Death penalty becomes hot issue for Gov. Edwards, AG Landry, and the pope
Following a reversal of Catholic Church teaching, the death penalty is now inadmissable because it attacks the dignity of all people.
It was previously held by the Catechism of the Catholic Church that capital punishment was not excluded “if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.”
The news came Thursday as Pope Francis announced new church policy and came a week after news broke about a rift over the issue of the death penalty between Louisiana’s Governor John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry.
The republican Landry asked the democrat Edwards, according to The Advocate, to support bringing back hanging, firing squads, and the electric chair.
The request was the most recent move in a back-and-forth affair between the two potential rivals in next year’s election for governor. Landry had called the governor’s position on moving forward with the execution of convicted murderers “both intentionally misleading and cold comfort to victims’ families.”
The Advocate reported, “Landry again demanded Governor Edwards say where he personally stood on the death penalty. Then Landry proposed legislation that would change the state’s capital punishment law to allow for different forms of execution other than just lethal injection. He recommended the Legislature pass a law that would allow the state Department of Corrections to choose between hanging, firing squads, and electrocution to put condemned criminals to death if other methods are unavailable.”
The problem is that only a state legislator can propose a piece of legislation before it becomes law.
Among the questions that the governor fielded during a ground breaking of a highway project was one about the death penalty issue. Governor Edwards responded, “I am not inclined to go back to methods that have been discarded (when) popular sentiment turned against methods that were deemed to be barbaric and so forth. We have a law in place, and we will continue to try to search for solutions around that law,” which allows execution by lethal injection.
According to The Advocate, 72 inmates are on death row at the Louisiana State Penitentiary awaiting execution by lethal injection; however, “pharmaceutical companies have refused to sell the necessary drugs to the state.”