Catholic teaching tells us, he said, that "when other punishment options are available to government that sufficiently protect the public’s safety, we should not resort to the death penalty, not even in the case of one who takes the life of another human being."In this blast from the past, we see a good example (H/T Crime and Consequences)of why Abp. Lori, while competent to teach on doctrine and moral principles, is not a reliable source for such criminology pronouncements as "life without parole sentences render the death penalty unnecessary."
In 1966 (Dennis) Stanworth was sentenced to death for the brutal kidnapping, rape and murder of two 15-year-old Pinole (California) teens, Caree Collison and Susan Box. Their family members are still haunted by the crime."He had them strip and Caree ran and he yelled at her if you don't come back, I'm going to kill your friend. She came back and he shot her in the head," a family member said...Stanworth sat on San Quentin's death row for seven years. Then everything changed."The first step was when the California Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court determined that the death penalty was unconstitutional," Uncommon Law's Keith Whattley said.That meant, by the mid-1970s, 174 death row inmates had their sentences reduced to life in prison. At the time, California did not have life without parole, so all were eligible for release.Besides Stanworth, the group included Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan, who murdered Robert Kennedy in 1968. Manson and Sirhan were not released, but Stanworth and 50 others were eventually set free.Among them was Robert Massie, who was convicted of murder in 1965 and sentenced to death. In 1978 he was paroled; eight months later, he murdered a San Francisco liquor store owner. In 2001, after the death penalty was reinstated, Massie was executed.
Stanworth was released in 1990. The parole board cited his good behavior and "excellent work record." Stanworth settled in Vallejo, re-married and lived a quiet life in a gated golf course community where some neighbors even knew of his past.Sure, some who commit premeditated murder might be 'rehabilitated' and never re-offend. But why should society bear the burden of that high-stakes risk? Isn't it more likely (and therefore the better basis for a policy decision) that a person who would murder will likely never overcome to a reasonable level of certainty a propensity for violence?
"I figured he had paid for his mistakes according to the law," neighbor Irving Vanderberg said.
But on Jan. 11, Vallejo police arrested Stanworth for killing his 90-year-old mother Nellie Stanworth at his home.
No, Archbishop Lori, whatever the Catechism is referring to when it speaks of "means" for rendering offenders harmless, it certainly cannot mean mere imprisonment, even life without parole, which can be, like the death penalty was, and probably will be in Maryland, altered by the whim of a single legislative session or the pardon power of a single governor.