Charles B. Blackmar, senior judge of Missouri’s Supreme Court from 1982-1992, recently called for consideration of abolishing the death penalty. In a letter to the editor that appeared in the Kansas City Star, Blackmar stated:

Most nations that share our political and cultural traditions have done away with the death penalty. The nations that still have capital punishment include China, North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and, before the American invasion, Iraq. I am not aware of any nation of our tradition that did away with capital punishment that has a worse crime problem than we have.

Death-sentence cases seem interminable, with continuing appeals in state and federal courts. Yet there is a feeling that every defendant has the right to plead for his or her life as long as any court is available to review the case.

Nothing would be lost if death penalty statutes were repealed.

(Kansas City Star, July 1, 2003). See New Voices.