Your Nov. 30 editorial summarized my criticism of Governor Fletcher's refusal to commute the death sentence of T. C. Bowling in these words: "The signing of a death warrant contradicts the governor's commitment to 'moral values,' including his opposition to abortion."
I was not writing about "a death warrant" in general, but about the T.C. Bowling case. Even supporters of the death penalty should favor commutation for Bowling. He had incompetent defense counsel during his trial, the case against him was thinly circumstantial, the prosecution failed to establish motive, and he is marginally retarded. On June 25, 2002, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that executing the retarded was unconstitutional "cruel and unusual punishment." Bowling's I.Q. is close to the usual definition of retardation, and there is ample testimony that he has exhibited throughout his life the kind of dysfunctional behavior associated with retardation.
My point was that the weakness of the prosecution's case, combined with the mental infirmity of Bowling, was good reason not to inflict the ultimate and irremediable penalty of death.