Tuesday, July 26, 2011
FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS
FEDERAL NOMINATIONS: DOM breaks the news that two State Court Judges: Jerald Bagely and John Thornton are among the four nominees sent to the President for the District Court of the Southern District of Florida. Federal Magistrates John O'Sullivan (former AUSA) and Robin Rosenbaum are the other two nominees. FYI: This is not the first time Judge Bagely has been nominated.
In 1978 Manuel Valle shot and killed Coral Gables Police Officer Louis Pena.
Valle was arrested a short time later. 24 days after his arrest he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death by Judge Ellen Morphonious.
24 days from crime to being condemned was just a little too fast for the Justice system, and his conviction and sentence was reversed.
33 years later Valle is still alive and, as the Herald reports, the Florida Supreme Court has stayed his execution date of August 2, 2011 so a Miami Dade Judge can conduct a sentencing hearing on whether the new three drug cocktail used for lethal injections is painful.
We are no fans of the death penalty, but there is something about holding a hearing on whether a drug cocktail designed to stop a person's heart and kill them is painful that just seems a bit too much. The system is clearly broken.
24 days was way to fast. But 33 years of legal maneuvering seems more than a bit disrespectful to the memory of Officer Pena and his family. It's cases like these that the public latches on to and causes them to believe this is typical of the justice system. Nothing about Manuel Valle's case has been typical. But enough is enough. It's time for this case to end.
REGJB Trivia: Valle was sentenced to death by a Judge who was a former PD and an avowed opponent of the death penalty. That Judge made his opposition to the death penalty well known at the time he pronounced sentence. Name that Judge. (Note: Judge Morphonious's first trial and sentence 24 days after the shooting was obviously overturned. There was a new trial and a new sentencing phase and Valle was sentenced to death. That death sentence (but not the guilty verdict) was overturned and a third sentencing hearing was conducted by a different Judge.)
Manuel Valle, the bell tolls for thee.