Thursday, September 22, 2011

A question for you

Here's a question you can only answer for yourself.

Two men died yesterday, both before their natural allotment of years.

Troy Davis was 42 at the time of his death. There is very little question about the facts: he was almost certainly innocent of the crime for which he was executed. Nevertheless, the mechanism of the state executed him, celebrating, in the immortal words of that thug Antonin Scalia, that "This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is "actually" innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged "actual innocence" is constitutionally cognizable."

The other premature death yesterday was Lawrence Russell Brewer. 44 years old, he was in prison since 1999. There is also no doubt about the facts of his case. He was one of two white supremacists who chained and dragged James Byrd to his death in Texas in 1998. It was a crime that horrified everybody I know.

Did you have the same reaction of revulsion and horror at Brewer's execution as at Davis's?

I sure didn't.

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