Betsey Wright, Bill Clinton’s former gubernatorial chief of staff, wrote me yesterday about the changing standard of capital prosecutions in Washington County. She asked that the remarks be off the record. She apparently decided later to discuss the issue with a reporter in Northwest Arkansas. Wright is a death penalty opponent and spends most of her time these days working with Death Row inmates
She was moved to comment by the death penalty meted out last week in the slaying of a UA student.
“I’m confused by the prosecuting attorney’s lack of standards and equity,” said Wright, who lives in Rogers. “He backed away from the death penalty for two people who killed small children, giving them plea bargains for life without parole. Yet, he pursued a death sentence for this mentally ill man.
“I don’t think we know what his standard is. Of course, the fact that each prosecuting attorney operates differently is what makes the death penalty so political and easy to use as a threat to get leverage.”
You may support the death penalty. But if you think it is applied evenly and rationally, you haven’t been paying attention.