A Plea for Clemency

I’m against the death penalty. It’s no secret. I think the concept is downright bizarre, actually. But this isn’t about my viewpoints or what I believe, necessarily. This morning, I was listening to a Podcast of The Rachel Maddow Show on Air America. I do this every morning, actually. I load up my Nano and head into work. The hour goes by better if I’m listening to something other than the grunts and farts of my fellow commuters.

On Wednesday night, Robin Lovitt, a convicted murderer, is scheduled to die by lethal injection in the state of Virginia. Since his arrest, he has claimed he is innocent. And Gov. Mark R Warner, is the only person who can save his life.

Now, I know what you might be thinking, you might be thinking why would he want to do that? After all, Lovitt is a convicted murderer. Here, in lies the problem.

It would seem that an Arlington Circuit Court clerk threw away DNA evidence that could have otherwise proved Lovitt’s innocence. Well, that sucks.

Gov. Mark R. Warner is said to be a pretty solid candidate for the upcoming 2008 Democratic presidential election. Considering Virginia has executed more inmates than any state but Texas and Warner hasn’t granted clemency to one person since he’s taken office, I think it would send one heck of a message if he grants Lovitt’s plea. Especially considering the system planning on executing him lost the only evidence that could free him.

Edited to Add: I love it how one newspaper reports “mistakenly threw away DNA evidence that could have proved his claim.” and another reads “deliberately destroyed evidence that Lovitt’s lawyers claim might save his life.” If I hadn’t read it firsthand, I’d have guessed that second bit of reporting came from The New York Post.


  1. Well,
    I sent Mark Warner an e-mail asking him to grant Lovitt clemency. I’m sure he’ll listen to me.


  2. After reading the background on that case, it seems like it would be a giant political mistake if Warner doesn’t grant clemency. The past Governer is for it, conservative groups are for it, liberal groups are obviousy for it – all at elast on the common platform that ‘yeah, the state screwed up. we shoudn’t risk someone’s life on this’.

    It seems the only people who aren’t for it are the DA’s office / court system, who really fucked up and want this to go away fast.


  3. Well, let’s hope that he will grant clemency right before the execution is to take place. After all, politicians do things to better their chances at getting more voters. Perhaps this is just the sort of stunt one hopes for to be noticed. Let’s hope he’s waiting until the last minute for that and not that he plans on just letting this one go.


  4. Well, it looks like he’d be decimated in the polls if he lets it go. The conservatives are for clemency in this case, the liberals are for clemency in this case. He walks into a debate with a dem and a republican, and they just say “How could you not grant clemency in this case? It’s something that BOTH sides agree on. Even your republican/democrat opponent was for it!”

    I mean—the state’s position on the matter is that dna didn’t substantiate the conviction, but that is completely obliterated by the simple truth that when DNA evidence isn’t used to get a solid conviction, it tends to completely exonerate the accused.


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