NEW VOICES: Oliver North - Long-Time Opponent of the Death Penalty

Oliver North, a former Marine and noted conservative leader, has opposed the death penalty for many years. In a recent interview, he said, “I’m a ‘law and order’ guy. Don’t get me wrong. Individuals need to be held accountable…but I have always felt… and always said that there are very serious questions about the justice of the death penalty. Just a few months ago, a man (Glenn Ford) who was on death row for thirty years was found to be innocent.” When North ran for U.S. Senate in Virginia in 1994, he took an anti-death penalty stance, but he said it did not hurt his campaign, adding, “I got the endorsement of every police organization in Virginia [when I ran] and they all knew exactly where I stood on that issue.” North called for further discussion: “I still think it is the kind of thing that deserves an informed debate in our society and our culture. What is it about us that says that we have to affect that kind of retribution? Is it really a deterrent? It doesn’t seem to be.”

(K. Williams, “Oliver North, A Warrior Against the Death Penalty?,” Politisite, May 14, 2014). See New Voices and DPIC’s poll of police chiefs.