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Will Kaine Be Raising The Death Penalty Issue?

I couldn't help notice possibility that Virginia Governor Mark Warner may be attempting to throw a mulligan to incoming Governor Tim Kaine when it comes to the death penalty. In addition to a stumbling campaign by his opponent, Kaine was elected in November primarily because he was able to convince the electorate that while he opposed the death penalty he would (upon assuming the duties of Governor) carry them out.

The Washington Post reports on an 11th hour decision by Warner that could provide Kain cover to drop his campaign pledge.

Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner has ordered DNA testing that could prove the guilt or innocence of a man executed in 1992, marking the first time a governor has asked for genetic testing of someone put to death.

The analysis, which began last month, comes in the case of Roger K. Coleman, a convicted killer whose proclamations of innocence -- including on the night of his execution -- raised concern nationwide over whether the wrong man died in the electric chair.

Warner's decision marks a dramatic turnaround in Virginia, where officials and judges have routinely refused to reexamine evidence in criminal cases after a defendant's conviction and have been steadfast in their denials of post-execution requests. Results of the Coleman tests, which are being conducted by scientists in a Toronto laboratory, could be announced before Warner (D) leaves office next week.

The Strata-Sphere notes that they are trying to set the stage for a suspension of the death penalty.

Ironically Reason's Hit and Run argued that Warner should have made this choice four years ago, all of which makes the timing of the last minute order all the more suspicious.

Over on the Raising Kaine blog they're tickled pink at the prospect that an executed man may be proven innocent, fortunately a commenter throws cold water on their hopes that the DNA test will do anything other than confirm the Coleman killed Wanda McCoy.


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Comments (3)

It's similar to what Warner... (Below threshold)

It's similar to what Warner did in waiting until after the election before expanding protections for gay state workers.

One thing I noticed about K... (Below threshold)
Nate:

One thing I noticed about Kaine's death penalty ads were that "[he] would carry out death sentances handed down by VA juries because that's the law." However, he most definitely did NOT say that he supported the death penalty, or that he would not try to overturn it, just that as long as it were the law, he would abide by it. So, I'm sure in his mind, he is free to try to end the death penalty without making himself a liar.

Surprise, surprise, surpris... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

Surprise, surprise, surprise.
Warner ran as a Dino and turned into a Dem on inauguration day. Who didn't know Kaine would do the same thing?

You would think the voters in VA would have payed attention. Oh well.




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