There is no crime that justifies punishing its perpetrator by condemning them to death and then leaving them to rot on death row for 22 years never knowing if tomorrow will be their last day on earth. But in the United States of America the lone star state of Texas boasts that it is proud of the humane way in which it does this. I wonder if Robert James Campbell agrees?
He committed a dreadful and totally unjustifiable rape and murder when he was 19 years old in 1991 and the ensuing legal appeals and counter appeals dragged on and on leaving him not just to contemplate his horrific crime, but also to wonder if he would die the next day or maybe not for another week. Yesterday he was told he had only a couple of hours to live. Then an appeal trio of judges told him he could live for a bit longer after all. How long? Well that would be asking for too much.
How on earth can a civilised country justify doing that to anybody? The crime he committed did not give the state the right to torture him in the way it has for more than half his life. Federal law could be amended to put a limit on the time a convicted murderer can stay on death row, three months I would suggest. After that he should be told he will spend the rest of his life in prison. At least that way he would know his future. I cannot imagine what the relatives of the poor girl who was killed are going through today, knowing that because justice had to be done for one crime which took the life of a member of their family, a man had to die a thousand times to satisfy a series of spurious points of law.
I only hope this case prompts President Obama to introduce such an amendment because if he does not then he will go down in history as the President who failed every US citizen by allowing them to continue to live in the most legally cruel society in the world. It would, naturally, be preferable if the death sentence was abolished throughout the whole of the US Federal Republic. But that is probably hoping for too much. But we can still pray for it.