I am writing in response to the letter from Lynne Marino printed in The Advocate Feb. 23. Marino calls for faster executions in Louisiana and argues that we should follow the examples of Texas and California in our treatment of death-penalty cases.

Texas has released 12 inmates from death row since 1978 because they were found innocent of the crimes that sent them to death row. And the 1989 execution of Carlos Deluna has been called into question by evidence that strongly suggests his innocence. California has freed three men from death row based on innocence. Louisiana has released nine men from death row according to Innocence Project information. The danger of executing the innocent is very real.

California has determined that it has cost the state $4 billion to have the death penalty on the books. I am sure that $4 billion more spent on police and law enforcement would be a better use of those funds in protecting the public. It’s plain the death penalty is not effective law enforcement policy. The death penalty is not a deterrent to crime, as Marino states.

There are many more issues that I could address in Marino’s letter. But space is limited here. I understand the source of her outrage and pain. Sadly, the execution of one or a hundred men would not provide her any surcease. Speeding the death penalty is not the answer.

Mark Upton


Baton Rouge