Virginia lawyers are ethically bound to accept any case they are competent to handle. Timothy M. Kaine happened to be competent in death penalty cases; few lawyers are. Therefore, it is unethical for Jerry W. Kilgore, a member of the Virginia bar, to criticize Mr. Kaine for accepting court appointments that are required by the code of professional responsibility ["Kilgore, Kaine Ads Step Up Debate on Death Penalty," Metro, Oct. 12].

Mr. Kilgore's low-ball TV ads seem to do exactly that instead of showing any positive reasons he is fit to become governor.


Hadensville, Va.


While I no longer live in Virginia, I have followed the gubernatorial election campaign with some interest. I was hoping that Republican Jerry Kilgore's decision to make the death penalty the centerpiece of his campaign might not find favor among voters. It is distressing that he or any candidate would champion executions as a reason to vote for him to lead the commonwealth when there are so many other critical issues that need to be addressed.

It's also distressing that almost no one on the "religious" right has come to Democrat Tim Kaine's defense. Conservative Christians are silent here, even though they appear to want candidates to speak to and follow their faiths while in office.


Doylestown, Pa.