Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis’ stand on the death penalty is cruel and outdated.

The risk of an innocent person being executed cannot be eliminated. In the U.S., 150 prisoners sent to death row have been exonerated since 1973, and there is no conclusive evidence that the death penalty deters crime.

Furthermore, data from the U.S. Department of Justice show that one is more likely to be sentenced to death if you are poor or belong to a racial minority. Also, mental illness and child abuse are closely linked to those being executed.

According to a recent article in The New York Times, 20 out of the 23 people put to death in the U.S. in 2017 were mentally ill, suffered child abuse, or had poor legal representation (“Capital Punishment Deserves a Quick Death,” Dec. 31). Eight were younger than 21 when they were accused.

The death penalty is a racially biased, arbitrary and pointless punishment that becomes rarer each year. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have already banned capital punishment, and many states have not carried out an execution for years. It’s well past time to bring our country in line with the rest of the civilized world and end this barbarous practice.

Let’s hope that Marquis’ replacement is more enlightened.

Ed Joyce

Astoria

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