As I’ve made clear before, I’m not against the death penalty for the most heinous crimes. I’ve read many accounts of criminals executed for terrible crimes, and I shed no tears for the killers. In many cases, my only regret is that the murderers so long outlive their victims.
But the ultimate penalty should be used with the ultimate caution and care. That’s why I’ve got to join with the Dallas Morning News editorial board and others in trying to halt the execution of Kenneth Foster for a 1996 murder.
Foster, who was 19 at the time, didn’t pull the trigger–the prosecutors agree on that–but he’s about to be executed thanks to the “law of parties,” which Texas alone observes. He was about 90 feet away in a car when one of his associates shot the victim. The killer testified that Foster and the others present had no idea what he was about to do. But according to the law of parties, he was there when the deed was done, so he’s guilty too.
There’s a longer explanation of the case here. Foster was absolutely no saint and he deserves some kind of punishment for his role. But not the death penalty.
His execution is scheduled for Thursday, August 30. If you agree that he should not die for another man’s crime, contact Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s office. Here’s the info.
Write the governor:
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428
E-mail the governor through his Web site:
Call the governor’s opinion hotline: