BREAKING NEWS: Jack Billion's two positions on the death penalty


I was perusing the Rapid City Journal this AM when I read the story about Jack Billion and the Death Penalty in the story titled: Billion says questions about execution remain by Kevin Woster:
Jack Billion said Thursday that he believes the death penalty is “an acceptable alternative” in South Dakota but stopped short of saying he would have allowed confessed murderer Elijah Page to be executed in August.


Billion also said he didn’t have enough information to say whether he would have allowed Page to die in August. Billion said he doesn’t believe that the death penalty is a deterrent against crime but would honor the wishes of the majority of South Dakotans who support capital punishment.

Asked if he believes in capital punishment, Billion said: “In my heart, I believe the death penalty is an acceptable alternative. But I also think it needs to be re-visited.”
Wait a minute. I KNOW I've read something from him with an opinion to the contrary. It took me a while for the rusty wheels in my head to click.

And I found it. Check this statement out from an article in the Black Hills Pioneer this past April:
With two young men currently on death row in South Dakota, one member inquired about Billion's thoughts on the death penalty. Billion said because state money is spent on the appeal process, he is against it. After several appeals, the money can add up. "States with a life only policy do fairly well economically," Billion said.
Read it all here.

What? "Because state money is spent on the death penalty, he is against it?" He is against it? Now wait a minute? Isn't he now saying it's "an acceptable alternative?"

Pardon me, but that seems a bit "contradictory."

Speaking of contradiction, oddly enough, in today's edition of the Black Hills Pioneer, the exact same newspaper he stated his opposition to the death penalty in, Billion criticizes Rounds with ironic words:
As a doctor, Jack Billion took a pledge to do no harm. As governor, Billion said he would be willing to allow the execution of a prisoner to go forward, despite his personal feelings on the effectiveness of the death penalty. He said his views are clearer and better thought out than those of Gov. Mike Rounds.
So, his views are clearer and better though out than those of the Governor. Despite the fact the same newspaper reports him in April being against the death penalty, but now today, he's for it.

I can understand being conflicted on the death penalty, but stating you're against it, and now being for it, that seems a bit more than conflicted. And certainly much less than being "clearer and better thought out."


Anonymous said…
Amazing- Billion has been harping on Rounds for "inconsitent statements" re: the death penalty for weeks and it turns out he is the one who is inconsistent on the death penalty issue. What a hypocrite.
Anonymous said…
Why isn't the MSM reporting this? This is a big story.
Anonymous said…
I don't see anything inconsistent with this. He said he might as governor allow an execution to go forward. He stated he understands that death penalty cases cost the state a ton of money.

I think the death penalty costs a ton of money. I think the death penalty does not deter crime and the statistics support that. There are many cases where people were executed or on death row for years and later found innocent. I am not saying I would oppose every execution either. I'm not taking two positions on the death penalty. I see it as a complex issue that can't be jammed into one black or white stance. I don't fault Billion for this either.

What I want to know is why Rounds and Long bungled the entire process so horribly.
todd douglas said…
This is not a shocking development. Billion's been consistent. I seen where Billion is against the Death Penalty on his responses to the 2006 questionnaire at Project Vote Smart.
Anonymous said…
Justice is not for sale to the lowest bidder.

Jack Billion scares me because he wants to use a cost basis system to determine whether or not a judicially ordered sentence should be carried out.

That means he beleives money is the biggest driver behind what is right and wrong on issues of life and death and violent crime.

What's next? Cost counting the number of hours a State's attorney or attorney general is spending on prosecuting dangerous felons.
Anonymous said…
Ha! John Kerry revisited. "I actually opposed the death penalty before I supported it."

By the way, I think Jack's off in his comments about the appeals process. Prisoners serving life sentences also appeal their convictions over and over and over....

Tomorrow, he'll be opposed to life sentences. The next day? Who knows?
Anonymous said…
Billion is dancing around the death penalty issue like Tina Turner on a sugar kick. So does he support the death penalty- Yes or No?
Anonymous said…
Anon 5:08 pm - Weren't people asking that same question about Rounds a few weeks ago?
Anonymous said…
At least Rounds has been consistent in his support for the death penalty- he just wants it done according to state law and is working to fix the law so the state can do it right. Billion is obviously opposed to the death penalty, but is trying to hide his true position for political gain.
Anonymous said…
This is a yawner thread. Billion says the DP should stay bc it is the will of the people, but it can be expensive.

So what.

As Governor, he'd not be practicing medicine so lose the Hypocrates crap unless you hold Frist to the fire on the same line.

PP, spinning makes you dizzy.
Anonymous said…
There is nothing inconsistant about Jack's positions:

1) Death is expensive. It's a do-or-die appeal to the end, and the state has to go all 12 rounds. The investment is iffy, because ...

2) He's not sure that it is a significant deterrent. His opinion mirrors the evidence, which is sketchy.

3) If the people (and the governor DOES work for the people) want some proven turd killed, he'd do it.

There are NO PHILOSOPHICAL INCONSISTANCIES in the above statements. Just a tendency toward thinking ... rare.

Beats the Hell out of (read like Igor)

"Death GOOOOD! Death BAAAAD!"
Anonymous said…
Doesn't matter. Take out a third mortgage and bet on Rounds. He can't loose. The rest of you TRYING to believe otherwise remind me of Beddow/Schmidt/Harr and my alltime fav. Berkhout drones.
Anonymous said…
Silas said…
The difference between a partisan blogger's report and that of a real reporter here is that the real reporter will note in one instance Jack Billion was asked specific question about a delay in a scheduled execution and in the other about his general philosophy on the death penalty.

There is a difference--but not in South Dakota with its brand of cheap, tawdry, and not-particularly-bright politics.
Anonymous said…
Between now an the next story, don't forget Stephanie's PRO-CHOICE!
Anonymous said…
On Billion's website he has a press release on the death penalty. The last line says,

"The people of South Dakota now deserve straight answers from Mike Rounds."

I agree. But it also seems we could use some straight answers from Billion. Is he for the death penalty or not?
Anonymous said…
Don't forget that Billion was quoted by the AP that he was "ambivalent" about the death penalty.
What separates the sterotypical conservative vs. liberal is a conservative will do the right thing and damn the cost. The liberal will do the right thing only when it's inevitable or politically beneficial. I'll give you another example; the abortion debate. It's not should abortion be allowed but it's too expensive or we might be boycotted as a state. The pro-life people (Republicans and Democrats) have values that transend money which liberals are incapable of understanding.
This is a clear example of the pot calling the kettle black even though Rounds has said 100 times he supports the death penalty.

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