It is easier to dismiss someone as being "evil" than to face the tangle of social failures that we're all complicit in. It's easier to hate the adult than to ask what made a child grow up wanting oblivion and finding fulfillment in a killing.
Theirs is a tale of what we expect might happen when boundaries are crossed, and when a rocker Eve tempts not just an Adam, but a Silicon Valley Master of the Universe in the Garden of Eden.
If we're not ashamed of executing our lowlifes -- strange that rich people never seem to get executed, what's that all about? -- then let the Bible be our guide and let's kill lots of people for all kinds of crimes and let's do it brutally.
"In a time of universal deceit," George Orwell once said, "telling the truth is a revolutionary act." That maxim certainly applies to David Victorson's book, 37 Tons.
Last year, executions in the U.S. dipped to a 20-year low. Jones v Chappell only further erodes confidence in the criminal justice system, as America travels down the path to death penalty abolition.
No longer will victims be relegated to a handful of defendants paying token amounts in just a few dozen cases per year.
A botched execution also erodes public confidence because it means that something went wrong with the very process of death, which we have entrusted to our leaders. When a government hides information such as the source of drugs used in lethal injection, it erodes the public trust.
While the American public could probably care less about me as a person -- I'm branded a criminal, a felon, after all, and this will never change -- they should care about what our nation's prison systems do to those incarcerated within.
In 1960 the Supreme Court could have kept Caryl Chessman from being executed in San Quentin's death chamber. He was executed more than 11 years after his conviction, following countless state and federal post-conviction proceedings and appeals. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court did not seize that opportunity.
Last week, in a historic victory for nearly 46,000 federal drug offenders, the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) voted unanimously to apply recent amendments to the federal drug sentencing guidelines retroactively to all eligible offenders.
Faced with a draconian decision by the SCOTUS in late April which all but eliminated meaningful restitution for child pornography victims, U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch and Chuck Schumer spearheaded a comprehensive legislative fix which addresses the concerns outlined in United States v. Paroline.
We must talk about the wrongful conviction of innocent men and women, to remind ourselves that we need to look closely at a system that is flawed and will sometimes fail. But in that vein, don't we also need to look at the consequences when those who may actually be guilty are acquitted, particularly when they are repeat offenders guilty of violent crimes?
After Judge Carney's decision, I am very concerned that many murder victims' families will soon be dealt another painful blow. If the state retroactively eliminates the death penalty, many grieving people, already robbed of so much, will lose the justice and closure that juries, after a thorough and lengthy review of all the facts, had granted them.
If ever the saying "Justice delayed is justice denied" has applicability, it is in this strange case. Defendants who may be innocent and whose constitutional rights were likely violated sit in prison.
As long as there have been societies, use of drugs and alcohol have been a part of them. Abuse of both drugs and alcohol is endemic, but could be better controlled were we to start treating drug and alcohol abuse in the same way; that is a public health problem that needs treatment, rather than only as a criminal law problem.
Government cannot police itself. Departments like the Internal Affairs Bureau of the NYPD and the Inspector General of New York can only do so much. It takes the lawyers for the injured and abused, to protect the less powerful and to effectuate true change for our communities.