Fiery Judge Jeanine: Clayton Lockett Deserved ‘Nothing Less Than the Ultimate Punishment’
Below is a transcript of Judge Jeanine Pirro's closing statement on convicted killer Clayton Lockett, whose botched execution made headlines this week.
There was outrage that it took 43 minutes for convicted killer [Clayton] Lockett to die. Indeed, the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the death penalty in itself does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
The only issue for debate: is 43 minutes cruel and unusual?
The death penalty evokes a knee-jerk reaction. Opponents can't understand why it would ever be considered. Supporters can't understand why it's so rarely sought.
I am not one of those people who thinks that the death penalty necessarily deters murders. But what I do know is that the death penalty will specifically deter someone who has killed from killing again. But for me, the most important reason to impose the death penalty is that it is just punishment.
Although we say we want justice, the reality of seeking it is a different matter.
The press most often focuses on the criminal. We long to find reasonable explanations for horrific criminal acts.
We want to believe that the most violent criminals are better now, that they won't do it again.
Rarely do we even think about the victim.
My take: Stephanie was 19. She was not only a teenager, she was an only child. She had her whole life ahead of her. She didn't do anything wrong. Her misfortune? She was at the right place at the wrong time where her predator and his accomplices turned her innocent life into a nightmare.
She was violated again and again, shot in the head and buried alive.
Her screams and her cries and her hours of unbearable pain and degradation preceded her death.
Lockett committed the ultimate crime. He deserves nothing less than the ultimate punishment. To me, he has forfeited not only his right to walk freely among the rest of us, but also his right to breathe our air, eat our food, and share our space on this earth. We should not be required to endure his existence for a moment longer than is absolutely necessary. Indeed, we should be allowed to purge our sensibilities of him.
Lockett chose to be a murderer. Stephanie did not choose to be murdered.
The unspeakable atrocities that she endured. Her screams for mercy went unanswered. Lockett should be given the same mercy that he gave his victim, Stephanie. And that would be none. Forty-three minutes be damned.