August 18, 2002
Judge Jeffrey L. Simmons in
Judge Jeffrey L. Simmons in Vinton County, OH told prosecutors they couldn't seek the death penalty for Gregory McKnight because the county couldn't afford the defense attorney fees. This is odd on a couple of levels. First, Judge Simmons is allowing questionalble financial considerations to trump justice. If the judge thought Vinton County could afford McKnight's lawyer fees, then it would be alright to go ahead. For Judge Simmons, the pursuit of justice isn't the most important factor here. Instead it's legal costs. Second, the judge performed a disservice to the victim's family. Too bad for Cynthia Murray, mother of Emily Murray, that her killer was found in a poor county. I'm sure that makes her feel better.
Now, I'm oppsed to State-sanctioned killing beyond defense. The death penalty is morally flawed while other means of punishment are available. But what Judge Simmons has done is determine county budget priorities instead of leaving that to officials who were elected just for that purpose.
"Citing Cost, Judge Rejects Death Penalty"