Woman’s execution halted

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A Dallas judge postponed the execution of a Texas woman who would have been the first woman put to death in the U.S. since 2010.

State District Judge Larry Mitchell halted the execution of Kimberly McCarthy after an appeal by McCarthy’s lawyers that focused on whether the jury that convicted and sentenced her to death was selected improperly based on race.

The jury was made up of 11 white people and one black person. McCarthy is black.

McCarthy, 51, was convicted and faced lethal injection for the 1997 beating, stabbing and robbery of her 71-year-old neighbor in Lancaster, Texas.

Evidence showed that McCarty phoned her neighbor to borrow a cup of sugar.

Instead of retrieving it,  McCarthy was convicted of assaulting her neighbor, stabbing her with a knife, beating her with a candle holder and severing her ring finger to steal a wedding ring.

Prosecutors presented evidence that tied McCarthy to similar slayings of two other women in Dallas in December 1988, which sealed the deal for the jury that McCarthy    was guilty.

McCarthy’s lawyer said that “of the twelve jurors seated at trial, all were white, except one, and eligible non-white jurors were excluded from serving by the state….These facts must be understood in the context of the troubling and long-standing history of racial discrimination in jury selection.”

The DA’s office had called the effort a “mere delay” tactic, saying the record didn’t support a legal claim for discrimination.

Are the defense attorneys procrastinating to buy McCarthy more time? Or are they genuinely concerned that there is evidence of racial discrimination against her?

It’s hard to tell if the jury sentenced her to death because of her race or of her crimes.

The basis of racial discrimination should not be allowed in the courtroom. If a person committed a crime, he or she should be punished fairly.

The Declaration of Independence, an official U.S. document, states that all men are created equal, which should hold the same amount of power in a U.S. courtroom.

Some believe that the death penalty should not be used in the case of a female defendant, while others argue that all criminals should be punished for their crimes.

McCarthy would have been the 13th woman executed in the U.S. and the fourth in Texas, the nation’s busiest death penalty state, since the Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976.

During that same time period, 1,300 male inmates have been executed nationwide.

McCarthy is one of 10 women currently on death row in Texas, but only one with an execution date, or who had an execution date.

No doubt this punishment for women will never change, but we can hope that discrimination in the court system will.

Author: Elissa Thompson

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