Letter: Melanie Fuller, Purcellville

Editor: “There can be no free society without law administered through an independent judiciary. If one man can be allowed to determine for himself what is law, every man can. That means first chaos, then tyranny.” —U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, United States v. United Mine Workers (1947)

I read the recent letter on the death penalty by law student Hannah Dellmuth with a great deal of sadness in my heart. The young woman argues for putting a well-documented, mentally ill 19-year-old to death for his crimes. She personally feels this is the right thing to do. What are they teaching in law school?

We claim to be governed by an independent judiciary, one that does not take revenge into account when deciding punishment. I realize our system fails to operate in this manner on occasion, but it is the goal, is it not? I am not sure any more. I hear people talk about our shared values, but I don’t share these values. What are these mysterious “shared values”?

My heart breaks for the families engulfed in this tragedy. I do not see how state-sponsored killing of a severely mentally ill young man will help bring their children back. Revenge has no place in a civilized modern society.

Melanie Fuller, Purcellville

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