"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Sunday, July 23, 2006

No Racism in Death Penalty, says Rand Study

Can't leave without trumpeting this one:

RAND STUDY FINDS NO EVIDENCE OF RACIAL BIAS IN FEDERALPROSECUTORS' DECISIONS TO SEEK DEATH PENALTY FROM 1995-2000
Read all about it here. Bottom line: it's the heinousness of the crime, not the race of the perpetrator, that drives death penalty decisions. Sorry, abolitionists, you'll have to find a new canard: the one about the death penalty being a racist institution is dead.

Hedrick Takes it Like a Man

I've been away at summer camp with the boy scouts...

Kudos to the gov for not standing in the way of the execution of Brandon Wayne Hedrick whose monstrous crimes were referenced in the post just below this one. And kudos to him for going out like a man, in the electric chair, instead of being put down like a dog by lethal injection.

I'm away now for a week to see if I become a better prosecutor by seeing what the feds know about it.

When I get back, I'll be taking the pompous blowhard to task for his lame attempt to debunk Josh Marquis' claim that the rate of conviction of innocent defendants is negligible. A preview: several high-profile, liberal-academy-and-MSM-peddled examples do not a systemic problem make. Like the ever-elusive search for the actually innocent executed inmate, the pro-criminal left will stop at nothing to tar a system that, for all the demands placed on it, performs admirably.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

An Encore for Ole Sparky?

Our next scheduled execution in Virginia is that of Brandon Wayne Hedrick, who brutally murdered a helpless woman whom he and an accomplice had robbed and abducted. The victim was kneeling down and begging for her life by pleading that she had two children, and offered to do anything to avoid being killed. After forcing her to perform oral sex on him, Hedrick put a shotgun to her head and pulled the trigger. As the federal judge considering his habeas corpus petition summarized:
There is no dispute but that Brandon Wayne Hedrick and an accomplice robbed and had sex with Lisa Yvonne Alexander Crider, abducted her at gunpoint, drove her to a remote location near a river, dragged her to the riverbank as she cried and begged for mercy, shot her in the face at close range with a shotgun, and returned to their apartment and went to sleep. In fact, against the advice of counsel, whom Hedrick now disparages, Hedrick spoke with law enforcement officials and admitted as much. Hedrick, however, disputes evidence that he raped and forcibly sodomized Crider, and he contends he only intended to scare, not kill, her. He now brings this Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 blaming his counsel for his conviction and death sentence. But from a thorough review of the record, the court cannot identify anything counsel did or did not do that prejudiced Hedrick and finds no other ground to grant Hedrick’s petition and accordingly dismisses it.
(Read the case here).

The usual crowd is out pleading for this dirtbag's life, especially since Hedrick is apparently choosing to be executed by electric chair, not lethal injection, something that hasn't occured for some long while in Virginia:
Jack Payden-Travers, executive director of Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, told the Associated Press that Hedrick’s choice of electrocution suggests he might be mentally impaired.
“Can a mildly mentally retarded individual voluntarily choose?” said Payden-Travers, who has met with Hedrick several times. “Brandon is very impressionable - he’s very easily swayed.”
The facts of this case show that Hedrick patently could choose, and did choose, and he was expressly found competent and sane at trial, so Payden-Traver's cheap armchair mental analysis is as phony as it is groundless.

Will Tim Kaine, our fearless governor, who badly wants to empty death row but has to maintain his "political viability," stay the execution, as the criminal apologists want? Stay tuned...

Oh yes, and one more fact to throw into the mix: Hedrick is white, his victim was black. So now's the opportunity to "even the score," since the left seems to think not enough murders of black victims are punished by death. True, the abolitionists use this observation to argue that the death penalty should be outlawed as unfair-- but why not fix this "problem" by making sure we execute more deserving defendants like Hedrick who kill black victims?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Kennedy Whines About Stiff Sentencing

Justice Kennedy, obviously feeling comfortable among his own at a judicial conference for the 9th Circuit, complained about "lengthy" sentences:
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy told a gathering of judges Monday that he is troubled by lengthy prison terms meted out in the U.S. "If an 18-year-old is growing marijuana for a friend, that's distribution," the Sacramento native told judges, lawyers and court officials at the conference, held at the Hyatt Regency. "If he has his father's .22 rifle, that's a firearm. That will get 15 years. "Did you know what 15 years was when you were 18? I didn't when I was 18."
Kennedy said that sentences in the U.S. are eight times longer than sentences in Europe and that California alone has 200,000 people incarcerated. He said there needs to be more education of the public on the length of sentences. "If sentences are to be a deterrent, what is the good of them if nobody knows how long they are?" he said.

It's interesting to see Kennedy pick up the internationalist banner formerly carried by Justice O'Connor, comparing our system unfavorably with Europe's.

It's also interesting to note that Kennedy can practice such a cheap form of demagoguery in positing the scenario of a poor kid with a .22 giving some pot to a friend, as though that is a representative case seen in the 9th Circuit or anywhere else. What really bothers him and most judges about mandatory sentences is that the people have gotten fed up with coddling drug dealers, especially armed ones, and have decided to take the judges' discretion away in sentencing these offenders.

They can complain all they like about the will of the people and what they think about the leniency of judges, but the judges have only themselves to blame.

HT: Sentencing_Law_and_Policy.

UPDATE: By the way, since Kennedy, travelling in O'Connor's footsteps, is so fond of European jurisprudence, will he support adoption of such European practices has non-unanimous jury verdicts, use of a defendant's silence at trial, and no exclusionary rule?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Europe: Your Kids Belong to Us

Not to seem like a UN conspiracy nut or anything, but you gotta take pause at the UN's efforts to enforce their politically correct worldview against the wishes of parents by way of complicit European governments.

The Belgian Ministry of Education is investigating a homeschooling family. Their offense?
“One of the conditions [for homeschooling] is that the homeschoolers must sign a document in which they promise to rear their children along the lines of the UN Convention on Children’s Rights. These parents have not done this. This is why the ministry has started an inquiry.”

Sadly, this European totalitarianism is not limited to Belgium. Germany outlaws homeschooling and has even detained and imprisoned parents, usually Baptist or traditional Catholic, who dare to assert their parental rights against the state, which claims to enforce “a right of the child not to be kept away from the outside world. The parents’ right to personally educate their children would prevent the children from growing up to be responsible individuals within society.” (Sounds a lot like Hillary Clinton's view that "children should have a right to be permitted to decide their own future if they are competent.")

We certainly wouldn't want little Johnny or Jane to receive any unapproved ideas. Sadly, the coming Islamic demographic tide may be the too-late wake up call for a society so utterly inverted from its first principles, in this case, the primacy of the family.