I know the death penalty has been debated a lot here, but it is in the news today so I am bringing it up. It’s a new record for GW Bush. With credentials like that, it’s easy to see why the Republicans like him.
Measuring success by the number of people that get executed is a totally fucked up thing to do. What do they think this is, a video game? If the thing that matters most is how many people you kill, there’s no incentive to consider whether they’re actually guilty or not.
For instance, I heard a story on the radio about a man who was convicted because one eyewitness identified him as the killer. IIRC, there were several other witnesses who said that he was certainly not the one, but none of them were allowed to testify in court.
The legal authority to take lives is something that needs to be taken very seriously. If the government can’t stop the authorities from misusing that kind of power, they don’t deserve to have it.
May the Goddes have mercy on my soul, I’m about to defend Dubya!
Unfortunately, because of the way the Texas State Constitution is set up, the governor can do very little about the executions. The govenor can only act to stop or review the execution on the advice of the board of Pardons & Paroles. 'Til they act, the governor’s hands are tied on the matter.
So, you really can’t blame Dubya for this, blame the Board of Pardons & Paroles, or blame the out-dated Texas Constituion, which dates back to 1870 or so, I believe.
I wasn’t aware that Bush was Lord High Executioner of the state of Texas. I do believe all of those people sentenced to death were tried by the judical branch. If you can find any instance of Bush sentencing someone to die I’d love to hear it. The record doesn’t belong to Bush it belongs to the state.
I hate it when governors and presidents get more credit or blame then they deserve. People seem to forget that there are multiple branches of the government with limited powers. That whole checks and balances thing.
PS: Wasn’t it a Clinton apointee, Janet Reno, who said she’d seek the death penalty for the OKC bombers before they were even caught?
*Originally posted by RoboDude *
I heard a story on the radio about a man who was convicted because one eyewitness identified him as the killer. IIRC, there were several other witnesses who said that he was certainly not the one, but none of them were allowed to testify in court.
I think this is the guy who went on a week-long rape and armed robbery spree prior to being arrested for the murder, and after being convicted of homicide told a bailiff that next time he wouldn’t leave any witnesses.
There’s another interesting case cooking in Texas that points up defects in the criminal justice system. A man in the Dallas area was paroled after serving time for murdering his wife. He later broke into an ex-girlfriend’s house and attacked her, then stabbed her 11-year-old son when he tried to help her. The woman was stabbed, beaten and strangled to death and her body stuffed into a drainage pipe outside her home.
No doubt Amnesty International will be protesting on behalf of his latest victim.
Hrm… this is strange, I’m about to agree with Freedom2 also. Ghods, what is the world coming to?
FTR, I am against the death penalty. The criminal justice system, by its nature, can and does make mistakes. It’s run by humans and humans make mistakes. If it hasn’t already happened, the system will execute an innocent person and then we, society in general, will have an innocent person’s blood on our hands. There are checks in the system to prevent this, but as I said before, the system, since it’s run by humans, can make mistakes.
Often, death row inmates become a sort of quasi-celebrity. This can inspire others to “copy-cat” their crime or it can give publicity to the “cause” if the crime was done for political purposes, such as Timothy MacVeigh. It’s better to let them fade into obscurity and become a footnote in the local paper 30-50 years in the future rather than drawing attention to them thru a public execution.
Another shocking execution in Texas to add to the record total:
Daniel Hittle, 50, was put to death by lethal injection last night. He had been on parole from Minnesota after serving 11 years for murdering his adoptive parents in the early '80s (he became enraged and stabbed them to death because he believed that their dog scratched his truck). In '89 he shot a Garland, TX police officer to death as part of what prosecutors say was a 5-person killing spree (one of the victims was a 4-year-old girl).
Hittle’s last words were “Sant ag ib Singh” (he had joined a religious sect in prison following the teachings of Sant Ajaib Singh Ji Maharaj, an Indian religious figure who advocated love and nonviolence).
However, since the board of Pardons & Paroles is appointed by the governor (they serve for staggered five year terms, IIRC), and because the majority of the board is made up of Bush appointees, Bush does have influence, both because he can choose his appointees based on their attitude towards the death penalty, and can work to persuade them once they have been appointed.
I try to avoid comment on this subject, since I prefer modes of humor and irony. Levity is utterly inappropriate here.
As a recovering Texan, I am frequently struck by how naive the rest of America is regarding Texas law and justice. You may have heard recently about the guy who’s lawyer was asleep during sections of his trial. The lawyer made his livelihood primarily due to his incompetence, local judges faced with the necessity of supplying a lawyer for an impoverished defendent would grant him the dubious assistance of this miserable hack. Believe it or not, the first appeal was turned away by the appellate, on the grounds that * the defendant could not prove that his defense was inadequate, merely because his lawyer didn’t give a rats ass whether he lived or died!* According to an article I read (Harpers? Atlantic?) this same judge is on “Bambi” Bush’s list of potential Supreme Court appointees!
“Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, I will repay” I interpret that to mean “Keep your cotton pickin’ hands off it, you ain’t qualified till you sit where I sit!”