Friday, July 3, 2015

Justice Denied, Supreme-Court-Style?

Strap 'em down, shoot 'em up, and see what happens!

This story of a 38-year quest to kill someone is nothing short of repulsive. I'm against the death penalty, although in certain cases -- Timothy McVeigh, for one -- I don't feel horrible when I hear an execution took place. That might make me "soft" on the issue, but there you are.

But the case of Richard Jordan should shock the conscience of any person in this land:
At that point Owen entered into a plea agreement with Jordan. Under the agreement, Jordan would be sentenced to life without parole in exchange for his promise not to challenge his new sentence. A trial court accepted the plea and sentenced Jordan accordingly.
But the plea agreement Owen prepared turned out to be defective. Mississippi law allowed life without parole only for habitual offenders—which Jordan was not. Jordan asked the trial court to fix his unlawful sentence by changing it to life with the possibility of parole. The Mississippi Supreme Court agreed that Jordan’s previous sentence was invalid and sent the case back to the trial court. In the meantime, Mississippi had amended its laws to permit life without parole for all capital murder convictions.
Jordan asked Owen—who reprised his role as special prosecutor—to simply reinstate their previous life-without-parole agreement, which would now be valid. Owen refused. Instead, he sought a new sentencing trial—and asked the jury to sentence Jordan to death. The jury complied. After an extensive reprieve, Jordan found himself once again awaiting execution.
What adds to the depravity of this case is that the same Supreme Court case that briefly led to the abolition of the death penalty in 1976 -- which set aside the death sentence of Charles Manson, who was never retried but instead given a life sentence that he is still serving -- also set aside Richard Jordan's death sentence. Only Mississippi decided to retry the sentencing phase of Jordan's trial and obtained a new sentence of death. Couple that with the remarkably empty-headed majority opinion written by Samuel Alito making a new drug for lethal injections legal, despite the fact that the drug has failed repeatedly and led to some pretty painful episodes during executions. I guess Mississippi can now use that drug to dispatch Jordan.

This after 38 years. And we can't find four justices to agree to hear the case? Disgusting.

Alito's view -- that death hurts, so why shouldn't executions? -- only serves to secure America's place among the cruelest of nations. Happy Fourth of July.

That's some real adjudicating there, Sam. Good, honest, American adjudicating.

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