Death sentence

At Listics, Frank Paynter writes:

It’s ironic that the Texas executioner will never spend a night in jail, yet Saddam Hussein was hanged. As governor of Texas, George Bush executed 131 prisoners. He slept on clean sheets last night and enjoyed three hot meals today. Hussein, recently convicted of killing 148 people in 1982, was hanged this morning.

…

I won’t lose any sleep over Hussein’s passing, nor Gerry Ford’s, nor the recent demise of Pinochet. I do continue to regret the shallow and callous nature of George W. Bush.

(Frank then points to a 2000 report from The Chicago Tribune on an investigation of all 131 death cases in Governor Bush’s time. It made chilling reading.)

In one-third of those cases, the report showed, the lawyer who represented the death penalty defendant at trial or on appeal had been or was later disbarred or otherwise sanctioned. In 40 cases the lawyers presented no evidence at all or only one witness at the sentencing phase of the trial.

In 29 cases, the prosecution used testimony from a psychiatrist who — based on a hypothetical question about the defendant’s past — predicted he would commit future violence.

Most of those psychiatrists testified without having examined the defendant: a practice condemned professionally as unethical.

Other witnesses included one who was temporarily released from a psychiatric ward to testify, a pathologist who had admitted faking autopsies and a judge who had been reprimanded for lying about his credentials.

Asked about the Tribune study, Governor Bush said, “We’ve adequately answered innocence or guilt” in every case. The defendants, he said, “had full access to a fair trial.”

There are two ways of understanding that comment.

Either Governor Bush was contemptuous of the facts or, on a matter of life and death, he did not care.

One response to “Death sentence”

  1. fp Avatar

    Thanks for the link, Cobbers. I strongly believe that we could start cleaning up the mess these flaming idiots have made on the planet by influencing a universal agreement that “life without parole” is the maximum sentence for any crime.