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01 September 2010

Democratic A.G. Candidate Says Speed Up Appeals Process for Quicker Executions

The following is a press release from the Ken Hodges for Attorney General campaign:

Last week, Ken’s work protecting Georgians made news—in a case that still weighs heavy on his heart.

In 1994, a South Georgia woman was viciously murdered and left on the side of a dirt road. Ken went after her killer, Marcus Ray Johnson, and he was condemned to death by a Dougherty County Jury. This death sentence—the ultimate penalty—was upheld by a Federal Appeals Court last week.

When asked about the case, Ken said “The malicious and senseless attack on Angela Sizemore was one of the most horrific cases to cross my desk when I was District Attorney. The defendant did not then, nor has he ever, shown any remorse for his actions and he is without question deserving of the most serious penalty the citizens of Dougherty County can impose.”

“Seeking justice for the victims of violent criminals like Marcus Ray Johnson is why I am running for Attorney General. Victims need an advocate standing up for them in the Attorney General’s office, and all Georgians need an Attorney General who has the experience and determination to defend death penalty cases on appeal. I applaud the 11th Circuit’s decision to uphold the death sentence I secured more than a decade ago, and I pledge to work as Attorney General to ensure that crime victims receive justice.”

Ken also took the opportunity to call for reform of the capital punishment process.

“The case of Marcus Ray Johnson—who was sentenced to death 12 years ago—is a perfect example of one of the flaws in Georgia’s death penalty process. To fulfill our commitment to victims’ families and Georgia’s taxpayers, the appeals process must be expedited so that death sentences can be carried out more quickly,” he said.

Ken strongly believes that when the state sentences criminals to death, we ought to use all resources at our disposal—like DNA testing—to ensure justice has been done. And, in the interest of justice, these appeals need to be heard quickly and fully, and if upheld, the sentences carried out swiftly. It is the right thing to do for victim’s families, and Georgia’s taxpayers.

The Attorney General has the responsibility to represent the state in all capital punishment appeals. Ken Hodges is the only candidate for Attorney General who has made the difficult decision as a prosecutor to seek the death penalty against some of Georgia’s worst offenders, and the only candidate with the experience it takes to defend death penalty appeals.

We all need to do what we can to elect Ken Hodges as Georgia’s Attorney General. Tragic cases, like that of Angela Sizemore, are all the reasons we should need.