The Death Penalty has been a very hotly debated item for decades. There are various viewpoints both for and against. Some people put forward the argument that if someone is found guilty of taking another persons life they should forfeit their own life. A common rational is cost, it is cheaper to kill someone that keep them in jail for the rest of their natural life. This argument is flawed. The economics behind this argument are flawed. When you consider the costs of the appeal process, it is often more expensive to execute someone than keep them in jail.

An equally common and contentious argument  concerns the morality of imposing the Death Penalty. There have been incidences where due to more modern scientific analysis, using techniques such as DNA analysis that have reversed court decisions. Of course the reversal comes too late if the person has already been executed. It looks good on paper, but does not bring the person back to this Earth.

The third argument revolves around the religious grounds of taking the quantum leap to taking another persons life. It is a complex issue, you must balance the legal options against personal beliefs.

I decided to talk to well known Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer John Contini. As a defense lawyer I was pretty certain that he would be against the Death Penalty. I was however somewhat unprepared for his comments:

Many Christians (along with our Jewish brothers and sisters and people of every faith, for that matter) appear to be getting too personal in their criticism of one another in response to the Casey Anthony case / trial — questioning one another’s faith, over the hotly debated, contentious issue of the death penalty. My thinking on this:

Friends, Christians argue with each other all the time about the death penalty. They cherry pick the Bible to pick the scriptures that seemingly support their side of the issue or position. I happen to not believe in the death penalty, but I don’t question the faith of those who trumpet it or believe in it. I do think that we as believers, however, should advance our position or argument in a more Christ-like manner, never getting personal in our criticism. I recall that Henry Ford may have said, “if two people think alike all the time, one of them is unnecessary.” On a personal level, I agree with what Clarence Darrow (the famous trial lawyer) said in the infamous Leopold and Lobe trial many decades ago: we should respect the sanctity of life more than the killer. If we execute the killer, then we are arguably no better than the killer and arguably just as sociopathic as the killer, valuing life no more than they, acting in that calculating, cold and premeditated fashion, just like the killer, etc. That argument worked with that jury, and I have used it in my own murder trials to beat the death penalty, and yet not all Christians agree with us. It is fair to say that half do not, so I do think that we shouldn’t criticize their faith. I think you’re right when you say that Jesus would no doubt not take the death penalty position, but He also said what He said in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed be the peacemakers,” so let’s all make peace, ok?

I doubt that Casey Anthony will face the death penalty, but I am equally certain that a guilty verdict is in the offing.

I am interested in what the readers have to say

Simon Barrett

John Contini, is a highly experienced, veteran criminal defense attorney, has successfully represented thousands of criminal defendants in Florida and throughout the United States over the past 23 years. Contini, a former Broward County (South Florida) felony trial prosecutor, has defended the criminally accused since 1983. His practice expanded in the last several years to include the areas of personal injury and wrongful death, but Contini is best known for his success in the area of criminal defense, including murder, drug cases, juvenile cases, white collar crimes, sex crimes, and federal criminal defense. He can be found online at JohnContini.com and Danger Road is available at better bookstores everywhere or from Amazon.

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