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The Whole Country Is Texas

For the first time ever, the U.S. Attorney General is seeking the death penalty in a Minnesota/North Dakota case. John Ashcroft recommended that, if found guilty, the prosecution should seek the death penalty against Alfonso Rodriguez Jr who has been charged with the kidnapping and murder of Dru Sjodin. The case is being tried federally due to the belief Rodriguez transferred Sjodin over state lines.

I’m not a death penalty guy, but I certainly do not wish to defend Rodriguez. Yet this morning I heard an interesting reason, of three given, for seeking the death penalty. To paraphrase, one reason for the greatest of punishments was because of the damage and pain Sjodin’s death caused the communities she was a part of. This seems like a particularly difficult reason to defend. Is it in our interest to gauge punishment based on the “value” assigned to normal citizen?

The crossing state lines portion also confuses me. So I assume kidnapping is the only crime he could have possibly committed while crossing state lines. For some reason I doubt murder could be done while crossing between states. Murder is the crime warranting the death penalty in this case. What if they find he didn’t cross state lines? Is the whole case thrown out? I hope the desire for Rodriguez’s death doesn’t result in him being free. Any insight into these questions would be appreciated.