God helps those who help murderers

One of the few signs of hope in and around Boston in the struggle against gang violence and street crime has been the churches. They have, for years, worked to wean people away from the cycle of violence, the deadly brutality of the gang life. And they’ve achieved a great deal.

But that is being threatened, as the clergy are now banning together and saying that they will cease their cooperation with local and state officials. And they’re doing it on behalf of two alleged gangstas accused of murder.

As I’ve written before, Massachusetts has no death penalty. The greatest penalty you can receive from the Commonwealth, regardless of the heinousness of your offense, is life in prison, without the possibility of parole.

But Massachusetts law isn’t the highest law. Sometimes, federal officials get involved. And they have in the cases of Darryl Green, 28, and Branden Morris, 22, who have been charged with federal offenses for murder — and prosecutors say that they may seek the death penalty.

And that has the clergy all bothered. They say that they cannot condone the death penalty under any circumstances. And they say that local officials who cooperate with federal officials in cases that may result in a capital conviction are, in essence, bypassing the state’s law forbidding executions. And if they do that, then the clergy will no longer cooperate with those local officials.

The clergy think they’re taking a principled stand here. But to my way of thinking, they’re taking whole communities hostage and threatening to abandon them to the gangs — and their demand is to remove even the threat of executing two accused murderers who haven’t even been convicted yet.

Great going there, padres.

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