Decatur Daily

April 23, 2004


Fledgling Attorney General Troy King has picked an interesting first major stance since being appointed to office by Gov. Bob Riley.

It’s a safe one.

He’s going to fight bills that would put a moratorium on the death penalty. Politically, standing up against those who oppose the death penalty is a popular fight in Alabama, where even losing the fight could be a winning situation.

Mr. King already knows he has legislative support to fight these bills that would impose a 3-year moratorium as well as prohibit the death penalty for anyone younger than 18.

What would test his mettle would be jumping into the fray opposing the death penalty and opposing the execution of anyone under 18. But that’s not going to happen because that’s not good for a political career in Alabama.

Both of these bills, introduced by state Sen. Hank Sanders, a Selma Democrat, and approved by the State Judiciary Committee, deserve more than a cursory glance.

It’s doubtful much can be done about Alabama’s death penalty. But something could and should be done about executing those under 18. Most states don’t allow this and almost all countries have stopped executions of youthful offenders.

If Mr. King wants to be remembered as a great attorney general, he should study these bills and determine, politics aside, what is best for Alabama.

Especially the bill that supports dropping the death penalty for those under 18.


Decatur Daily