Those of you who know me will not be suprised to learn I sent Joe Deter’s office a letter today. I needed to get the words swimming in my head out. I needed to give Esme’s mother a voice. I needed to let someone know how ticked off I really am.
Let me publicily say I like Joe Deters. I met him years ago when he spoke at a Chamber of Commerce event in Middletown and I feel he is a class act. He’s not judge and jury, he doesn’t have all the answers, he is human. I had read over and over the last few days Joe Deters should have done this or should have done this, when as a society are we going to quit armchair quarterbacking and get involved? I am working on a letter to Ted Strickland, I’ll be sending him an email tonight and I encourage anyone reading my blog who doesn’t want another Esme to leave this world way too soon to get to writing.
Thank you for your email. There are no good answers to your questions. There are evil people in this world who do evil things. The only solution is to lock these people up and keep them off the streets for as long as possible. As you know, there is a shortage of jail (local) and prison (state) space in Ohio. Mr. Deters spearheaded a drive for a new jail in 2006, but received little help from city leaders. The levy failed, as did a subsequent levy, by an even wider margin. The result is that it is difficult to use incarceration as a deterrent or a punishment.
The blog entry you refer to in your email is ill-informed. Not every murder is death eligible. In Kirkland’s 1987 case, he strangled his girlfriend during an argument. That is not a death penalty case. He was appropriately convicted of voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to 7 to 25 years incarceration. That was the maximum sentence.
Secondly, Mr. Deters was not the prosecutor in 1987. In 1997, when Kirkland came up for parole, Mr. Deters did oppose his release and he was, in fact, not released. Mr. Deters was not the prosecutor in 2003 when Kirkland was granted parole after having served 16 years.
Third, since Kirkland’s release he has gone to trial on all of his felony indictments. He was acquitted once, and convicted in bench trials twice. The judges impose sentences, not the prosecutor. None of these convictions gave the judges the power to “eliminate Kirkland from existence” as the anonymous blogger demands.
A civilized society does in fact have problems dealing with evil people. More jail and prison space would help. The Governor of Ohio is now pushing to further reduce Ohio’s already weak sentencing provisions. What impact do you think this will have on people like Mr. Kirkland?
William E. Breyer
Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office