Monthly Archives: April 2012

Monday Morning Jumpstart

Oh, hello. It’s been a while, eh? Yes, this former Monday Morning staple has unfortunately gone the way of the dodo, given my newfound love of sleeping in a little longer than I used to. Today, however, blessed with an oncoming cold, I have just enough time to throw some links your way before I drink a whole bottle of Benadryl and follow it up with some hand sanitizer.

So. Enjoy this one-off Jumpstart:

  • The AP has this piece on the litigation sure to be prompted by the repeal of the death penalty.
  • The Courant has this lengthy piece on the delays in awarding compensation to those exonerated by DNA in CT.
  • Here’s an Op-Ed on the repeal of the death penalty that purports to be deep, but in the end spews pro-death talking points and misuses stats.
  • Natapoff in Slate calls for all of us to start paying attention the millions of misdemeanor convictions entered each year.
  • The problem with composite sketches. See how many suspects are rendered in the sketches.
  • In case you spent the last few days buried under a rock, here’s a widely distributed AP profile of George Zimmerman.
  • The Senate should vote any time now to legalize medical marijuana and Sunday binges liquor sales.
  • Here’s a nice little rundown of some of the major bills in the legislature.
  • Ken Lammers at KrimLaw poses a self-defense hypothetical.
  • Gamso provides the counter-point to this David Dow piece on LWPOR being a terrible idea.
  • Antonin I. Pribetic, the Canadian Trial Warrior (TM), hosts this week’s Blawg Review.
  • The ACS Blog has this piece on Scalia’s ugly, unwield, ever-growing influence on the Roberts Court [Bonus from the same source: on originalism and cruel and unusual punishments].
  • Mark Bennett suggests that citizens can – and should – arrest TSA officers for violating the law (In Texas. Do not try at home).
  • Remember SOPA? It’s back, with a different name, but just as bad. Has the fight left us?
  • Finally, I wrote earlier about a stupid bill in the CT legislature and I should’ve added the video below to that post, but that would’ve been going too far. So it’s here instead.

Send soup.

The Contest

Neutered animals

There seems to exist a rule of lawmaking that every good policy decision must not go unpunished and must be equally balanced by a completely bone-headed one. That logic and good sense must be sacrificed at the altar of fear-mongering at least once every legislative session.

Given all the good work the CT legislature has done this year, it seemed inevitable that someone would end up being spanked. Sure enough, a bill has made its way out of committee that underlines the commonly-held belief that any good work that comes out of a legislature is sheer, blind luck and most of the bills passed are ineffectual at best or mind-bogglingly stupid at worst.

This particular euphemism would not only make it a Class D felony – punishable by up to 5 years’ incarceration – but also place the offender on a public sex offender registry. The act? Committing a “lewd act” while in prison.

The bill, says the Department of Correction, is necessary because inmates often expose themselves and masturbate in front of staff members. In 2011 alone, there were 390 such incidents committed by 94 inmates.

Wait. Hang on.

94 inmates? Out of approximately 17,000 at any given time? That’s 0.55% of the inmate population. That’s barely half of one percent of the entire population in all of CT’s prisons.

And for this we need a new crime? One that would impose a mandatory consecutive sentence no less? And one that would land the offender on a sex offender registry for 10 years, presumably with the short description that “this person exposed himself in prison”.

Have we suddenly solved every other problem that plagues the State of Connecticut that this is all that remains to be whipped? Are the administrative punishments so limp that this is even viewed as a necessity? (Clearly, they are not, as evidenced by the offender rate of 0.55%. There exists a deterrent, and an effective one.)

Although the masturbation aspect of this bill will garner the most headlines, it is important to note that the bill is broader than that. It criminalizes any “lewd exposure”. What that is will be known when we see it. Presumably, any exposure than a correctional officer decides they do not like will be lewd.

The second clause of the bill, presumably inserted because even the drafters recognized the outrageous nature of it, is a red herring and a lie. It states that this lewd exposure or masturbation “may reasonably be expected to be viewed by a reasonably identifiable employee of the Department of Correction”. Umm, hello? It’s a fucking prison. Every living second “may reasonably be expected to be viewed by a reasonably identifiable employee of the Department of Correction”.

Public indecency, in the free world, is defined as:

(1) an act of sexual intercourse, (2) a lewd exposure of the body with intent to arouse or satisfy his or her sexual desire, or (3) a lewd fondling or caress of another’s body.

When not in prison, this act is designated as a Class B misdemeanor, worthy of no more than 6 months in jail. In that same jail, it is apparently 10 times more despicable.

Masturbation in prisons – or lewd exposure – is about two things: sexual release and maintain a modicum of dignity. We strip inmates of their humanity, we strip them of their privacy, we strip them of their freedom, we strip them of their clothes and perform cavity searches, we strip them of any semblance of privacy, we treat them like animals and then we act surprised – shocked, even – when they use the only thing we can’t take away from them, their bodies, to regain a sense of control over their situations.

Meanwhile, rapes in prison go unnoticed, condoms aren’t passed out, disease is rampant and staff exert immense physical and sexual control over their wards. And yet all we want to do is flog the prisoners more. Treating them like animals isn’t enough, we want to neuter them.

[Let’s not forget the preposterous cost implications of this 5 year consecutive requirement: the current average cost of housing an immate is $44,000+ per year. For every inmate who is convicted of this nonsense, we’re adding $220,000 to the DOC’s already bloated budget.]

Norm has more.

Relegating McCleskey

Twenty five years ago yesterday, the United States Supreme Court issued one if its most shameful opinions in recent history: McCleskey v. Kemp, in which it willfully turned a blind eye to racial discrimination in death penalty cases and prohibited citizens from raising claims of racial bias leading to the imposition of death sentences. The Court in McCleskey, assuming that the Baldus study [.doc] was accurate, nevertheless:

categorically rejected the idea that statistical evidence was sufficient to show a constitutional violation, requiring instead that a defendant show “exceptionally clear proof” of discrimination under the facts of his or her own case. This near impossibility effectively shut the door to any thing short of “smoking gun” evidence of intentional discrimination — evidence that is unlikely to exist, or unlikely to be discovered by the defense.

From this post the ACLU’s McCleskey project website. That is to say, the Court made it near impossible to prove the standard, particularly in light of the fact that contacting individual jurors and asking them about their personal racial biases is a non-starter. The Court’s rationale in rejecting McCleskey’s claim wasn’t that racial discrimination in the criminal justice system didn’t exist, but rather that it was “inevitable” and, as Justice Brennan put it, the majority was afraid of having to dispense too much justice. Rather than confront the reality that the system is terribly flawed and skewed against people of color, especially in the death penalty context, the Court did what was natural to any petulant 5-year old: run in the other direction, hands over their ears, yelling at the top of their lungs so as to not let reality set in.

[Interestingly, as heretofore unknown to me, was a Scalia memorandum prior to the decision in McCleskey, which said:

Since it is my view that the unconscious operation of irrational sympathies and antipathies, including racial, upon jury decisions and (hence) prosecutorial decisions is real, acknowledged in the decisions of this court, and ineradicable, I cannot say that all I need is more proof.

Shorter Scalia: it’s there, it’s real and we can’t change it, so why even bother?]

McCleskey, of course, is also famous for being the one vote that Justice Powell, in his later years, regretted. Which brings me to the point of this post. While no courts would ever seriously consider a systemic bias claim in light of McCleskey, that doesn’t mean legislatures aren’t free to mandate such a consideration. In 2009, North Carolina did just that, with its Racial Justice Act. And last week, we saw the results. In the first ever decision applying the RJA, Superior Court Judge Greg Weeks held [PDF] that Marcus Robinson’s death sentence must be commuted to life without the possibility of release because of racial bias in the jury selection process:

Race played a “persistent, pervasive and distorting role” in jury selection and couldn’t be explained other than that “prosecutors have intentionally discriminated” against Robinson and other capital defendants statewide, Weeks said. Prosecutors eliminated black jurors more than twice as often as white jurors, according to a study by two Michigan State University law professors Weeks said he found highly reliable.

The Michigan State University study [PDF] produced some stunning findings:

It reported that, of almost 160 people on North Carolina’s death row, 31 had all-white juries, and 38 had only one person of color.

More here. The MSU study of capital charging and sentencing found that those who kill whites are more likely to get the death penalty than those who kill blacks. The MSU study found that a defendant is 2.6 times more likely to get the death penalty if the victim is white.

It isn’t enough for us in the system to “know” that there is racial bias. It isn’t enough for us to throw our hands up and shrug. It isn’t enough that we pay lip service. We must relegate McCleskey to the dustbin of history, alongside cases like Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson. We must do something more. David Baldus, may he rest in peace, did. Gov. Beverly Perdue, who vetoed a repeal of the RJA, did. Judge Greg Weeks did.

Who’s next?

Recording racial profiling

In somewhat of a banner day at the CT Senate (this is turning out to be quite the legislative session), two bills passed that chamber of the legislature and move to the House for its approval. Both bills have to do with police behavior, both having been in the spotlight recently.

The first is a bill that not only makes it clear that it is legal for citizens to record police officers, but also provides a cause of action for a lawsuit against officers who illegally prevent citizens from conducting such video recording:

(b) A peace officer who interferes with any person taking a photographic or digital still or video image of such peace officer or another peace officer acting in the performance of such peace officer’s duties shall, subject to sections 5-141d, 7-465 and 29-8a of the general statutes, be liable to such person in an action at law, suit in equity or other proper proceeding for redress.

There are some exceptions, however, to civil liability:

(c) A peace officer shall not be liable under subsection (b) of this section if the peace officer had reasonable grounds to believe that the peace officer was interfering with the taking of such image in order to (1) lawfully enforce a criminal law of this state or a municipal ordinance, (2) protect the public safety, (3) preserve the integrity of a crime scene or criminal investigation, (4) safeguard the privacy interests of any person, including a victim of a crime, or (5) lawfully enforce court rules and policies of the Judicial Branch with respect to taking a photograph, videotaping or otherwise recording an image in facilities of the Judicial Branch.

Some of which seem to be somewhat vague in their definition and might lend themselves to overbroad application. But hopefully this codification will prevent what happened to Luis Luna from happening again. For more on the debate on this bill, see this Capitol Watch post.

Second, there was the bill to strengthen the racial profiling law in CT, in the wake of the East Haven fiasco. The bill would require:

1) A standardized form, in both printed and electronic format, to be used by police officers of municipal police departments and the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection to record traffic stop information. The form shall allow the following information to be recorded: (A) Date and time of stop; (B) location of the stop; (C) name and badge number of the police officer making the stop; (D) race, color, ethnicity, age and gender of the operator of the motor vehicle that is stopped, provided the identification of such characteristics shall be based on the observation and perception of the police officer responsible for reporting the stop; (E) nature of the alleged traffic violation or other violation that caused the stop to be made and the statutory citation for such violation; (F) the disposition of the stop including whether a warning, citation or summons was issued, whether a search was conducted and whether a custodial arrest was made; and (G) any other information deemed appropriate. The form shall also include a notice that if the person stopped believes they have been stopped, detained or searched solely because of their race, color, ethnicity, age, gender or sexual orientation, they may file a complaint with the appropriate law enforcement agency, and instructions on how to file such complaint;

The CT Mirror reports on the basics of this bill:

The anti-profiling bill sets standards for reporting the information and shifts responsibility for its analysis from the Commission on African-American Affairs to the Office of Policy and Management, which has staff and resources unavailable to the commission.  The new legislation also allows OPM to withhold public safety-related state funds from communities that don’t comply.

Though most GOP senators backed the anti-profiling bill, Canton Republican Kevin Witkos, a 28-year veteran of that community’s police force, argued that while profiling is wrong, the measure was flawed.  Rather than requiring officers to guess at a motor vehicle operator’s race and ethnicity, Witkos said the legislature should mandate that drivers provide this information on their driver’s license.

But [Judiciary Committee Co-Chair Sen.] Coleman argued this would work against efforts to end profiling, adding that it’s crucial to know what an officer’s beliefs about an operator were when the decision to stop the motorist was made.  Witkos also tried, unsuccessfully, to amend the bill to ensure that state funds couldn’t be stripped from community policing or youth athletic programs tied to municipal departments found not in compliance with profiling reporting rules. “It’s not fair to the other areas of the police department that do good work,” he said.

All in all, a good start.

Idiocracy

There is a moderately entertaining movie called Idiocracy, directed by Mike Judge and starring the less-stoned Wilson brother about a man of perfectly average intelligence who goes into cryogenic deep freeze for a long time and emerges 500 years in the future where the stupid have out-reproduced the intelligent and the Earth is ruled by grunts and monosyllables. Reading some reactions to the death penalty repeal here in CT, it seems to me that the future is now.

First, CT News Junkie reported, in a story with the provocative title ‘Lawmaker Guided By Experience As Defense Attorney’, of the tale of Representative David Labriola. Labriola, a Republican, drew upon his experience as a criminal defense attorney to vote against the repeal of the death penalty, in something that can only be described as fzzt-fzzt-does-not-compute-err-ROR-err-ROR.

You see, Attorney Rep. Labriola represented Miguel Roman. Miguel Roman, you might or might not remember, was the fourth man exonerated in CT with the assistance of DNA evidence. Unfortunately, before that happened, Roman spent 20 years of his life in jail for a crime he did not commit. His actual sentence was 60 years for a murder – one of three that the police believed were linked. Having represented a man you believe is wrongly convicted and has spent decades of his life unjustly in prison is not something a defense lawyer gets over quickly and it is certainly not something that builds confidence in the infallibility of the criminal justice system.

Yet, we have Labriola:

He said the sophistication and reliability of modern DNA analysis is one of the reasons he supported the death penalty statute, which a majority of his colleagues voted to take off the books Wednesday. DNA evidence provides the state with greater assurance that offenders handed guilty verdicts are, in fact, guilty, he said.

I suppose that’s somewhat logical so far, if a bit naive. But here’s the key part:

Labriola recalled that he did present DNA evidence in Roman’s case more than 20 years ago. He said it was one of the first DNA cases in the country. Though the DNA clearly didn’t belong to Roman, prosecutor John Massameno was able to argue that presence of another person’s DNA did not mean Roman was not guilty.

[Ideally, at this juncture, I’d like to Professor Farnsworth uttering his signature “Whaaaa? – you can hear it in your head, can’t you? – but I can’t find it online. So this equally appropriate reaction will have to suffice.]

This is far beyond any timey-wimey plotline that Steven Moffat could conceive of, but I’m going to try and untangle it. Labriola believes:

1. The death penalty is appropriate.

2. Because DNA evidence provides great assurances that offenders are actually guilty.

3. He knows this because he represented an offender.

4. In whose case DNA evidence was presented.

5. And the DNA evidence excluded his guy.

6. And still his client was convicted.

7. And spent 20 years in jail.

8. ????

9. PROFIT!!!!

Labriola concludes with:

“I think working as a defense attorney for the last 25 years gives me insight into a wide range of issues and some crimes are so heinous that the death penalty is the only justifiable punishment,” he said.

It’s almost as if he got to logical step number 8 above, realized that he was going up the down staircase and ended with the handwavium encrusted “well, I know better”.  As a fellow criminal defense lawyer, that last quote of his is especially troubling. I’ve often written that in order to do this job well and honestly, one cannot judge one’s clients and one must take the place of the client and view the world through his eyes. We are the client. We are his advocate and his shepherd. Where does Labriola stop? If some clients are deserving of the death penalty, are others deserving of life without the possibility of release? Are others deserving of 60 years in jail, because, in his opinion, they’re bad people? How do we differentiate the role of the prosecutor from that of the defense attorney? At what point do we stop becoming an advocate and start becoming a mouthpiece – a mere messenger?

For many in this field, capital defense is the holy grail. It is the one job that embodies every ideal that leads us to this work: the defense of those who are most undeserving, the fight for another’s life, the pushback against the mightiest weapon the State possesses in its arsenal. Death penalty defense is more than a job. It is the embodiment of an idea. I believe that one can be a great defense attorney and not like all the crimes that our clients are charged with. Great lawyers refuse to represent people accused of sex crimes. I disagree with that, but I can see it. I believe, however, that anyone in favor of the death penalty has no business representing individuals accused of crimes.

It does not compute.

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Lagniappe (a word I have shamelessly borrowed from today’s MLK-themed edition of Blawg Review, hosted by the inimitable Mark Bennett): “Judge” Andrew Napolitano goes on FOX to suggest that CT delay the implementation of the death penalty repeal by, oh, 5 years so we can quickly execute the 11 men on death row. The stupendous idiocy of that position hardly merits the waste of more pixels.

 

 

 

Nevermore in my name: CT abolishes the death penalty

I know I wrote a similar post last week, but this time there’s no caveat. Connecticut has just abolished the death penalty. The Senate abolished it. The House has abolished it. The Governor will sign it.

If I weren’t so tired from listening to hours of testimony, my hands would probably be shaking. This is historic, indeed.

We have turned a corner. We have made ourselves known. We have stated with clarity that we have a moral compass and that compass is pointed in the direction of compassion and humanity. We are not that which we wish to condemn. We are not that which we wish to punish. We are better than them. We will not arbitrarily punish our own, we will not discriminate based on race or geography.

We will take a different approach. A road that leads to mercy and forgiveness. A path that saves the best in us. A choice that allows us to hold our head high and be counted among the citizens of the world. We will show that while it is difficult to resist our base instincts of anger, revenge and hatred, it is possible. And we can move past that and emerge stronger. We will lead by example.

We will not assume the hubris to decide, as a people, whose life is worth living. We will not ask that of our friends, neighbors and our children. We will unburden our state from the heavy yoke of carrying the deaths of so many. We will wash the blood from our hands.

Nevermore in my name.

In which I make some uninvited retorts to specious arguments against abolition

With the Connecticut Senate having already voted to abolish the death penalty last week, and in light of the looming vote in the House tomorrow and given the extensive debate this topic has been subject to for decades, I figured that we finally had reached a point where we were having honest, intellectual and moral arguments for or against this propriety of maintaining this punishment.

I was wrong. Linked there is a post by “Don Pesci” (whether that is his real name is unknown to me and irrelevant as well), who seems to be a real conservative and proponent of the death penalty. That someone is both of those things doesn’t bother me; rather what bothers me is someone who is both of those things (or anything, really) who then uses false arguments to state his or her support for the penalty. I did leave a brief comment on his blog, but upon further reflection, I decided that it merits a somewhat longer blog post. These are counter-arguments that have been stated plainly before, but are ultimately worth repeating, especially given the importance of tomorrow’s vote. I will attempt – as far as it is possible – to respond to each quip.

Q: The death penalty was abolished by the Senate on April 5. It’s a virtual certainty that the House also will approve the Democrat inspired bill. Do you feel safer?

A: Can’t say. Part of the abolition bluster was that the death penalty did not prevent murders, always a questionable assumption.

Q: “Bluster?” What ever can you mean?

A: It was never a serious proposition, just a useful piece of propaganda.

He then goes on to state that one can’t ever know if a punishment deters a crime. While that is clearly true, one can measure the impact of having a particular penalty on the actions of those it is meant to serve as a deterrent to. One could, for instance, compare the murder rates in death-penalty and non-death penalty states. One could look to a survey of law enforcement agencies which list the death penalty as the most ineffective tool for reducing violent crime. Or one could read the voluminous research and scientific study undermining the argument that the death penalty serves as a deterrent. While it may be true that it is not possible to know if the death penalty had a direct impact on a particular individual and prevented him from committing a crime, it is also honest to acknowledge that we don’t know that it did. And that is the crux: that the argument that the death penalty deters crime (one of the foundational arguments for retaining this punishment) is false.

 Q: One of the other points raised against the death penalty by Senate President Don Williams prior to the vote to abolish was that it had been randomly applied: Not everyone who committed murder in Connecticut has been sentenced to death.

A: And a good thing too. In practice, Connecticut’s death penalty punishment was applied ONLY if certain circumstances had been met. Not every murderer qualified. You had to work really hard to merit the death penalty. It is no argument in favor of the abolition of a punishment – say, ticketing for speeding – to say that not everyone who commits the offense is punished. This is an infantile objection: “Mommy, he did it too. How come only I got sent to bed?” Should we abolish ticketing for excessive speed on the highways because – just to fetch for a figure – 98 percent of speeders are not ticketed and of those ticketed 99 percent are not brought to trial? Grow up!

This argument, as I said in my comment to his post, is simplistic and possibly disingenuous. The comparison made in the “disparity” argument is not between non-death eligible murder and death-eligible murder. That is a false comparison. The comparison is between one death-eligible murder in which the penalty was not sought and another in which it was. The argument is made that the death penalty is arbitrary because often the decision to seek the penalty depends not on the crime itself – which may be comparable in every respect – but on other factors, such as the race of the defendant, the victim, the geographical location and sometimes the quality of the lawyer representing the defendant.

It is this disparity that gives us pause. In Connecticut, if two people commit two identical death eligible crimes, but one does it in New Haven and the other in Waterbury, there is a significantly greater chance that the person who committed the crime in Waterbury would have to defend against the death penalty and the one who committed the crime in New Haven would not.

So the next time someone tells you that of course the death penalty should be discriminatory and not applied to all murderers, tell them that you know they’re hiding critical information from you and their argument is based on a lie.

Q: Another argument was that the penalty once applied was irreversible.

A: People who said that the death penalty could be applied in error had to travel outside the confines of Connecticut to find such instances. Or they presented their objection as a theoretical proposition. No one awaiting death on Connecticut’s death row has been mistakenly led there by judicial error.

I would have said that this is my favorite argument, but that title belongs to the next one. We’ll get there. This one is particularly rich because it takes a very foolhardy view. The argument, essentially, is that we haven’t screwed up yet. Yes, that’s true. We haven’t. But we, in CT, have also had at least 4 DNA exonerations in the last half-decade. Before that, we’ve had other innocent men in jail. Is it a matter of time until we have an innocent man on death row? I don’t know the answer to that, but I’d say there’s a greater chance that we will, than that we won’t. That is not a risk I – or you – should be willing to take.

Q: But the appeals!

A: A means of postponing punishment, a judicial means of jury nullification.

[and elsewhere:] The abolition bill does not and cannot prevent pointless appeals.

You can see why this would be my favorite argument and it is one that has come up repeatedly. Variations include “endless appeals” and “endless habeas appeals”. I think it’s important to define what these terms mean and the Constitutional underpinnings of these mechanisms before illustrating just how misinformed, stupid and dangerous the argument is.

First, pointless signifies that the the only arbiter of a legal conviction is a jury at the trial level. It implies that any judicial review is a mechanism for undermining the jury’s just verdict. It also implies that somehow appellate courts are complicit in the liberal desire to avoid implementing the necessary punishment of death.

This flies in the face of what we normally call facts. For one, the Connecticut Supreme court has not only routinely upheld death sentences for those currently on death row (duh), but also has repeatedly and consistently upheld the constitutionality of the death penalty in Connecticut. Further, our supreme court overwhelmingly sides with the State against criminal defendants and if one is to accuse them of complicity in something, a more accurate accusation would involve the disturbing curtailing of individual rights and emasculation of Constitutional protections.

But I digress. Appeals are not pointless. They are checks on the functioning of our criminal justice system. They are the umpires that review the methods and processes we use. They are the enforcers of our rules of law, rules that we all rely upon to keep us and our freedoms safe. That a particular defendant has no viable claims for review does not make the entire appellate process pointless. Rather, it makes it indispensable.

Second, appeals aren’t endless either. There are very limited appeals granted to defendants. That they may take a lot of time to resolve is not the same as the appellate process having no end.

These are the appellate review options available to any defendant:

1. Direct Appeal to the Supreme Court of Connecticut (bypassing, by statute, the intermediate Appellate Court).

2. Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court (which is granted almost never).

3. A Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in State Court.

4. An Appeal to the Connecticut Supreme Court from that decision.

5. A Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court (which is granted almost never).

6. A Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in Federal District Court.

7. A Discretionary Appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

8. A Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court (which is granted almost never).

Sure, you may say, these are a lot! But 1, 2, 3, 4 are necessarily separate because they challenge different things. It is by statute and law in Connecticut (State v. Leecan), that some claims cannot be raised via direct appeal (#1) and must be raised via a petition for writ of habeas corpus (#3). In some states those two are combined, but that is a poor way to do it because #3 requires information that #1 cannot provide. [See this previous post on the meaning and importance of The Great Writ.]

To do away with any of these avenues would push us all down that slippery slope. The justice system is fraught as it is with allegations of bias, racism and unfairness. To limit avenues of redress would affect us all. You just haven’t been arrested yet.

To claim that these appeals are pointless because thesepeopleareguiltyletsjustkillthemalready is stunningly narrow-sighted.

In the end, I do not dispute that this is an entirely moral issue. If, however, you’re going to rely on other arguments to support your position, at least make sure you’re correct, so you can be taken seriously.

[As a side note, I am glad that news agencies are finally paying attention to those survivors of homicide who are opposed to the death penalty, instead of just those who are in favor of it.]