    In the Federal system, Congress finally changed the rules so that all the appeals have to bundled into one case and that has cut the time dramatically.

    As bad as I think the idea of a death penalty is, the delay is not all that torturous, the prisoners prefer it to the trip to the death chamber.

    In no way does that make the death penalty OK. It does not. We do not have to do this and it is simple anger not justice that keeps us doing it. That is wrong.


  8. I don’t believe in the death penalty, but I do believe in the sentence of life without possibility of parole which I think should have been the sentence. In this man’s case, it would seem that he needed to be kept in prison forever since he is a serial offender of other alleged rapes and there was damning DNA evidence in the murder case for which he was found guilty. Yes, I know you are speaking about the death penalty in general.

  9. Susan,

    Society has a responsibility to protect the weak. So, yes, of course, life without parole is a legitimate sentence. Killing is simply not necessary.