"It has been suggested that the death penalty be reinstituted in the city. What are your views on that matter?" Staff writer Sandra G. Boodman and staff photographer Linda Wheeler went to downtown Washington to talk to District residents.
George Shear, 20, flower vendor, 5th Street NW: "I think there should be a death penalty. I support it for shooting a police officer, murder or rape."
Kee Malesky, 27, Artist, 15th and Otis streets NE: "I'm definitely against the death penalty. It's not a deterrent to crime, but I'm mostly opposed on a humanistic basis. I don't think the state has the right to execute people."
Richard Smith, 21, student, 22nd and F streets NW: "I don't support the death penalty for rape because you're not taking someone's life. But for pre-meditated murder, then I think it's warranted."
John Alfino, 21, law student, 25th and K streets NW: "Two views have been commonly espoused: "The first is that there should be a death penalty because retribution is justified and the second is that it's inhumane. I can see both views, but on balance I favor not reinstituting it because it's archaic and not a deterrent."
Michael Galbraith, 26, student, 29th and Calvert streets: "I'm definitely against it. It's been proven sociologically and psychologically that the death penalty has no deterrent effect. Morally and ethically I'm categorically opposed."
Sharon Walters, 24, staff assistant, 20th and O streets NW: "I have conflicting feelings because I don't believe in the death penalty but I think there should be stronger deterrent to crime. Given the high cost of prison maintenance I think some people might wrongly view the death penalty as a alternative."
Neville Sparks, 37, painter, 14th and Upshur streets NW: "A man should pay for what he does if it involves killing or rape, but not stealing. When a man doesn't have money he'll steal for what he needs."