Letters: Craig case shows problems

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In 1994, Dale Dwayne Craig was convicted and sentenced to death for carjacking Kipp Earl Gullett from the Kirby Smith

In 1994, Dale Dwayne Craig was convicted and sentenced to death for carjacking Kipp Earl Gullett from the Kirby Smith dormitory parking lot two years earlier, taking the 18-year-old LSU freshman to an isolated site, beating and pistol-whipping him, and shooting him several times in the head after Gullett begged for his life. Gullet was guilty of nothing that evening; he was merely a convenient target of opportunity for Craig and his friends’ cruelty.

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One would think that a death sentence, carried out with reasonable promptness, was eminently appropriate for someone committing a crime such as Craig’s. But despite a guilty verdict, a death penalty recommendation by the jury, and a death sentence by the trial judge, appellate judges suborned a two-decade continuing miscarriage of justice by serially entertaining spurious appeals on Craig’s behalf by anti-death penalty lawyers. And prosecutors and all the supporting minions of the court also got paid to interminably defend and adjudicate Craig’s death sentence. In 20 years of legal maneuvering, Craig never had any serious likelihood of being exonerated.

Death penalty opponents love to cite the millions it costs to execute a condemned convict, but such costs are nearly entirely created by them by limitless calculated delays and never-ending bogus claims and objections, all with the acquiescence of the courts.

But now Craig is off the hook for the death penalty. The delaying tactics worked in his case. Because Craig was one week short of 18 when he committed his crime, he will not be put to death. The Supreme Court in its fatuous quest for perfect criminal justice since at least the Miranda decision — and on the public dime, of course, and regardless of any negative impact on actual justice and any harm to victims’ families such as Gullett’s — decided in 2012 that delicate, naive children such as Craig shouldn’t have to pay the ultimate penalty no matter how egregiously vicious and callous their crimes.

Now, Louisiana taxpayers, after supporting Craig in prison for the past 25 years since he murdered Gullett, and paying for lawyers to argue before judges much of that period over the correctness and fairness of the verdict and the sentence, must again pay the judicial division of the crime industry to ruminate over Craig’s fate. Now, I expect, we will have to support and keep healthy Craig's despicable self for the remainder of his life.

Ron Sammonds Jr.

retired engineer

Baton Rouge

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