ISSUES AND ANSWERS ON DEATH PENALTY: ‘Ultimate punishment’ needed to curb offenders

Lt. Thomas Brackin represents Delaware State police officers as the president of the Delaware State Troopers Association.

Do you think Delaware should reinstate the death penalty?

I do believe that Delaware needs to reinstate the death penalty. First and foremost, we need to have the death penalty to punish only those offenders who truly constitute the worst of the worst. Why should Delaware’s hard-working taxpayers be made to provide a lifetime of free benefits to someone who has demonstrated that they can no longer function in society and who present very clear and ever present danger to reoffend even while incarcerated?

Lt. Thomas Brackin

Does anyone in Delaware truly believe that the man responsible for the torture and murder of Lindsay Bonistall (a University of Delaware student killed in 2005) should be afforded a lifetime of free health care, food, lodging and entertainment on the taxpayers’ backs?

As we have seen in 2017, particularly with the savage murder of Lt. Floyd at Vaughn Correctional Center, there needs to be a disincentive for those who are already serving life sentences from committing acts of violence towards staff and visitors. We need the ultimate punishment on the books to serve as a reminder to those who may choose to commit murder that if the elements of that offense meet the criteria and if a jury of your peers agrees unanimously and if the judge who presides agrees, then you could be put to death.

If it’s reinstated, how should the reduced availability of the chemical compound used for execution be addressed?

I am not sure how to address the chemical compound question, but my hunch is there are companies that would make it available should those who currently are making it choose not to.

How likely is it that an innocent person may be executed by mistake?

It is very unlikely that an innocent person will be put to death in Delaware particularly given the modern technology available to both the prosecution and the defense today and the exhaustive appeals process that ensures the accused has every opportunity to be found innocent prior to the commencement of the sentence.

Would a reinstated death penalty help protect the state’s law enforcement personnel?

Certainly. As stated above, the death penalty may very well have saved Lt. Floyd’s life, but we will never know now. The Delaware State Police suffered a tragic loss this year with the murder of Cpl/1 Stephen Ballard. Do we know what was in Burgeon Sealy’s mind when he chose to murder Cpl/1 Ballard? Do we know if he was aware of the death penalty debate and current status here in Delaware? I know that the men and women I represent would overwhelmingly have supported Sealy being executed for his crime had he survived his standoff in Middletown.

We have no way of quantifying how many times someone chose not to attack, shoot, stab a law enforcement officer because they were mindful that doing so would likely result in their execution. What we do know is that if killing a law enforcement officer qualifies you for the death penalty then should you kill a law enforcement officer you will not reoffend once your sentence is carried out.

If the inmates charged with killing Lt. Steven Floyd in the Feb. 1 Vaughn prison uprising were found guilty and the death penalty was reinstated, do you approve of prosecutors pursuing execution retroactively?

The animals who killed Lt. Floyd do not deserve to be called inmates. Yes, those animals should certainly be eligible for the death penalty retroactively as should all those who were previously on death row when the our original statute was overturned, if at all possible. The families of those victims deserve nothing less.

For another viewpoint, visit here.

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