Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Let Him Live!

A heinous crime was committed by a fellow Jew by the name of Martin Grossman. He murdered a Florida law enforcement official with her own gun while in a drug induced state. My heart goes out to the victim’s family. As I said in the past I cannot imagine what it must be like for them while this man lives awaiting his execution. And yet it would be a miscarriage of justice if he were to be executed. Why? As famed legal scholar Alan Dershowitz was quoted saying on

“Even those who strongly support capital punishment would limit it to recidivists or people who ‎commit the most heinous of crimes. Martin Grossman fits neither of those categories. He does ‎not belong on death row. His crime, committed when he was a teenager, was unplanned, ‎unpremeditated and impulsive - the product of a serious mental illness, that can now be proved ‎by medical technology that was unavailable at the time of his sentencing.

“He has been in prison ‎for more than a quarter of a century, during which time he has been a model prisoner who has ‎shown great remorse for what he did. All that he is seeking now is a 60-day postponement of his ‎execution, so that his supporters can martial the evidence and present his case for clemency.

“No ‎one should be rushed to execution while doubts remain unresolved. Justice demands that he be ‎given the 60 days to prove that he does not deserve to die at the hands of the state.”

I could not agree more. I have previously stated that in my view the most just sentence in this case would be life imprisonment. I still believe that to be the case.

While I have expressed my dismay that Orthodox public service organizations like Agudah and Young Israel seem to be more pre-occupied with Jewish criminals than other issues of great import to the Jewish community, I nonetheless also said that I agree that justice should be vigorously pursued. And justice here is not the death penalty in my view.

So even though I wish it weren’t needed; even though I wish this was not the issue we were working on; even though I can think of many issues I wish we were working on instead; and even though I can think of many reasons why we shouldn’t be doing this … a man’s life is at stake. A life which in my view should be spared. And that trumps everything else. I therefore ask people to sign this petition. It’s the least we can do. And may God grant comfort and closure to the victim's bereaved family. Thank you.