Romney Says Science Can Ensure Proper Death Cases

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Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney believes that his new commission will develop a death penalty statute using the latest forensic science and technology to guarantee that only the guilty will be executed, the Boston Globe reports. “We want a standard of proof that is incontrovertible,” Romney said with members of his newly formed Governor’s Council on Capital Punishment. He wants to put “science above all else” in capital murder cases. The governor wants the panel to come up with a a narrow law that will deal with those who have committed multiple murders through acts of terrorism; killers of those in the criminal justice system, such as judges, prosecutors, and police officers; and those who commit the “most heinous violent crimes.”

Romney’s panel hopes for a law that strengthens prosecutors’ case for the death penalty by using DNA evidence to link defendants to the crime. That technology has been used by capital punishment opponents in recent years, as states have released more than 100 death row inmates or lowered their sentences.

The Globe notes that in recent years, the margin in the House opposing capital punishment has grown to 34 votes. The council will meet six times before Dec. 31, Romney hoping to introduce a bill early next year.

House Democrats, who have blocked death penalty bills in the past, predicted the governor’s move would have little impact. Both the House Speaker and Senate President oppose the death penalty.

Romney’s plan was criticized by some criminal justice specialists who questioned whether even the latest forensic science, could assure 100 percent guilt.


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