Conservative view: Tennessee death penalty needs comprehensive review

Davis Turner in a guest column at The Tennessean:

  • Davis Turner is a lifelong Republican, Nashville attorney, and surviving family member of a murder victim.

As a conservative, I believe in fiscal responsibility and limited government. And, as a surviving family member of a murder victim, I know firsthand the trauma of losing a loved one to homicide. My brother was murdered in Nashville in 2009.

My conservative values and personal experience are the very reasons that I also have serious concerns about Tennessee’s death penalty.

I’m skeptical of a government program that is more expensive to taxpayers than the alternatives, risks executing the innocent, and has the power over the life and death of its citizens.

Studies show taxpayers spend approximately $2 million more per case to pursue the death penalty than life without parole. Tennesseans have spent millions to carry out 12 executions since 1960 while 55% of Tennessee’s death sentences were overturned on appeal because of issues like ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutor misconduct, and innocence.

Some suggest limiting appeals to speed up the process to make it less expensive and less protracted. However, mounting evidence demonstrates that Tennessee’s death penalty continues to be unfairly and arbitrarily applied.

Good, well-reasoned, rational article. That it comes from a Conservative/Republican is wildy encouraging.

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