To the editor:
I feel compelled to address the Kansas Supreme Court Justices’ retention votes. I urge you to VOTE TO RETAIN them.
Here’s why: We all took Government in school, right? We know the job of the Supreme Court in criminal cases is to interpret the law, right? In the case of Jonathan and Reginald Carr from Wichita, the crimes are undeniably heinous, but that isn’t the point. The U.S. Supreme Court has previously set standards for criminal trials not contemplated 50 years ago, and our Kansas Justices must look at the Carr case in the context of those rulings, for both conducting the trial and in conducting the “penalty phase.”
Gov. Brownback clamors that the Court did not do the will of the people. The Will of the People! Most of us know what happened a little over 2000 years ago when Pilate opted to follow the will of the people — an innocent man was hung on a cross to die.
Which of us wants the court to follow the will of the people in OUR cases rather than the rule of law, particularly when unjustly accused? The Kansas justices are on the Court to make the tough and technical calls and should not be ousted for it.
Actually, the Kansas Court may have done the Carr prosecutors a favor: If the death sentence were upheld now, that case would eventually be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court (which our Attorney General is doing now). It could have been (on average) in court five to seven years from now, when the case will be more stale; the death sentence would have been delayed anyway; and there is a risk the evidence could be harder to put together for a re-trial. Hearing this compelling issue now could actually be the better-quicker course.