Former Oregon Chief Justice Edwin J. Peterson has written an editorial in which he comes out against the death penalty. Justice Peterson was a former supporter of the death penalty, having voted for its legality in 1978 and 1984. However, he recently had a change of heart after reviewing the fairness of the process. Now, he calls the entire system “Dickensian” and supports its repeal. As a Portland Criminal Defense Attorney, it is good to see such a respected jurist as Justice Peterson stand up against this archaic punishment.
Portland Criminal Defense Attorney on Problems with the Process
Justice Peterson identifies three main reasons why he feels the death penalty should be repealed in Oregon:
- It is unworkable.
- It is expensive.
- It is unfair.
Because Oregon allows for so many appeals to be filed by a Portland Criminal Defense Attorney, the state has not actually executed anyone against their will since the death penalty was reinstated (it has executed two people who voluntarily submitted to the punishment after dropping their appeals). He points to the case of Randy Guzek, who has been on death row since 1988. Due to procedural problems, he had to be retried four times. Now, he sits on death row 25 years later and is still on the first of his nine appeals.
All of these appeals make a death penalty conviction expensive for the state. Estimates show that it costs Oregon approximately $10 million to try someone in a death penalty case, significantly more than sentencing someone to life without the possibility of parole. And because prosecutors have wide discretion in choosing a sentence, it can lead to disparate punishments for the same crime.
The Portland Criminal Defense Attorneys or Corbridge & Kroll agree with Justice Peterson and feel capital punishment should be overturned. Hopefully, Oregon will join the 18 other states who have repealed the death penalty.