Rowland’s Death Penalty Wish

Sometimes a discredited politician says something so idiotic and hypocritical that it takes your breath away. To wit, when former Gov. John Rowland called current Gov. Dannel Malloy a “pathological liar” over the summer.

Now Johnny is back (he’s always back, isn’t he?). In an interview broadcast this morning on Fox 61’s The Real Story, the convicted felon waxed philosophical on the subject of capital punishment in the wake of the conviction of Petit family killer and rapist Joshua Komisarjevsky.

Rowland trotted out the usual talking points about how putting convicted killers to death was a matter of “justice.” Really? Rowland complaining about bringing wrong-doers to justice is a little like Teddy Kennedy complaining that our criminal justice system favors the rich.

To be sure, Rowland isn’t a violent criminal. But only the most ardent of Rowland’s defenders would really insist that “justice” was done when he pleaded guilty to depriving the public of honest service and spent a little more than a year in the pokey.

As Bill Curry has pointed out, there were so many other matters Rowland might have gone to prison for besides the Bantam Lake cottage: the illegal $220 million loan from the Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority to Enron, the sale of his Washington, D.C., condo at an inflated price, the free vacations and travel, or taking bribes in exchange for state contracts. But the plea bargain worked out by Rowland’s lawyer resulted in the state essentially calling it quits on trying to nail Rowland for anything else. So much for “justice.” Ugh.

Now to the substance of Rowland’s remarks. My main objections to capital punishment are twofold. First, I’m no Don Connery but I do have a history of awareness of and advocacy for the wrongfully convicted. If someone such as Falls Village’s Peter Reilly is unjustly convicted and evidence later arises that clears him, then we can always give him his freedom back. Not so if the inmate in executed. Why Rowland insisted that he hasn’t seen “any evidence” of wrongful executions, I do not know. A quick Google search turned up plenty of credible cases.

Secondly, and most importantly, the state should never be in the position of deciding who dies and who lives. When the government gets in the business of murdering its own citizens, we should all be ashamed — and terrified. Rowland’s comparison to the government killing people in war is specious. The rules governing war are far different from those governing our criminal justice system. Isn’t that one of the reasons President Obama hasn’t closed Guantanamo and sent Kalid Sheik Mohammed to Manhattan to be tried in a federal court? Enemy combatants shouldn’t be treated like common criminals.

If anything is more barbaric than Komisarjevsky’s murder and mayhem, it’s state-sanctioned murder. Here’s hoping Connecticut never executes another person again.

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3 Responses to Rowland’s Death Penalty Wish

  1. G says:

    Honestly, that's pretty bad if you're comparing Peter Reilly's case with capitol punishment.My take on capitol punishment is that it isn't state sanctioned murder. It's simply a deserved punishment for taking of a life.The problem with capitol punishment in this state is that there are too many layers of appeals. To be honest, if Michael Ross didn't volunteer to end his appeals, we would be talking about the length of time that his victim's families would be still looking for closure.Another good example of people abusing the system is that jerk Mumia in Pennsylvania. Almost 30 years of death row for killing a police officer with no end in sight. Why? Because he's good at abusing the system. Every time he gets closer to being executed, he finds a way to delay it.How is that justice for David Faulkner's family?

  2. Terry Cowgill says:

    G, I'm not "comparing Peter Reilly's case with capitol punishment." I'm using it as an example of someone who was wrongfully convicted of causing the death of another and was later cleared because of evidence that came to light after his conviction.Look, I think reasonable people can disagree on this subject. But you do raise an interesting point when you ask, "Is that justice for David Faulkner's family?"Should the standard for justice be what the family of the victim wants? Or should it be what is best for society as a whole? I think you know which question I would say yes to.

  3. Doug Hardy, iMN says:

    It is barbaric. By creating an entire industry around capital punishment here in the U.S. we "normalize" the behavior, essentially encouraging it by making it the center of attention, rather than discouraging capital murder.

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