John Ashcroft on Crime
Former Attorney General; Former Republican Senator (MO)
John Ashcroft said there is no reason to spare Garza’s life. He said Garza was [found guilty] for three deaths and [was responsible for] five others -- including at least four murders in Mexico for which he was never prosecuted. Ashcroft also said there was no racial bias in the case, emphasizing the prosecutor was Hispanic, as were seven of the eight victims. The Department of Justice, as well, said a recently completed study found no racial bias in the federal system. Garza’s attorney John Howley strongly disagreed, saying “there’s no question that race plays a big part in every death sentence. The fact is we only give out the death penalty in this country to poor, to minorities, and to the mentally retarded,” he said.
“When a fraud upon the court has been perpetrated, then any judgement that the court makes is void,” said McVeigh’s attorney. Another attorney insists that still-undisclosed documents would point to the involvement of others. Ashcroft says the documents contain useless information that poured into the FBI hotline after the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building, which killed 168 people. Ashcroft said, “Based on overwhelming evidence and McVeigh’s own repeated admissions, we know that he is responsible for this crime. We will continue to pursue justice by seeking to carry out the sentence.”
Two distinct voices have rung through the annals of time. The first voice says, "Do whatever you want. It won't make a difference because you're free." The other voice, belonging to God, says, "Choose carefully, because you are meaningful and make a difference." The voice that said, "You're free," does not describe freedom as much as it describes meaninglessness.
Because our lives have meaning, there are consequences to our actions, and we must learn to accept them. Our culture is infected with the thought that freedom means a lack of consequence, but the laws of nature and of nature's God know that there are no inconsequential acts.
Most of the men sentenced to die had been convicted 8 to 12 years prior, and their cases had traveled through numerous legal reviews and evaluations. I had to learn not to assume responsibility that was not mine. My decision was whether to interrupt the process, not whether I would kill.
I chose not to commute this man's death sentence]. Just because a murderer has learned to love the Lord does not mean the state should pardon him. As a Christian, I am willing to forgive him; but as governor, it would have been inappropriate for me to pardon him unless a mistake had been made in the judicial proceedings. Becoming a Christian may remove us from ETERNAL penalties, but it does not relieve us or others from the consequences of our acts.
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