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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

(Rump, with respect to the Essen family, I post these matters. If you want to hold them off until tomorrow, I certainly understand).

Justice Thomas, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court & The Death Penalty .......

In case you missed it, today marked a new low by Justice Thomas in his rein as an Associate Justice on our highest court. Here is what happened in case you were not awake at 1:34 am.

Tennessee executed Cecil Johnson at 1:34 a.m. today. Johnson had spent nearly 29 years on death row for three murders committed during a robbery of a Nashville convenience store. He was convicted in 1981.

The Supreme Court refused early this morning to hear the last-minute appeal of Johnson. The opinions written by Stevens & Thomas have been described now as a "Death Clash at the High Court". The issue was whether execution after lengthy delay is cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. A high court majority rejected Johnson's application for a stay of execution and his petition for review in which he raised the Eighth Amendment challenge.

Justice John Paul Stevens, joined by Justice Stephen Breyer, dissented, saying Johnson’s situation was “as compelling a case” as he had encountered raising the constitutional concerns that Stevens himself raised in a 1995 dissent from another denial of certiorari: Lackey v. Texas. Besides the constitutional issue, Stevens said Johnson’s case raised two important procedural questions: whether, as in Johnson’s case, the Eighth Amendment challenge can be made as a civil rights claim under Section 1983, and, if it cannot, whether a second habeas petition raising the claim is a successive petition subject to a procedural bar. Treating the claim as a habeas petition—which the lower court here did—only contributes to additional delay, he said.

Stevens said he remained “steadfast” in his view that execution after such delay is unacceptably cruel because it subjects death row inmates to decades of severe, dehumanizing conditions of confinement. Delaying an execution, he added, also does not further the public purposes of retribution and deterrence.

Thomas said Stevens first proposed his “novel” Eighth Amendment argument 14 years ago. Thomas stated, "There was no support for the argument then and there is no support now". Then Thomas goes all "Blackstone" on him, stating:

"There are alternatives to current procedural safeguards .... As Blackstone observed, the principle that punishment should follow the crime as early as possible was expressed in an English statute decreeing that “in case of murder, the judge shall in his sentence direct execution to be performed, on the next day but one after sentence passed.”

Thomas went further: "I have no doubt that such a system would avoid the diminishing justification problem Justice Stevens identifies ...."

Has anyone informed Thomas that, according to the Innocence Project, there have been no less than 245 post conviction DNA exonerations in the United States, 17 of which were people sentenced to DEATH.

============
CAPTAIN OUT .................


(I removed the portion of the post about the changes in County Court procedures because I like to stick to one major topic. I will post the now infamous Slom Memo soon. HR.)

17 comments:

RFB said...

The death of Richard Essen wounds my heart with a monotonous languor.

Anonymous said...

Captain
You are such a bug.

Anonymous said...

Can anybody from the facdl listserv recommend a good ticket attorney in miami?

Anonymous said...

So, Charlie Crist says he will give back the $80,000 Rothstein and friends gave him for his US Senate run..."if there is evidence of wrongdoing." In other words, Crist will wait for the polls to come in before he decides on doing the ethical thing.

Come on, Charlie. Why in the world would you wait on giving back this money? Don't you have millions already collected from the republican party of Florida.

Do we really need someone like Charlie crist representing us in the US Senate if he can't clearly see that he doesn't need to wait for a jury trial before he decides what the ethical thing to do is?

Crist surrounds himself with people who are about winning campaigns, raising money with no questions asked, and checking the polls to see which way the wind is blowing before he takes a stand.

Wake up Florida!!! Don't we have enough of this type of garbage in our govt already? Do you really want to send Charlie Crist to the US Senate?

Anonymous said...

Putting aside the issue of whether or not the state should be able to put people to death (I believe it should but really don't want to get into it here), I find it mind-boggling that anyone would entertain the argument that it's cruel and unusual punishment to execute someone after a lengthy delay when that someone is response for the delay. Sheesh.

BTDT

File this under "What?" said...

Did I miss something in this story?

Gov. Charlie Crist will get his anti-corruption grand jury, after all.

The state Supreme Court on Wednesday approved the governor’s request to empanel a 12-month grand jury to look into corruption issues – two days after the high court had rejected the plan. After the initial setback, Crist quickly re-filed, expanding on why he thought a grand jury was necessary in response to a wave of corruption cases focused in South Florida.

This time, the court unanimously said OK.

Broward Chief Judge Victor Tobin, of the 17th Circuit, will preside over the grand jury. It’s only fitting, since Broward has emerged as a hotbed of political corruption. Arrested in recent months: former County Commissioner, Josephus Eggelletion, School Board member Beverly Gallagher, Broward eye doctor and political fundraiser Alan Mendelsohn and, most recently, lawyer and alleged Ponzi scheme swindler Scott Rothstein.


*****

Call me crazy! But Broward Chief Judge Victor Tobin overseeing the Grand Jury? Is that not the fox guarding the hen house, so to speak?

Anonymous said...

PS----Captain, I hope you're not a circuit court judge. If you are, I hope you are honest enough to recuse yourself from all cases inovlving the death penalty.

BTDT

Anonymous said...

Why does the US still even have the Death Penalty?? When are we going to step into the present?

And yes that was a pubic hair in my coke.

Anonymous said...

Thomas sunk to a new low? I am no fan of Thomas, and no proponent of the death penalty, but are you suggesting that a defendant who delays his own sentence for years and years and years should reap the benefit of that delay?

Anonymous said...

thomas made his point well. Would Stevens prefer that Blackstonian world, where we just take the defendant outside and shoot him? Or would he prefer the one we currently have, where years of appeals can go by prior to execution, during which hopefully a truly innocent defendant will be flushed out? I prefer the latter (if one is going to have the death penalty in the first place). In that case, there cannot be a constitutional delay in execution claim that Stevens is proposing. It is in fact a ridiculous theory, which Stevens knows is ridiculous but uses it as a cover for his real argument - that the death penalty is unconstitutional no matter what. For that latter point, Stevens is intellectually honest and consistent. For the former, he is not.

Anonymous said...

what happend at the meeting 12/2 w/ Leifman?

Anonymous said...

Keep me on the list!

CAPTAIN said...

THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

Congratulations are in order to Sandra "Sandy" Lonergan.

As some of you who live and work daily at the GJB know, she has been the Director of Criminal Operations for the past 14 years. She has a total of 25 years experience in the building.

Sandy was just named our new Court Administrator for the 11th Judicial Circuit. She replaces Ruben Carrerou who is retiring at the end of this year. She was chosen by CJ Brown (after a nationwide search) and voted on and approved by a majority of the judges.

We will all miss Sandy at the GJB. Her replacement has big shoes to fill.

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

Always amusing how after someone calls Cap out on a silly comment and posts an intelligent response, Cap moves on to a new subject.

Anonymous said...

Why does the US still even have the Death Penalty?

Because we are stupid, ignorant, savages; whose treatment of our fellow man is appalling. Our government is a bloody-handed murder whose protestation “killing is wrong” is overcome by the bad example it sets. “Do as I say; not as I do.”

Anonymous said...

I know some faulted Richard Essen for not trying cases but, if you knew him, you liked him.

Anonymous said...

Hey, 4:24:00 PM.

How do you really feel?