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Televised Executions

May 12, 1991

Your editorial (April 23) about habeas corpus limits and Death Row prisoners was very well taken. There is still no evidence that the death penalty provides any benefit to society. In order to minimize error, it will always cost more to execute a prisoner than it will to keep him alive--unless the next step is to follow the criminal example and execute without a proper trial.

Now the Supreme Court is once again willing to compromise our entire system of justice and erode every citizen's rights just to execute a handful of people as symbolic sacrifices, when it will have no effect on murder rates even if we execute 10 times the number we do now in the United States.

If we would direct our national effort toward providing an enforceable "life term without possibility of parole" for capital cases, we would not only save millions of dollars in court costs (appeals are drastically reduced when the death penalty is not involved), we would make a program of true victim restitution practical.

MARK LEVITON, Granada Hills

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