"CO's Death Penalty System Too Broken to Use: Commute Dunlap's Sentence," is Richard Bloch's essay at Huffington Post. He's the former Arapahoe County Chief Deputy District Attorney.
In the twenty years I spent with the Arapahoe County District Attorney's Office, I prosecuted dozens of homicides, including three death penalty cases. Based on my experiences, I believe that Colorado does not need and should not use capital punishment to maintain our public safety. I hope that Governor Hickenlooper commutes Nathan Dunlap's death sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Having worked on many homicides, visited dozens of murder scenes, and, most importantly, spoken to many people who have committed violent actions against others, I understand from personal experience what so many studies show: that there is no evidence whatsoever that the death penalty deters crime and enhances public safety.
My work experience convinces me that the threat of a death sentence does not deter criminal activity. In my years as a prosecutor and in my subsequent private legal practice, I have observed that some of the most egregious crimes are committed due to mental illness, desperation, overwhelming emotions, and political extremism -- none of which are subject to rational cost/benefit calculations, like weighing potential criminal sentencing consequences.
Our system is broken. Something is clearly wrong with our state when all the death sentences are coming out of one county. We are in a crisis when our state, which is 4.3 percent African-American, has a death row that is 100 percent African American. A broken system has produced flawed results.
One of these results is Nathan Dunlap's death sentence. That is why I join so many other individuals and groups speaking out to support clemency in this case. The crime he committed was horrific, and he should spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole, to ensure public safety and severe punishment for his crimes. Yet we cannot ignore that the system that sentenced Mr. Dunlap to die is a system in crisis. Colorado can do better; Colorado is better than that.
Westword posts, "Nathan Dunlap clemency backers cite broad support as calls for death continue," by Michael Roberts.
The campaign to either save Nathan Dunlap from the death penalty or execute the man convicted of four brutal murders at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in 1993 has turned into something of a public-relations competition. As the Arapahoe District Attorney's Office continues to dole out statements from victims and associates who believe he deserves the ultimate punishment, Dunlap's advocates are working to humanize him even as they emphasize broad support for Governor John Hickenlooper to alter his sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
You can view the clemency petition and other supporting documents in Nathan Dunlap's case at the link.
Earlier coverage of Nathan Dunlap's case begins at the link.