As an obviously troubled Gov. John Hickenlooper explained his decision to spare the life of convicted killer Nathan Dunlap, he called the state’s death-penalty system imperfect and flawed, reports the Denver Post. “If the state of Colorado is going to undertake the responsibility of executing a human being, the system must operate flawlessly. Colorado’s system for capital punishment is not flawless,” he wrote in his executive order Wednesday. After hearing commentary from all sides, Hickenlooper said Thursday none of his own choices were flawless, either.
If meted out unfairly, the death penalty has no deterrent effect on crime, Hickenlooper said. But the system isn't perfect, said Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler. “Every single thing government does is imperfect. Society is imperfect. People are imperfect. We try to minimize the imperfection,” he said. “The bar should be set very high,” said Sam Kamin, a death-penalty opponent and University of Denver law professor.