Monday, December 31, 2007

WATCH FOR THIS PHOTO REPEATING HERE AT THE JOURNEY OF HOPE BLOG THROUGHOUT 2008. The arena of the COLOSSEUM in the city of Rome--once a symbol of horror, death and persecution--was bathed in white light for two reasons this past December 2007

The Colosseum was lit 1) to celebrate a U.N. vote calling for a moratorium on the death penalty and 2) for the decision by the U.S. state of New Jersey to abolish capital punishment. A number of Journey of Hope folk were in Italy and other European cities recently--urging life-giving options to execution.


CLICK ON COMMENTS (lower right) FOR A PREVIEW OF TRIBUTES to BILL & KATHY from their JOH family, for a run-down of CANDIDATES from BILL P. & MORE...scroll down--DON'T FORGET COMMENTS for other blogs as well and see the archives on right when you have time!


CN said...

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The Candidates on the Death Penalty
Sent by Bill Pelke

Joe Biden -The Biden-authored Violent Crime Control and Law
Enforcement Act of 1994 expanded the federal death penalty to cover 60 offenses, including terrorist homicides, murder of federal law enforcement officials, large-scale drug trafficking, drive-by shootings resulting in death and car jackings resulting in death. In 1996, Biden voted against
limiting appeals of those facing the death penalty.
Hillary Clinton -Clinton has been a longtime advocate of the death
penalty. Clinton cosponsored the Innocence Protection Act of 2003 which became law in 2004 as part of the Justice for All Act. The bill provides funding for post-conviction DNA testing and establishes a DNA testing process for individuals sentenced to the death penalty under federal law. As first lady, she lobbied for President Clinton's crime bill,
which expanded the list of crimes subject to the federal death penalty.
Christopher Dodd -Dodd has said that capital punishment is used too
widely, but there are certain circumstances where he "would not
exclude the use of the death penalty." He says that he would not call for a moratorium on capital punishment. He has called for judicial reform and a closer look at the country's criminal justice system so that "we can
do a better job of making decisions" about the death penalty.
John Edwards -Edwards supports the death penalty, saying some crimes "deserve the ultimate penalty." He was a supporter of capital punishment reform while in the Senate and told the Associated Press in 2004 he believes that "we need reforms in the death penalty to ensure that defendants receive fair trials, with zealous and competent lawyers, and with full access to DNA testing."
Rudolph Giuliani -Giuliani favors the death penalty and has advocated for capital punishment for those who commit treason against the United States. He testified in convicted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui's death penalty trial and urged prosecutors to pursue the death penalty against American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh. Giuliani has said the
death penalty is "justified and [an] effective deterrent for other
people doing the same thing."
Mike Gravel -Gravel has said little about capital punishment on the campaign trail, but he called for abolition of the death penalty inhis 1972 book, Citizen Power. He still believes capital punishment should be outlawed, according to campaign press secretary Alex Colvin.
Mike Huckabee -Huckabee supports the death penalty. In his book,
From Hope to Higher Ground, he described the death penalty as "a tough issue." He wrote that he believes "some crimes deserve it, but that does not mean I like it." He also described carrying out the death penalty as the worst part of his job as governor of Arkansas. In a December 2005 interview on PBS that he said that he has had to "carry out the death penalty more than any governor in the history of my state" and that "it
is not something I'm proud of."
Duncan Hunter -A supporter of capital punishment, Hunter has
opposed efforts that would make it easier for criminals on death row to appeal their sentences. He also voted against a 1994 initiative to curtail the list of crimes subject to a federal death penalty.
Alan Keyes In a 2000 debate, Keyes said that "the death penalty is
required if we're to show proper respect for life in the morality that we inculcate through the law," and that it "is part of educating people that there's an absolute line you shouldn't cross."
Dennis Kucinich -Kucinich opposes the death penalty. He says, "Morally, I simply do not believe that we as human beings have the right to 'play God' and take a human life – especially since our human judgments are fallible and often wrong." Kucinich says that his position on
the death penalty is "derived from my moral and spiritual convictions."
John McCain McCain supports the death penalty for federal crimes.
As senator from Arizona, he voted to prohibit the use of racial
statistics in death penalty appeals and ban the death penalty for minors. He also supported legislation to allow the death penalty for acts of terrorism and has said he would consider further expansion of capital punishment laws for other crimes.
Barack Obama Obama says the death penalty "does little to deter
crime" but he supports it for cases in which "the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage." While a state senator, Obama pushed for reform of the Illinois capital punishment system and authored a bill to mandate the videotaping of interrogations and confessions.
Ron Paul Paul opposes the death penalty and would vote against it
in "any legislative body he was a member of," according to campaign
spokesman Jesse Benton. In 2005, Paul praised the late Pope John Paul II for being an "eloquent and consistent advocate for an ethic of life, exemplified by his struggles against abortion, war, euthanasia and the death penalty."
Bill Richardson Richardson supports the death penalty "for the
most heinous of crimes" and with the "strictest of safeguards." During his 2002 gubernatorial campaign, Richardson said that before executions occur, he wants to be certain that defendants have proper legal representation and a chance to use DNA evidence. He also said he wants to be sure that "minorities are not unfairly singled out."
W. Mitt Romney Romney supports the death penalty for deadly acts
of terrorism, killing sprees, murders involving torture and the killing of law enforcement authorities. As governor, he filed a bill to reinstate the death penalty in Massachusetts that required verifiable scientific evidence, such as DNA, in order to impose the death penalty. The
bill also proposed measures to ensure proper representation for the indigent and allowed jurors who oppose the death penalty to participate in the guilt phase of a trial.
Fred Thompson Thompson has said that while "the use of DNA
evidence to clear long-held prisoners from murder charges proves that we need to be more careful about handing out death sentences," scientific studies have shown "that the death penalty deters murders." Thompson voted
for a 1996 bill to limit death penalty appeals. In a 1994 political questionnaire, Thompson indicated support for "impos[ing] the death penalty for certain federal crimes, including civil rights murders, rape and child molestation murders, death resulting from drive-by shootings or carjacking, and murder of court officers or federal witnesses."


CN said...

Helping People ‘Find Forgiveness Within Themselves' By Susan J. Boutwell

About a woman who has been with Journey of Hope...

Valley News Staff Writer
Windsor -- It's no surprise that Bess Klassen-Landis, a politically
liberal thinker who was raised in a pacifist, Mennonite tradition, would be opposed to the death penalty...

The twist is that the 52-year-old Windsor woman came to feel this way decades after her mother was stolen from her, raped and murdered in her Indiana home while Klassen-Landis, then 13, and her three sisters were at school.
...she has been transformed by talking and singing about her life,
including with a national group that travels the country speaking out against the death penalty.

Now the Woodstock Elementary School art teacher has started to speak and sing in the Upper Valley and next fall plans to take a year's leave of absence from her job to travel and sing and tell her story in an effort to continue to heal herself and to try to change minds about the wisdom of putting convicted killers to death.

“That is my life's work,” Kassen-Landis said...“The justice that I
expect in this world is my own heart and voice resolved to do no evil. If I can resist evil and can reach out in love, then I have not been totally destroyed by the force that ended my mom's life.”

...her oldest sister Ruth, who had had her own difficulties as a result of their mother's murder, asked Bess to accompany her on a speaking tour with a group called “Journey of Hope … From Violence to Healing.”

The Associated Press


Published 12/30/07

MORE similar COMMENTS/pieces below under TOM's LETTER (Recent NYTimes articles & letters)...

CN said...

TRIBUTES from JOH Family to Bill

(more coming--then we'll do a collage with photos and make these more visible)


I'd like to salute Bill Pelke for his tireless work to effectively
campaign both throughout the USA and around the world for abolishing
the death penalty, as well as for spreading his continual message of the need for love and compassion to triumph of the evils of hate and vengeance.

I have had the distinct privilege and honor of knowing and working
closely with Bill since 1988, and I look forward to working with him in this struggle to attain a death penalty-free society.

Bill----thanks (!!!!) for all your leadership, moral fortitude, and
above all else, your friendship.


Rick Halperin

December 30 2007


CN said...

Another Salute!

Bill and Kathy Harris are wonderful people. Their dedication to making this world a better place is remarkable. We hold them in the highest esteem.

Dave and Peggy Atwood

Thomas W. Muther, Jr. said...

Bill Pelke remains one of this nation's greatest treasures. He has spearheaded a movement to reshape the death penalty debate, and has largely succeeded, through the force of his determination and the size of his heart. There have been many heroes in this long, nonviolent struggle toward Justice--a struggle which has just recently seen its first major victory in years--but there are none who have contributed more, sacrificed more of their time and energy, none who have so changed the landscape of abolition. I have no doubt that were we visited by “Clarence,” the angel from the film It’s a Wonderful Life, and were shown the world of today as it would look if Bill had never been born--it would be a very different place, a meaner, less forgiving place. Thankfully, we do not face the disheartening prospect of a world Bill-less . . . at least, I hope, not for many years to come.

Hats off! ladies and gentlemen--a hero for peace.

CN said...

Court takes up lethel injection case

Watch for more Tributes to Bill here soon

Thomas W. Muther, Jr. said...

The Supreme Court agrees to hear an appeal of a Louisiana man who was sentenced to be executed for raping a child. In 1977, the court ruled that the DP for rape was unconstitutional, but that case involved an adult. 5 states have recently adopted laws making the rape of a child a capital crime. See: