Convictions remain unchanged by court hearings

Tuesday, January 29, 2008 | 10:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:51 p.m. CST, Monday, February 2, 2009

Reflecting on the past year’s columns, I find that two of those subjects are being considered before the Supreme Court and a third was adjudicated in the local courts. Regardless of the decisions rendered in these hearings, to wit: voter photo identification, lethal injections in death penalty cases and a drunken driving arrest and subsequent judgment, my convictions are not altered. Reaction to my voter identification column was both varied and predictable. However, it was a bit surprising that Rep. Baker appeared unaware that a Missouri voter is required to provide positive identification before being given a ballot.

The photo ID issue has controverted any reasonable discussion. The Republicans believe it is necessary to prevent voter fraud; conversely, the Democrats claim it is an evil plot to disenfranchise the poor, the elderly and the disabled. That either political party owns a monopoly on the disadvantaged is a bit much to swallow.

The battle over whether lethal injection is a violation of the 8th Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment in administering the death penalty has been a controversial one since its inception. It has been under fire primarily from death penalty opponents as inherently cruel.

This issue is little more than an attempted run around the will of the majority who remain in favor of the death penalty in those cases so heinous as to defy human behavior. For example, what penalty, short of execution, is suitable for the recent rape and murder of 9-year-old Rowan Ford of Stella, Mo., or the 2005 kidnap, rape and murder of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford in Miami, Fla.? Capital punishment is and should be a last resort penalty, but it is one that is earned by its perpetrators.

Finally, the column in which I defended Sen. Graham following his October drunken driving accident and arrest was not well received by those on my side of the political fence. I do not regret my position; however, the aftermath left a bad taste in my mouth. Sen. Graham’s mandatory one-year suspension was set aside in Boone County Circuit Court because Graham did not “legally refuse” a breath test. When one considers that the senator rear-ended a vehicle at a stop sign, appeared impaired to the on-scene police officer and, according to the police report, refused six requests to take a breath test, is this not a classic case of “lawyering up”?

“Animal Farm” is alive and well: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Karl Miller retired as a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. A Columbia resident, he can be reached via e-mail at

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