It Turns Out There Isn’t Any Great Controversy About The Death Penalty In Louisiana

We know this because Dan Claitor, a term-limited Republican state senator, brought a bill in this legislative session to do away with capital punishment in the state and that bill got a death penalty of its own on the Senate floor.

Louisiana’s senators overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to end the state’s use of capital punishment.

Republican Sen. Dan Claitor proposed to abolish use of the death penalty for any offenses committed starting in 2021 – if voters agreed in the 2020 election.

Only 13 senators backed the idea Monday, while 25 opposed it. The legislation needed support from 26 senators to pass.

Claitor, a former prosecutor, says the death penalty doesn’t work as a deterrent and is morally wrong.

Claitor isn’t entirely out of bounds in bringing the bill given that it’s been nine years since anybody was executed in Louisiana for a capital crime, a fact which is a product of some rather facile or feckless executive government in both the Jindal and Edwards administrations and a dose of politically correct corporate practices among drug companies making substances the state prescribes for its lethal injections.

That is to say, if you’re going to make the argument that since nobody is bothering to actually attempt to execute someone for a capital crime in Louisiana then why bother to even have the death penalty.

Which is a legitimate argument, though it isn’t the correct one. The correct one is whether the death penalty ought to be a viable option for judges and juries in the worst criminal cases – murder in circumstances especially disgusting to the population – to impose on the villains we must dispose of.

There have been a not-small number of sentences imposed on such offenders in the past few years, but nothing has happened to them since 2010 when Louisiana last executed one of its murderers.

If Claitor doesn’t believe in the death penalty he’s certainly within his rights to feel that way. But what we know from the fate of his bill is he’s not in the majority. Louisianans want to be rid of our worst – and not particularly by exporting them to other states the way we ship college graduates off to Texas, for example. That’s why he could only get 1/3rd of the Senate to back a bill outlawing the death penalty.

In the aftermath of such a result, it’s worth renewing the conversation with Louisiana’s Democratic governor John Bel Edwards over the latter’s apparent lack of fight on the question of pharmaceuticals used in the state’s lethal injections to carry out the death penalty. Edwards swears that because those drug companies don’t want to sell the state their products to use in executions, those penalties cannot be carried out. Louisiana’s Attorney General Jeff Landry has given the Bronx cheer to such posturing by Edwards, noting there are almost countless ways to carry out an execution including the use of fentanyl, which is held in abundance in the evidence lockers of various Louisiana law enforcement agencies.

The point being that Edwards could easily proclaim himself willing to carry out the death penalty in Louisiana by simply finding a way – and now that Claitor’s bill has been so roundly rejected, it’s a good time for Edwards to declare himself one way or the other on the issue so the voters can see what they’re being asked to re-elect this fall.

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