Mark Earley, former Virginia attorney general, now opposes death penalty

Mark L. Earley, Virginia’s attorney general during one of the busiest execution stretches in modern state history, has changed his mind about capital punishment.

“If you believe that the government always ‘gets it right,’ never makes serious mistakes, and is never tainted with corruption, then you can be comfortable supporting the death penalty,” he wrote in a recent essay for the University of Richmond Law Review.

“I no longer have such faith in the government and, therefore, cannot and do not support the death penalty,” wrote Earley, attorney general from 1998 until June 3, 2001, when he resigned to run for governor.