Bundy Case in Spotlighht

Click to see original imageSentencing of Theodore Bundy to die for the brutal murder of two Florida coeds adds another tenant to the roster of 500 or so felons on death row in prisons across the country.

It is hoped that after “due process” of legitimate reviews by higher courts, justice will be carried out with more dispatch than in numerous pending cases throughout the land.

Even here in Utah we have convicted slayers, sentenced for execution as many as a dozen years ago, still occupying death row after many appeals and delays on one technicality or another.

Capital punishment is a serious action and it’s good and right that the correctness of the sentence be confirmed by a higher court. But after a certain point, needless delays through legal maneuvers dull the sword of justice and pile up needless expense for the taxpayers.

Too often the big issue in such delays appears not to be innocence or guilt (which, in the ultimate, ought to be the prevailing concern), but whether somebody erred in an interrogation, the court did something improper, or some other technicality has been discovered.

In Bundy’s case, appeal or no appeal, the ex-University of Utah law student will be in the limelight for some time to come. Press accounts say he will be taken to Lake City, Fla. to stand trial Sept. 17 for the murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Diane Leach.

Why that trail when Build already is under the death sentence? The reasoning by the prosecutors could bc two-fold: (1) A possible second conviction and sentence to fall back on if, for any reason, the first conviction should be set aside; and (2) the obligation to the family, the public, and the law to bring the Leach case to conclusion.

We doubt that the American public would like to see any serious criminal case rushed or concluded hastily; but we do believe the people favor reasonable dispatch and some kind of limit on appeals. Too much delay compromises justice and erodes public confidence in the system.