Our View: Profiles in Cowardice

May 23, 2013
In blocking the execution of Nathan Dunlap, Hickenlooper has placed himself squarely on the wrong side of justice and the rule of law

In blocking the execution of murderer Nathan Dunlap, Hickenlooper has placed himself squarely on the wrong side of justice and the rule of law

Throughout the course of the 2013 legislative session, Coloradans knew that at long last, Governor John Hickenlooper was slated to actually make a decision for once in his governorship.  The quirky, goofy, aloof Governor of Denver has made a name for himself by contorting his positions on issues so as to be all things to all people. 

That decision arrived at John Hickenlooper’s desk this week in the form of a request from Chuck E Cheese murderer Nathan Dunlap, who was slated to be executed in August.  With all of his appeals exhausted, Dunlap’s hopes hinged on a governor with a record of supporting the death penalty and threatening his fellow Democrats this year with a veto if they pursued a repeal of Colorado’s ultimate punishment.  In short, it didn’t look good for Dunlap.

Which brings us to Governor Hickenlooper’s bumbling, yammering twenty minute long press conference at the State Capitol yesterday.  In announcing a baffling executive order granting Dunlap “temporary reprieve,” Hickenlooper effectively flipped his position on the death penalty.

While suggesting that his order was designed to be respectful of the families of victims, jurors in the case and even prosecutors and the judge, we can’t possibly see how any of the aforementioned would view this move as being anything other than a direct slap in the face. Hickenlooper caved in and a murderous coward gets to avoid the sentence handed down by a jury of his peers. Justice? Hardly.

At a press conference hastily organized at the Capitol in reaction to Hickenlooper’s announcement, 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler rightfully called out Hickenlooper’s striking inability to make tough decisions.  Understandably outraged, Brauchler went straight at the Governor’s cowardly decision and gave a voice to the families of Dunlap’s victims who are beside themselves with grief and anger after learning of Hickenlooper’s decision.

While the Governor and his team of cracker-jack advisors might think they figured out a perfect way to keep a foot in both camps of this polarizing issue, we suspect Colorado voters won’t take kindly to this Governor’s brand of “leadership” in 2014.

Taking both sides of contentious debates over fracking or union issues is one thing; granting effective clemency to a murderous thug is quite another.

In issuing the reprieve order on Wednesday, Governor Hickenlooper placed himself squarely on the wrong side of justice, the rule of law and the vast majority of voters in Colorado on this issue.  And that’s something the people of this state won’t soon forget.

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3 Responses to Our View: Profiles in Cowardice

  1. MainFrank
    May 23, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    This is nothing short of a betrayal. If he had run on an anti-death penalty platform in 2010, then I might understand it. But to pull this rabbit out of his hat when none of us wanted to be at a magic show? Disgraceful. There are a lot of difficult, complicated issues out there – including the death penalty. But what Americans and Coloradans need more than ever is good, old-fashioned competency. And we’re not getting it. This hard-won sentence should have been somberly carried out by our leadership. Too bad they couldn’t be adults.

  2. John Moreno
    June 1, 2013 at 7:58 am

    Hick can’t even do nothing at all very well. What a tragic disgrace for all of Colorado.

  3. Ronald Murphy
    June 9, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Hopefully another one term Dem.


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