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Opening Arguments

Executing the mentally ill

In commuting the death sentence of Arthur P. Baird II, Gov. Mitch Daniels has not quite set the stage for the debate on capital punishment and the profoundly mentally ill that some had hoped would begin. The governor mostly talked about the fact that life without parole was not an option when Baird was convicted, and the victims' family members and all the jurors who have made their opinions known would have preferred that sentence for him.

But perhaps Daniels left the door open for such a debate, because there was also this:

“Courts recognized Mr. Baird as suffering from mental illness at the time he committed the murders, and Indiana Supreme Court Justice Ted Boehm recently wrote that Mr. Baird is