Sunday, June 13, 2004

Steven Oken

The attached link leads to a very interesting article in the Baltimore Sun about the "difficulties" that Steven Oken's upcoming execution creates. Oken is a white adult male who admitted to the grisley killing he is being executed for. The article opines that this makes Oken's execution more difficult for death penalty opponents to decry. There is also some discussion as to how executing Oken first (a white adult male with no question of guilt) may be a political move to help soften some of the uncomfortability with the death penalty before Maryland executes some of its more questionable cases (read: black men) after a two year moratorium.

There are lots of substantive legal problems with the death penalty and its processes (I've discussed them before). However, just because Oken doesn't meet any of those other easier arguments doesn't mean his death is any less wrong. For most abolitionists, the main point to be had is that government killing of a human being is wrong. Just because a man like Oken is clearly guilty of killing those he killed, and presumably he judged their right to live before taking their life, does not mean that we are in the position to take his. No matter how clear the guilt and how sane the inmate, the truth is that capital punishment is no more than government sanctioned murder...premeditated and put on show.

Oken's case a challenge in debate on death penalty

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