A few nuggets of insight before you head off for the weekend:
Posts Tagged ‘death penalty’
Cop killer and “Texas 7″ prison escape leader George Rivas was executed by lethal injection February 29.
Now if you or I were to escape from prison, we would most likely take great pains not to be recaptured, maybe even hightail it out of the state. But back in December of 2000, Rivas’ gang of super-geniuses thought it was a much smarter idea to go on a crime spree, robbing a Radio Shack (really?) and then a sporting goods store, ambushing and killing Irving police officer Aubrey Hawkins, 29, who had just finished eating Christmas Eve dinner with his family when he responded to the call.
Rivas will be the second of the crew executed and the third to die, a serial rapist having committed suicide as the police closed in. Joseph Garcia, Randy Halprin and Patrick Murphy all await execution on death row. Donald Newbury was scheduled for execution on February 1, but received a U.S. Supreme Court stay.
(Hat tip: Urban Grounds, who hasn’t added me to his blogroll yet. (Hey, it worked when I mentioned it for Blue Dot Blues.))
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to Judge Kevin Fine: No, You Can’t Magically Rule the Death Penalty UnconstitutionalWednesday, January 12th, 2011
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (the highest criminal court in Texas, as the Texas Supreme Court does not handle criminal cases) told State District Judge Kevin Fine, in essence, cut it out. One key factor in the ruling is that the named defendant, accused murderer John Edward Green, hasn’t even gone to trial yet, much less been convicted and given the death penalty.
Judge Fine (presumably no relation to Larry) was all set to hold hearings on the constitutionality of Texas application of the death penalty before the ruling told him not even to bother. This was after he had just gone ahead and declared the death penalty unconstitutional in March, only to reverse himself a week later.
Though a Democrat, Fine sounds like an interesting and sympathetic fellow: A heavily-tattooed recovering cocaine addict elected to Houston’s “drug court” in 2008. He seems like the sort of person you would want to wish well. But a compelling life-story doesn’t get you a pass on blatant judicial activism. The Constitution itself makes repeated reference to the fact that no United States citizen can be deprived of life “without due process of law,” which says that they can be deprived of life with due process of law; otherwise the Constitution would merely that that they could not be deprived of life, period. The death penalty was legal in every state after the Constitution was ratified, and the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the basic constitutionality of the death penalty in every related case it has heard since Gregg vs. Georgia in 1976.
Certainly the issue of the death penalty is troubling, as there are few fates worse than being unjustly executed by the state. However, trial by jury is probably the least corrupt of America’s democratic institutions, and the criminal appeals process is far more heavily weighted toward letting the guilty go free than executing the innocent. Moreover, application of the death penalty would rank pretty far down the list of innocent people killed by the federal government; indeed, I feel confident in stating that fewer innocent men and women have been executed by the death penalty than were killed by the ATF under the Clinton Administration. And when you examine the details of cases that anti-death penalty crusaders say prove that innocent people have been executed, you find out that those same people frequently lie, and in many cases the accused was as guilty as sin. I don’t think there’s any question that the number of murders committed by ex-cons foolishly released or paroled exceeds people executed who were not guilty of the crimes for which they were executed by several orders of magnitude.
If men were angels we would need no laws. The death penalty should only be applied judiciously, but it is constitutional, and should be applied.
I was going to post another piece on the shooting, but Instapundit has already covered pretty much everything I wanted to say. (Shakes tiny fist in impotent rage. “Damn you, Glenn Harlan Reynolds! Damn you to Hell!”) By now the story is less about a crazy man killing political figures and innocent bystanders than it is the left’s desperate and distasteful attempts to pin the act on the Tea Party.
So. Some links:
- They need to deftly pin this on the tea partiers,” said the Democrat. “Just like the Clinton White House deftly pinned the Oklahoma City bombing on the militia and anti-government people.”
- “There also was a second sickness on display, and it was the swiftness and the vigor with which the left-wing blogosphere and some more mainstream Democrats immediately sought to blame Sarah Palin and right-wing ‘vitriol’ in general for the shooting.”
- Has any political movement ever been as obsessed with a political figure as the left is obsessed with Sarah Palin? Especially one that no longer holds any elected office?
- Michelle Malkin goes into a great deal of detail on the angry, eliminationist rhetoric that’s poisoned the well of rational political discourse.
- “We barely knew all the facts in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, though, before this vicious act was being milked for political advantage by ghoulish opportunists on the Left.”
- Federal charges filed. I think we can all agree that, if Loughner is found fit to stand trial (I doubt he will be), then he should eligible for the death penalty, yes?
- Since Loughner was obsessed with mind control, here are some of his fellow crazies discussing his obsession. However, just to be fair, I should make clear that I don’t blame the Nutso American Community for Loughner’s spree. The vast majority of people on Above Top Secret and InfoWars are honest, hardworking, non-violent Americans who just happen to be deluded cranks. Most of them wouldn’t harm a fly, unless it was aiming a tiny parabolic microphone at them. (You know the CIA has those now, don’t you? Don’t you??????)
- I seem to have drifted off-track. There’s nothing funny about Loughner’s shooting spree, but I think we all need to take a step back and enjoy a little levity in the midst of grim times. And the David Ickes and Gene Rays of the world aren’t the ones we need to worry about.