June 9, 2008

Too sick to die

Governor Timothy Kaine of Virginia commuted a death sentence to life without parole today, on the grounds that the inmate is too mentally ill to understand the punishment. Kaine's statement is here.

This is the appropriate measure. Elsewhere, U.S. courts have determined that those similarly situated to Percy Levar Walton may be medicated by a State to bring their mental state to within constitutional parameters, a disposition that seems not that much less morally reprehensible than the initial crimes committed, if at all.

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