Monthly Archives: March 2004

Texas Find Yourself Another Country to be Part Of

Nanon Williams one of 70 juveniles currently on death row.

One county in Texas, Harris County, has 10 of those 70. 14% is absolutely amazing for one county. They must be proud. (Sadly, they probably are.)

Nanon was convicted with flawed evidence. His accuser actually admitted to the crime himself on tape. But Texas still wants to execute him.

Title of post is a reference to this Phil Ochs song

Capital Punishment

Five years ago, yesterday, an innocent person may have been executed by the State of Missouri. Christy explains it as well as, if not better, than I could.

The possibility of executing innocent people is but one of several reasons I have against the death penalty. I’ve covered them several times in this space in the past.

1) The inherent racially-biased nature of capital punishment
2) The logical difficulties with teaching respect for human life by destroying it
3) The lack of any evidence that it deters future crime

As a side note. The US is also one of very few nations in the world that executes juveniles.

Since 1990 Amnesty International has recorded 34 executions of child offenders ñ 19 of them in the USA. Since 2000 there have been 14 ñ nine of them in the USA.

List of countries, and the number of juvenile offenders executed, since 1990: China (1), Congo (1), Nigeria (1), Saudi Arabia (1), Yemen (1), Pakistan (3), Iran (8), US (19).

Rehnquist adds an issue to the campaign

Chief Justice Rehnquist has just made the Supreme Court a campaign issue. He has confirmed that he is considering retirement. I doubt even if he decided next week to announce, that Congress would be able to select a replacement. There’d be enough foot-dragging by the Democrats until afteer the election. (And then if Kerry won, until January)

Everyone’s pretty much said, as last time, but even more so, the President after Jan 20 of next year will fill at least one seat. But it can now be said with even more certainty. And of course who the Chief Justice is will also have a big influence.

Unless Renquist modifies the statement “hey folks, I’m only considering it, maybe in four, five years” or something like that — unless that happens, it’s going to be brought up. By both sides.

Purim Approaches

Purim begins Saturday at sunset

Traditionally it is said, Jews are commanded to get so drunk on Purim they are unable to tell the difference between “Cursed Haman” and “Blessed Mordecai”. (Some translate this as Wrong and Right). Obviously this is a very dangerous commandment if so interpreted.

Here’s an intriguing look at the origins of this tradition, and what may really have been intended.

For those who know I like numerology, I was surprised to learn that in Hebrew, the words “Cursed Haman” and “Blessed Mordecai” are numerologically equal. And therefore the commandment may just mean drunk enough not to be able to do the math required to realize this. (Which isn’t very drunk at all. As the column indicates, many people can’t do that sober.)

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again

A nice cliche, but usually in America we can’t try someone twice for the same crime. Of course, the Supreme Court has been nice enough to provide us with a loophole.

I guess if the State of Oklahoma doesn’t succeed in getting a death sentence for Nichols, Oklahoma can pass a law that allows localities to try people, and Oklahoma City can set up a third trial. After that — since we’d have exhausted the possibilities in America, we could go on to the World Court. (But unfortunately, most members of The World Court are against the Death Penalty.)

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again

A nice cliche, but usually in America we can’t try someone twice for the same crime. Of course, the Supreme Court has been nice enough to provide us with a loophole.

I guess if the State of Oklahoma doesn’t succeed in getting a death sentence for Nichols, Oklahoma can pass a law that allows localities to try people, and Oklahoma City can set up a third trial. After that — since we’d have exhausted the possibilities in America, we could go on to the World Court. (But unfortunately, most members of The World Court are against the Death Penalty.)