Monthly Archives: September 2008

Troy Davis given another week

CapDefWeekly has the news that Troy Davis’ execution has been stayed another week, at least. He explains:

The stay appears related to his actual innocence claim – the scotusblog.com has the details. The Court appears to be concerned with the question left open in Herrera – whether factual innocence alone is enough to prevent an execution &, assuming the answer is yes, what standard must the condemned show.

Tune in to CDW to get updates.

Georgia almost (and still might) executed an almost certainly innocent man.

Not everything’s a crime

Oh noes!

Two interesting stories from the Nutmeg State in the last month or so remind us rather forcefully that not everything is a crime.

First, we have the tragic death of a two-year old, who shot himself with his father’s gun. Both parents have been charged with risk of injury to a minor. Apparently, the gun was left unlocked and loaded in an accessible location. A very stupid move on the parents’ part and they are paying for it dearly. But will criminal charges accomplish anything? It is an accident and should be treated as one, not as a crime.

Some might argue that prosecuting these negligent parents serves as a deterrent to others, but I think the death of the child is deterrence enough. After all, children have died under such tragic circumstances in the past and criminal prosecutions haven’t prevented further tragic deaths.

Even more curious is this arrest today of a mother who left her child alone at home for four hours:

Police said when the boy arrived at his Richard Street home after school on Friday, Binns was not home.

Police said the boy was found playing in a neighbor’s yard and had no idea of how to contact his mother. The phones in the boy’s home were not working, police said, and the boy had not eaten.

State law doesn’t specify at what age a child may or may not be left alone at home.

So now the State is parenting? The mother probably needs a smack upside the head, but a criminal prosecution? That seems to be a bit of overkill in this case. The child is fine. We’re now punishing her for what might have happened, instead of what did.

Sounds an awful lot like the Guv’nor’s approach to criminal justice.

Whether either of these prosecutions goes anywhere remains to be seen. This also highlights the power wielded by prosecutors. They have the power to drop these prosecutions, or press on, a la Raising the Bar, in the face of common sense that advocates some sort of community service or probation.

Since when have kids become so fragile that they can’t be on their own (in a neighbor’s yard no less) for a few hours? Is stranger danger real or a product of a paranoid society?

And how screwed is Catherine O’Hara?

Monday Morning Jumpstart: Post-Emmy edition

So who watched the Emmys? I’m pretty bummed that Jon Hamm didn’t win, but also quite happy for Malcolm’s father.

Anyway, here are the most interesting legal posts of the past week(end):

  • TalkLeft gives us a primer on the harsh South Dakota abortion law that is being proposed to challenge Roe v. Wade.
  • Bennett urges us to join the NACDL – and at the very least to read new President John Wesley Hall‘s inaugural column [pdf] in Champion.
  • Lawyers make the news – and not in a good way.
  • 35% of lawyers would choose their Blackberries over their spouse…I’ve seen you posting to the listserve from your Blackberry…you know who you are.
  • The Palin e-mail hacker may be caught after all.
  • Anne Reed brings us another jury questionnaire, this time from the trial of a serial killer.
  • Dissenting judge tells plaintiff in civil rights suit to take police cruiser video to youtube – and he does.
  • Scott vocalizes a feeling we’ve all felt: wishing we could help them all.
  • Volokh asks whether non-unanimous jury verdicts in criminal cases are Constitutionally permissible.
  • Injustice Anywhere is back and blogging again. I missed her posts.
  • CapDefenseWeekly’s email edition for this week is here.
  • The Underblawg reminds us that there’s always more to our clients in a powerful sentencing argument.
  • The NYT tackles the one election issue that has meaning to us lawyers: what will the Court look like for the next generation?
  • Jon Katz gives us an update on defending the first federal trial for online copyright infringement that primarily involves music.

That’s all! Enjoy your day! Stay tuned for more posts later and, of course, liveblogging tonight’s episode of Raising The Bar.