Barbour to End Death Penalty in Mississippi (SATIRE) | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Barbour to End Death Penalty in Mississippi (SATIRE)

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Barbour is calling a special legislative session to discuss economic development projects.

In an exclusive interview with the Jackson Free Press, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has broken with the Republican Party's tough-on-crime stance to press state legislators for an end to the death penalty in the Magnolia state.

"I had a 'come-to-Jesus' moment when I realized how much putting a man to death was costing the good people of Mississippi," Barbour said. "All y'all know my position on spending unnecessary money: In these tough economic times, it just makes good fiscal sense to keep 'em locked up forever instead of putting 'em to death."

"The cost of killing killers is killing us," the governor added, quoting from a March 2010 FOX News story "Just or Not, Cost of Death Penalty Is a Killer for State Budgets."

Barbour said he would ask Mississippi legislators to immediately repeal the state's death-penalty statutes during the upcoming extended session.

"(House Speaker Billy) McCoy is so all-fired anxious about the cuts I want, let's see him push this through," Barbour said, dropping the figurative gauntlet in front of the Democratic leader of the Mississippi House.

Barbour would not confirm whether Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant was on board with his proposal. Sources close to Bryant, however, indicated that the news infuriated the governor's No. 2 man.

"Haley called to tell Phil what he was up to," an unnamed Bryant staffer told the JFP. "I heard cussing and crashing, and Phil did some real damage to his office. Suffice to say that the lieutenant governor was calling on God, the devil and the Tea Party to make ole' Haley come back to his right mind."

The governor, however, who called the JFP from the state's jet on his way to a New Hampshire Republican fundraiser, said he was armed with numerous studies from New Jersey to Florida to California bearing out his change of heart.

"Tackling serious issues means standing against serious opposition," said Barbour, a likely 2012 presidential contender.

Death penalty trials cost at least $1 million more than other trials, he said, regardless of the outcome; two out of every three perpetrators convicted for a capital crime receives a lighter sentence. Add the cost of multiple appeals with state-provided defense attorneys, and special housing for prisoners awaiting death, and the costs skyrocket.

Natasha Minsker, author of a report by the Northern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, estimates California could save $1 billion over five years by ending the death penalty in that state.

Asked whether Barbour's unexpected decision had a moral aspect to it, the governor was non-committal.

"My momma believed in an eye-for-an-eye justice, and it came to me through her milk," he said. "But this is a new day, and we have to look at every way Mississippi is wasting money, not just the money we're spending educating our young 'uns."

Read the rest of the story.

Previous Comments

ID
162959
Comment

I like an April Fool's joke as much as the next guy but I'm not sure this is the right topic to be kidding around about.

Author
crpiii
Date
2011-04-01T12:56:42-06:00
ID
162960
Comment

I sure wish Haley Barbour would have had a "come to Jesus" moment when he ignored a federal appeal in 2007 and allowed an end stage Alzheimer's patient die with no services ever rendered. He sure could have allowed her to die with dignity and it wouldn't have cost the state a dime. He can answer God when his day comes. I believe that the severity of the crimes committed surrounding her denial of services for those who played a direct part will be serious. The death penalty is certainly not off the table. There's no place for hate and unfortunately under the disaster proclamation that was attached to the state, it made all of the crimes that were committed federal.Theresa Ann Guarino McGee did not believe in an eye for an eye. Instead she opted for forgiveness because as she put it, they know no better. The state suppressed the case by enacting a few laws and FEMA falsified federal documents in an effort to cover it up. I guess the chips will fall where they may but I don't think any one person will take the blame alone. I don't believe in the death penalty. They should live with what they have done for the rest of their lives.

Author
DeGuyz
Date
2011-04-01T13:11:41-06:00
ID
162963
Comment

Wow! Could this be tied to the fact that some are questioning how he could pardon a murderer and won't pardon the Scott Sisters? Amazing! Maybe he can get another word from the Lord that indicates he ought to take a real look at his insensitive remarks and position regarding the Scott Sisters.

Author
GratefulJTE
Date
2011-04-01T14:07:15-06:00
ID
162968
Comment

It's probably to clear to everyone by now, but this was an April 1 satire, written by Ronni Mott, who is our specialist in death penalty and innocence issues. Note that the links to the information about the costs of the death penalty are real (even the FOX one!). We urge you to read them and pass them along to others, regardless of their position on the death penalty (which the JFP opposes).

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-04-01T16:52:21-06:00
ID
162970
Comment

Funny article but I wish you didn't have to put (SATIRE) after the headline. Kinda ruins it. If your readers couldn't surmise that it was an April Fool's joke, you're attracting the wrong audience.

Author
jbreland
Date
2011-04-02T09:03:18-06:00
ID
162976
Comment

Jackson, we didn't add the "satire" part until the end of the day, figuring once April 1 passed, the two satires might be confusing among the news stories. And for the record, some people believed this story and passed it along as true. This surprised me and Ronni more than anyone; we purposefully included quotes and content that, we though, made it clear that it couldn't possibly be true.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-04-04T08:28:21-06:00
ID
162979
Comment

Thanks for posting, Damien. We respect your opinion, but we disagree. This is an issue that we are seeing no progress on whatsoever in our state even as innocent people have sat on death row for years and even our Democratic attorney general seems almost gleeful about executions. As for Barbour, his hypocrisy on this issue needs to be pointed out every way possible, including through satire if that's what it takes to get people's attention (a major use for satire). The writer of this very obvious satirical piece is Ronni Mott, the same journalist who exposed that Barbour had pardoned or commuted the sentences of a string of men who had brutally murdered wives and girlfriends. Yet, he's "tough on crime" with his embrace of the death penalty? What is terrible and tasteless is our state's continued embrace of the death penalty, even as it is very possible that more innocent people are waiting to be executed.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-04-04T10:56:58-06:00
ID
162981
Comment

Sounds like it, Damien. Cheers.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-04-04T12:30:06-06:00

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