Dr. Kenneth Deck's letter (Dec. 6) regarding my defense of and comments about condemned killer Tom Edwards has troubled me greatly. I have never stated publicly that Edwards could be rehabilitated. To the contrary, I told both judge and jury in two of his three trials that he had unfortunately forfeited his right to live in an open society and that life without the possibility of parole was the appropriate sentence.
This in no way attenuates my moral belief that the death penalty is too severe for Edwards in particular, because it is too severe for anyone . I know it is considered temperate for defense lawyers today to aver that the death penalty is appropriate in some cases but not for their client.
In a society that claims leadership in human values, it is hypocritical to preach pro-life at home, anti-apartheid to South Africa, religious freedom to the U.S.S.R., democracy to Haiti, while we have the largest Death Rows in the free world. If life is sacred, all life is sacred: the life of Vanessa Iberri that Deck tried to save in the trauma room, the life of Edwards that I tried to save in the courtroom.