"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

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Justice abroad, injustice at home

Despite the insinuations of some abolitionists, the United States is not the only Western industrialized nation to permit capital punishment.

Japan has just executed three convicts, the most notorious of whom confessed to cannibalizing his four young female victims.

Meanwhile, closer to home, my own dear Commonwealth's governor, Tim Kaine, recently commuted the death sentence of Percy Walton to life imprisonment. The governor, who claims to be a Catholic while supporting vehemently pro-abortion politicians like Barack Obama and Mark Warner (democrat nominee for Virginia's Senate race), has not shied in the past from jettisoning his stated personal conviction that the death penalty is immoral and refusing other clemency petitions.

This time, however, Kaine quite cynically hid behind the alleged but never proven mental incompetence of Walton to understand the death sentence he was scheduled to undergo. While conceding that Walton was mentally competent at the time of his offenses and during his trial, Kaine claims, mirabile dictu, that new information provided to him shows that Walton is now unable to understand his scheduled execution. Kaine's pronouncement is replete with references to the unconstitutionality of executing those who cannot comprehend their sentence.

What Kaine glosses over, however, is that Walton's competency was extensively litigated, and that the en banc Fourth Circuit ruled that Walton was in fact competent to be executed.

As I related here, 15 separate judges considered and rejected the claims that Kaine swallows hook, line, and sinker. As I also predicted correctly at the time Kaine deferred the last execution date for this malingerer Walton,
[this delay] will be spent desparately trying to produce "findings" that Walton is genuinely mentally deficient, which of course, will give Kaine the political cover he needs to grant clemency to a death row inmate and commute his sentence to life imprisonment.
Now that the issue of Walton's competency is no longer subject to the acid test of litigation, Kaine disingenously pulled the plug on justice in the case and issued a mere ipse dixit justification based on the unproven assertions of the Clemency petition: Screw the Commonwealth, screw the Attorney General, screw the victims, the jury, the trial judge, and screw the crucible of litigation to test this "new information."

Does he have the right to commute? Certainly.

Do we have to accept his utterly phony and transparent justification? Certainly not.

1 comment:

dudleysharp said...

Bolling Responds to Commuted Execution

Posted: 2:41 PM Jun 10, 2008
Last Updated: 2:41 PM Jun 10, 2008

On Monday, Gov. Tim Kaine commuted the death sentence of Percy Walton, who was convicted of brutally murdering three people in Danville in 1996. In response to Kaine’s actions, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling issued the following statement:

“I was very disappointed by Gov. Kaine’s decision to commute the death sentence of Percy Walton. The Governor’s decision is inconsistent with the findings of the courts, and it sets a very dangerous precedent for evaluating cases of this nature in the future.

“In 1996, Percy Walton brutally murdered three innocent people in Danville. He had been tried and convicted of these charges and the court had decided that he should be put to death for these crimes. Walton’s conviction and sentence had subsequently been reviewed by Virginia courts and federal courts, and these courts had consistently found that Walton was mentally competent and eligible for execution under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“While the imposition of the death penalty should never be undertaken lightly, there are certain cases where the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for the crimes committed. That is certainly true in this case. By unilaterally concluding that Walton is mentally incompetent and substituting his own judgment for that of the courts, Gov. Kaine has done an injustice to the families of Percy Walton’s victims and set a very dangerous precedent for evaluating such cases in the future.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims of Percy Walton’s brutal crimes.”