"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

Monday, May 21, 2007

Capital Error in Illinois

How can you rob a restaurant, indiscriminately murder seven people, and escape the death penalty, Crime and Consequences reasonably asks. One juror holding out basically vetoed the death penalty in this case, and C&C argues that the sentencing portion of the trial in Illinois should be subject to the same deliberation requirement as the guilt phase: deliberate until a verdict is reached, otherwise a mistrial follows and a new sentencing hearing.

Unfortunately, Virginia shares this silly rule with Illinois: "In the event the jury cannot agree as to the penalty, the court shall dismiss the jury, and impose a sentence of imprisonment for life."
Any state legislators reading??

Let's at least require a re-sentencing in the event of a deadlock. Even better, eliminate the unanimity requirement altogether, in favor of perhaps an 11 or 10-juror majority.

The silliest reaction (though it will certainly be echoed by the anti-DP extremists) is given by the Chicago Sun-Times as featured in Capital Defense Weekly:
If we don’t try to execute someone responsible for seven murders, the argument will go, how in good conscience and in the name of justice can we try to execute someone responsible for one, two or three murders? Either way, the answer is we can’t. We shouldn’t.

To which a comboxer rejoinds:
What a garbage argument. It presupposes that because a solitary juror held out for life imprisonment in a heinous case that all other murderers get the benefit of that juror’s misguided mercy. What right to murderer’s have to cosmic fairness? None. But that is the argument. One juror gets to end capital punishment. Silliness.

Just so.

1 comment:

Windypundit said...

For a variety of reasons, I'm unsure about whether the death penalty is a good idea. However, that's a question over what our policy should be. The fact is, our policy right now in Illinois is that we have the death penalty, and we use it.

I used to drive past that Brown's Chicken all the time. The crime happened after I moved away, but I remember the horror in the community when it was discovered.

The result in this case makes no sense. If this isn't the kind of crime you execute people for, then what is?