Dan Glode, a former district attorney in Lincoln County, Oregon, recently criticized the death penalty for “the enormous expense in dollars and emotional capital [it takes] for the families of homicide victims.” Writing in the Newport News-Times, he experienced crime both as a prosecutor and as a relative of a murder victim: “The emotional cost on the families of the victim is also enormous. I have some knowledge of this, as a close relative of mine was murdered back in the 1980s. It took several years to finally catch those responsible, and I realized I just wanted it over. When they were finally tried and incarcerated, I knew I could move on. The justice system, as good or imperfect as it may be, cannot make the victim’s family whole again, but it can reduce the trauma by not dragging things out interminably. In these capital cases, the process goes on and on. Sometimes these family members have to go through additional trials if the cases get kicked back for re-trial, and the hurt begins anew. The wound never heals; it doesn’t even scar over.”

Glode spent 12 years as a district attorney and realized that criticism of the death penalty is not always popular: “I realize it may not be politically correct for an elected (or an ex-elected in my case) district attorney to admit this, but I feel compelled to do so at this time. Some current district attorneys may think it political suicide to do so because they fear they would be considered ‘soft’ on crime. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let me say that my compunctions primarily are not on moral or ethical grounds involving putting a convicted murderer to death, but on the way it is used (or not used) in this state, and the enormous expense in dollars and emotional capital for the families of homicide victims.”

(D. Glode, “Death penalty conflicts,” Newport News-Times, June 25, 2010). See New Voices and Victims.