It’s Not About Justice

You are doomed.
You are doomed.
Creationists demand that only people who have first person experience of the events as they happened be allowed to teach evolution. Since there are no multi-million year old people running around they claim victory. Maybe they’ll accept the word of a guy who was born when Christ walked the earth. He was a Jew too. Just like Jesus. Then there are those who argue that only middle aged white men should be able to tell minority women what to do with their vaginae. They tend to base their argument on the long held scientific research espoused in Leviticus. As noted in a famous letter, that has led to some problems; Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians? And it does seem that the majority of these arguments tend to originate in states where education and safety are considered luxuries.

Still, despite the long term harm to the gene pool these states represent, they have never been actually a threat to innocent life.

Until now.

Florida, of course it’s freaking Florida, has asked the governor to put a speed lane in for the death penalty even if they have to kill innocent people.

No, I am not making this up.

Bill Cotterell, of Reuters, has the whole, disturbing, story.

The Florida Senate sent Governor Rick Scott a package of capital-punishment reforms on Monday designed to prevent condemned killers from spending decades on Death Row, despite warnings that speeding up the legal appeals process could lead to innocent prisoners being executed.

The “Timely Justice Act” sets deadlines for condemned killers to file appeals, and for the state to proceed with issuing warrants after the Florida Supreme Court upholds death sentences.

It also sets competency standards for lawyers handling cases. To reduce the number of appeals alleging incompetent counsel, any attorney twice found to have provided “constitutionally deficient representation” will be suspended from handling death appeals for five years.

“Is swift justice fair justice?” asked Democratic party Senator Arthenia Joyner, a Tampa attorney who voted against the bill. “We have seen cases where, years later, convicted people were exonerated,” she said.

“I don’t see the reason for the swiftness, especially with DNA evidence that can exonerate,” said Senator Maria Sachs, who is also an attorney and a Democrat.

But Republican Senator Rob Bradley said, “this is not about guilt or innocence, it’s about timely justice.” Frivolous appeals designed only for delay are not fair to victims and their families, he said.

The act also requires the state Supreme Court to make annual reports to the Legislature on how many capital appeals have been pending more than three years. Attorneys found to have provided incompetent counsel would also be reported to the Florida Bar.

“Only God can judge,” Matt Gaetz, a Republican who sponsored the bill in the House of Representatives, said last week during House debate. “But we sure can set up the meeting.”

The House passed Gaetz’s bill 84-34 last week. Governor Scott, a conservative Republican, is expected to sign the changes into law.

Florida has 400 men and five women currently under death sentence, with the next execution set for May 29. Gaetz and backers of his bill said 155 have been on Death Row for more than 20 years and 10 have been there more than 35 years.

Staff analysis of Gaetz’s bill said the average time between sentence and execution, since Florida resumed executions in 1979, has been 13 years. The state has carried out 75 warrants in that time, second only to Texas, which has executed 496 convicted killers since 1976.

Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C., said 33 states currently have capital punishment, but Maryland is set to abolish it when that state’s governor signs a repeal law this week. Five states have repealed the death penalty in the past six years, Dieter said.

“There’s been a trend away from capital punishment,” said Dieter. “The number of sentences imposed in the country has declined by 75 percent since 1990 and only nine states carried out an execution last year.”

State Senator Darren Soto tried on Friday to raise the required jury vote from seven to 10 for death penalties. He said Florida is the only state allowing juries to recommend death by a simple majority of 7 to 5. He said Alabama is the only other state allowing non-unanimous death recommendations, which he said require 10 votes there.

Okay, did anyone else notice that the only person mentioned in this article with a college education opposed the bill? I don’t care if she’s a lawyer, she is literally the only one.

Second, and I hate to have to waste the internet to point out the obvious but, yes, it is about justice. We don’t kill people just to kill people. We are not the fucking Taliban. The reason there are so many restrictions on the death penalty is because it’s a one shot deal.

And every time those restrictions are relaxed our country has a bad habit of killing innocent people.

I should also mention that it is cheaper to give someone life in prison than kill them. That doesn’t mean I’m opposed to the death penalty, I’m not – there are some people who are truly evil, but I am opposed to using it to please whims.

I leave you with the words of Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims (D) – “As a reminder, Mr. Speaker, I do believe this has been forgotten entirely by many of my colleagues today: Each of us put our hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. We did not place our hands on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.”

Here’s a video about other people who made good life choices.

Leningrad Cowboys – You’re My Heart You’re My Soul

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