Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 13, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

LIFE AND DEATH....On Thursday the Supreme Court heard the case of Paul House, a Tennessee man who is appealing his death sentence based on new DNA evidence suggesting he's innocent. Antonin Scalia indicated during the arguments that he wanted to take a very strict, legalistic approach to the case, and Cathy Young isn't impressed:

So the difference between a man's life and death hinges on the difference between "could" and "would." It sounds like something out of a very black comedy satirizing the courts.

The convenience of the criminal justice system really shouldn't be the primary factor in deciding whether someone lives or dies. House deserves a new trial.

Kevin Drum 11:50 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (74)

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Comments

An innocent man is being sent to his death, yay! This is what we've been fighting to get on the Supreme Court for so many years.

If he was a fetus he might have had a chance.

Posted by: conservatard on January 13, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Was it the defense attorney or Scalia that was differentiating between "would" and "could" in the excerpt Cathy Young quotes? I think it ws the former.

Posted by: Vergasy on January 13, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

If you read the article, it sounds like he will get a new trial.

Posted by: tbrosz on January 13, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

House deserves a new trial.

I think you're wrong. One of the primary reasons why we have a death penalty is for deterrance. A innocent person receiving the death penalty would be a great deterrant because then guilty person would understand a state willing to kill a innocent person would have even less problems killing a guilty person. This would deter potential criminals from committing crimes.

Posted by: Al on January 13, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Judge Scalia, dipping his hands in a bowl of water and wiping them on towels, said...

Posted by: theorajones on January 13, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

"deterrance"~Al

What's a primary reason we have dictionaries, Al?

Posted by: Ace Franze on January 13, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

I heard about this on Morning Editiion the other day. One of the guests they had on was from some pro-death penalty group, at least that was how NPR framed their purpose. I was pretty shocked to hear that the position that this guy was taking was that he didn't deserve a new trial. Seemed to me like his position was based less on a desire to see justice carried out and moreso on a wish to see people put down, regardless of any crime committed.
Liberty and justice for all, Baby!

Posted by: Scott Herbst on January 13, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Al,
Please report to the Tennessee Prison for your for "innocent person" service to mankind.

Posted by: Robert on January 13, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Um, not to be critical, but isn't it the function of all courts, but especially the supreme court, to "take a very strict, legalistic approach" to all the cases they hear. I'm just saying.....

Posted by: horosho on January 13, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

This person probably voted for a democrat at some point in their life, so he's guilty of murder. All the blastocysts prevented from implanting in the womb by RU-486 are having their revenge!

The rest of you lie-berals are next!

Posted by: Al on January 13, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Like so many other commentators, Young believes the fallacy that conservatives favor limited government. This odd meme is an artifact of the Left's attempts at social engineering over the last century, which provoked a conservative anti-government backlash. However, I've come across very few true conservatives who wouldn't leap at the chance to impose their traditionalism by force of law. Many are also pathologically committed to our criminal justice system, believing law and order to be more important than individual liberty. (No, I'm not being unfair; I've heard people defend the death penalty against the possibility of executing innocents by saying deterrence is more important than getting it right. Although, to be fair, a few so-called liberals have expressed similar views.)

Most of the self-identified conservatives I've come across who oppose the death penalty are really on the libertarian side - John Cole or Sullivan come to mind. Rod Dreher is the only exception I can think of.

(This is not meant as a slam against those who really do believe in limited government, but seriously, how many are there? And it's possible to support the small government and still allow the death penalty, but only if you don't make excuses for it.)

Posted by: neoliberal on January 13, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK
One of the primary reasons why we have a death penalty is for deterrance. A innocent person receiving the death penalty would be a great deterrant because then guilty person would understand a state willing to kill a innocent person would have even less problems killing a guilty person.

Er, no.

While its pretty clear that the death penalty doesn't deter the crimes its applied to in general (and is, therefore, completely irrational if justified primarily by an interest in deterrence), in the first place, your entire argument here misses the entire theory of deterrence, which is based on imposing a cost differential between desirable and undesirable conduct.

The greater the risk of being executed without committing any crime, the less possibility for deterrence there is, as it becomes harder to create a greater expected cost for actually committing a crime.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 13, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

To posts so directly tied together. Couldn't this quote:
"He doesn't have a screw loose; what he has is a piece missing, conspicuously, radiantly, displaying the absence of any sense of, well, justice" apply to Scalia in this case?

And isn't this a sad commentary that someone who claims to care about Original Intent claim this when there is ample evidence that founders cared deeply about justice? Heck wasn't that one of the reasons for the War of Indpendence?

It reminds me of the saddest part of Bush Gore. There was obvious "just" answer - count all the votes to determine who really won. And neither party just came out and said that.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on January 13, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Wrong, Al. The reason for the death penalty is vengence. Which is a perfectly natural and acceptable reason.

Meanwhile, why doesn't Kevin post about Roger Coleman, who liberals were SO HAPPY about when they thought DNA tests would show he was wrongly execute. Well, turns out yesterday they said the DNA tests CONFIRMED he was executed properly.

Funny the leftists don't talk about that.

Posted by: Al on January 13, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

I'll type really slow so you morons and fake Als can understand:

We. Are. At. War.

So if someone accuses you of guilt, you deserve to die. Otherwise, the evil ones can kill innocent Americans!

Bill O'Reilly warned you: be careful what you say.

Stop cupping Osama's balls!

Posted by: Al on January 13, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: If you read the article, it sounds like he will get a new trial.

Yes, probably by a 5-4 decision, with Scalia in the minority. What happens when a Scalia clone gets on the court?

Posted by: alex on January 13, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

okay Al, I accuse you of guilt.

see ya!

Posted by: haha on January 13, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK
Like so many other commentators, Young believes the fallacy that conservatives favor limited government. This odd meme is an artifact of the Left's attempts at social engineering over the last century, which provoked a conservative anti-government backlash.

Actually, its more a result of conservatives realizing that, by the late 20th Century, real open ideological conservativism and the appeals to racism that conservatives had been making to make up for that -- while still working -- weren't enough for a durable majority, so they needed to be supplemented with appeals to libertarianism.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 13, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK
So if someone accuses you of guilt, you deserve to die.

In which case, j'accuse. Please act accordingly.

Posted by: SavageView on January 13, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

And this DNA evidence doesn't exonerate Paul, either. It just throws out some of the evidence.

But Scalia, like other paradoxical 'pro-life/pro-death penalty' advocates, should really avoid making news headlines.

(not nice, fake-Al)

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on January 13, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Scalia represents a return to provincialism, where every political district will have a strongman who rules from convenience. It is the future destiny of the US, I think, because the majority of voting constituents support it. Until America has another major social catastrophe, like the Great Depression or Dust Bowl, we will be unable to democraticaly prevent this return to a Pottersville republic our great grandparents and/or grandparents rejected in 1932.

Posted by: Powerpuff on January 13, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

I've said it before, I think Al is one of our most talented mock-gadflies.

Posted by: yesh on January 13, 2006 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK
Wrong, Al. The reason for the death penalty is vengence. Which is a perfectly natural and acceptable reason.

Natural, sure. Acceptable? Well, that's a question of morality, I suppose. To me, not acceptable.

It is a shame that those who want Christian values to play a bigger role in government don't start a movement to hang copies of Romans 12:17-21.

17. Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all. 18. If possible, on your part, live at peace with all. 19. Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." 20. Rather, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head." 21. Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.
Posted by: cmdicely on January 13, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Conveniently omitting the last paragraph - "it is likely that House will get a new trial". But why let the facts get in the way of typical liberal emotional hysteria. It's a shame the libs won't put up the same moral fight for the unborn.

Posted by: Jay on January 13, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

It's a shame the libs won't put up the...zzzzzzzzzz

Snerp! Whaaa? Huh? Sorry, I dozed off for a moment there.

Posted by: shortstop on January 13, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Al, lefty types like myself are relieved that it wasn't an innocent person executed, while still being against the death penalty in general.

It's really quite simple:
Executing guilty person: bad.
Executing innocent person: Really, really bad.

Summary: Both bad, one just worse.

Posted by: MobiusKlein on January 13, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, the unborn seem to have plenty of spokesmen.

It's a shame those people's value of life is so hypocritical.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on January 13, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

I understand shortstop, focus and liberalism is an oxymoron.

Posted by: Jay on January 13, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

'foresight', a ephemism for 'not being rich' of course.

by far the best arguement so far: the pres is someone who is tough on people who don't plan ahead. haha

Posted by: total on January 13, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

wishIwuz2, so your value of life is weighted towards those who take other peoples lives vs. those whose lives are yet to be fully realized. Interesting.

Posted by: Jay on January 13, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Well Kevin, I suspect Scalia is also a 'smart decent small man'. We get any more of the 'smart decent small men' on the court we can go tell Mr House and folks like him to pound sand.

I don't think Scalia or Alito are decent, and the fact that both would vote against a new trial for Mr House is a perfect illustration why they should not have life time appointments on the court.

Doug

Posted by: Doug on January 13, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Doug, but if they give unconditional approval to any woman to kill their unborn child, that qualifies them?

Posted by: Jay on January 13, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK
Conveniently omitting the last paragraph - "it is likely that House will get a new trial". But why let the facts get in the way of typical liberal emotional hysteria.

This strikes me not as a fact but as a prediction. But why let reality get in the way of typical fascist sturm und drang.

Posted by: SavageView on January 13, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

He certainly should get another trial. I'm not sure how much weight the evidence in question had, but it sounds like it was a significant part in establishing a motive.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on January 13, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

*wishIwuz2, so your value of life is weighted towards those who take other peoples lives vs. those whose lives are yet to be fully realized. Interesting.*

Looks like we can skip the trial.

Don't know how you decided how I weigh this issue. My only comment was to point out the hypocricy of the 'pro-life/pro-death penalty' stance. I try not to be so bi-polar.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on January 13, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

"Looks like we can skip the trial". There was already one trial and that's one more than the unborn get.

Posted by: Jay on January 13, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

DonP,Hart,Jaybird,Alice, or whatever your current moniker,

Why don't you e-mail your views to that vile "liberal" who opposes the death penalty?

Simply contact Bill O'Reilly at FAUX.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 13, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: If you read the article, it sounds like he will get a new trial.

tbrosz missing the point yet again.

Jay: There was already one trial and that's one more than the unborn get.

Pretty stupid comment even for you.

Hey, get a clue: a fetus is not a legal person and never has been in the history of the United States or even the Western World. Never.

Jay: . . . but if they give unconditional approval to any woman to kill their unborn child . . .

Yet another conservative lie routinely proffered as truth.

Jay: . . . focus and liberalism is an oxymoron.

Coming from an outright moron, this claim really wouldn't mean much, even if its falsity were in doubt.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 13, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Jay: But why let the facts get in the way of typical liberal emotional hysteria.

Also missing the point.

Proving once again how utterly stupid our wingers truly are.

Posted by: Advocate for God on January 13, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

The convenience of the criminal justice system really shouldn't be the primary factor in deciding whether someone lives or dies.

And yet, it is. It became apparent to me long ago that the death penalty has become an end in itself. I believe it was when conservatives were moving heaven and earth to shorten the appeals process because they felt executions were taking too long, and not enough people were being put to death. That's not my glib rephrasing, by the way -- that's pretty much the way they framed the problem.

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on January 13, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

jay, why do conservatives care more about the unborn than they do the born? just asking. perhaps if they actually valued life there just might be fewer abortions and fewer executions.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on January 13, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

The word "proffered" always looks misspelled even when it isn't, doesn't it?

Posted by: shortstop, adding nothing on January 13, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

The rationale behind the death penalty is deterrance. While true that murderer ( if correctly identified and convicted ) won't kill again, stats don't support lowered incidence where it is applied. Therefore, it is vengeance.

Posted by: opit on January 13, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

I have to hand it to the fake Al; it takes a special kind of talent to fool both sides so consistently.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on January 13, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

What we need are more judges like the one at Ballymena in Ireland. After Roddy was flushed out of hiding, gave him a quick trial and marched him immediately to the Bridge of Toome on Good Friday, 1799. There, they quickly put the noose around the young Presbyterian's neck and hanged him. No DNA, no appeals. Ah, Brit "Justice".

By the way, I love your moniker, Roddy McCorley, and enjoy and appreciate your posts as well.

Posted by: stupid git on January 13, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Unlike you lefty bozos the court looked at all the evidence. Like the following.

The eight judges in the majority said there remained strong circumstantial evidence of House's guilt. He had lied to police, he was seen near the dead woman's body and he had new cuts and bruises he could not explain. To win a reversal, a convict such as House "must do more than raise questions about the reliability" of key evidence against him, the majority said.

He is also a convicted rapist. While that has no bearing on the case we do know these guys are typically repeat offenders.

While the semen was not his. He has failed to explain away any of the other evidence used against him. Which would have been enough to convict him considering his record. Ask Scott Peterson about circumstantial evidence.

So for him to get a new trial it looks like he would have to negate some of the other evidence.

If the semen was the only evidence and the circumstantial evidence was not enough by itself to convict him. I would agree that a new trial would be warranted.

So considering the hurdle he has to overcome to get a new trial. I don't think he will be getting one any time soon.

Posted by: Fat White Guy on January 13, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Therefore, it is vengeance.

Posted by: opit

Your wrong! It is punishment and justice.

Posted by: Fat White Guy on January 13, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK
Perhaps you need to read the rest of Romans, chapter 12 to see that the State retains the power of the sword.

Obvious, you version of Romans 12 is significantly different than mine:

1. I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.
2. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.
3. For by the grace given to me I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think, but to think soberly, each according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned.
4. For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function,
5. so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another.
6. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them: if prophecy, in proportion to the faith;
7. if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching;
8. if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one contributes, in generosity; if one is over others, with diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
9. Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good;
10. love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor.
11. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
12. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.
13. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality.
14. Bless those who persecute (you), bless and do not curse them.
15. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
16. Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation.
17. Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all.
18. If possible, on your part, live at peace with all.
19. Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."
20. Rather, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head."
21. Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.

You are probably thinking of Romans 13, but that doesn't speak to what the authorities should do, but rather how Christians should relate to authority -- particularly, it deals with the particular question (given the context of the letter to the Romans) of how Christians are to deal with being subject to authority which is not itself Christian. In doing so, it echoes Romans 12 injunction against vengeance and the injunctions against judgmentalism in counseling not resisting authority.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 13, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

The word "proffered" always looks misspelled even when it isn't, doesn't it?

Posted by: shortstop, adding nothing

I have the same problem with "occurred". I think this important subject deserves a thread all its own.

Posted by: craigie on January 13, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

I think this important subject deserves a thread all its own.

definitely (a word i have trouble with, btw)

Posted by: cleek on January 13, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK
...which indeed speaks to what States are supposed to do in response to evil.

No, it doesn't. It speaks to how Christians are too respond to people in positions of authority. It invokes no such abstractions as "the State", nor does it speak to how those in authority should act, only states that God uses them as his agents. Of course, anyone remotely familiar with the Old Testament (Isaiah, for instance) would recognize that such agents often are acting explicitly contrary to morality, but that God allows them to do so for what might be described as pedagogical purposes.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 13, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK
Again, I ask you: "What Christian, as an individual, is carrying out the death penalty in America today?"

Any Christian carring out the death penalty is doing so in such a manner. States are legal fictions.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 13, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

If history has proved anything, its that people will continue to get pregnant, and some of those children-to-be will not be wanted. When (not if) that happens, an abortion may be sought, legally or illegally.

I would take anti-abortionists like Jay more seriously if they got behind contraception and adoption seriously (there are so few that do). The idea that you want no abortions, means that you have to have some way of providing a 100% foolproof contraceptive option. The idea that "every child is wanted" belies that fact that orphanages exist. If you've ever used that phrase in earnest, go to an orphanage and adopt a child today. The idea that being pregnant is a punishment for your misdeeds is repugnant in a modern society.


Back to the topic at hand. I concur with your sentiment FWG, but take issue with "must do more than raise questions about the reliability of key evidence". If "key" evidence is negated (rather than just called into question) then the case surely becomes less strong. Or to para-miranda-phrase "It may harm your prosecution if you rely on evidence that is later proved false in court".

The dichotomy is that since he's been found guilty, there is now a high presumption of guilt, but the question is, of course, would he have been found guilty in the first place if this evidence was not presented. Your quote referred to him as the convict, but if it were a trial, he would be the accused. There is the bias that is making people here uneasy I feel.

Posted by: royalblue_tom on January 13, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone professing membership in the human race shouldn't have a problem with using every tool available to verify the guilt of anyone before they dispatch them to the great beyond.

If you oppose that, we are simply a different species, and I fear you.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 13, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Your quote referred to him as the convict, but if it were a trial, he would be the accused. There is the bias that is making people here uneasy I feel.

Posted by: royalblue_tom

The article I read stated that he was a paroled rapist. This with the circumstantial eveidence would put him high on the Cop's list. It would also probably lead to his conviction without the semen evidence. Since it would show a pattern in his behavior.

Posted by: Fat White Guy on January 13, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

If you oppose that, we are simply a different species, and I fear you.

Posted by: Global Citizen

In this case they used the tools. They just did not give it enough weight to tip the scale in House's favor.

Posted by: Fat White Guy on January 13, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

> "One of the primary reasons why we have a death penalty is for
> deterrance. A innocent person receiving the death penalty would be
> a great deterrant because then guilty person would understand a
> state willing to kill a innocent person would have even less
> problems killing a guilty person."

> Er, no.

Woah. I never expected you of all people to fall for this, Chris :)

Cheney:

> That's fine, cmdicely, you in fact want the State to "beareth
> the sword in vain" and not be "the minister of God, a revenger
> to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." I understand your
> position precisely and we simply disagree.

Jesus H. Donald Rumsfeld Christ, are you a *Dominionist*, Cheney?

Is *that* your fucking problem?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 13, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

A Democrat could have asked Alito about this one. It will be decided before he is on the court, so he won't be prejudging a case he will hear. Young predicts 5 to 4 one of the 5 being O'Conner. If Alito had been on the court and House would die. The argument that actual innocence isn't grounds for habeus corpus relief is not likely to play well with the public.

Anyway questioning is over so never mind.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on January 13, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

BY THE WAY, KEVIN DRUM SAYS THE LIFE OF A cOAL MINER UNDER BUSH IS WORTH 440 DOLLARS.


WELL, THE LIFE OF A LITTLE GIRL, IN THE LIBERAL ENCLAVE OF VERMONT IS ONLY WORTH 60 DAYS IN JAIL.

THATS WHAT LIBERALS JUDGES ARE NOW SENTENCING MEN WHO REPEATEDLY OVER YEARS RAPE CHILDREN TO...60 DAYS...WELCOME TO THE LIBERALS IDEA OF JUSTICE.

And the Liberal Governor sees no reason to impeach the liberal judge.

OF COURSE KEVIN WILL NOT POST ON THIS SUBJECT.

Posted by: Patton on January 13, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

FWG: I was looking at the opinion from the Sixth Court of Appeals, rather than a news article.

Posted by: royalblue_tom on January 13, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK
That's fine, cmdicely, you in fact want the State to "beareth the sword in vain" and not be "the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil."

Wrong. And you are mistaking description for prescription in Romans 13, as to the role of authority (as well as injecting the unbiblical concept of "the State" into it.)

The nature of authority is described, the response to authority prescribed there.

I understand your position precisely, and we simply disagree.

As you describe it inaccurately, you are either mistaken or a liar in the first part, but certainly we do disagree.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 13, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

FWG: I was looking at the opinion from the Sixth Court of Appeals, rather than a news article.

Posted by: royalblue_tom

That is fine but it does not change the truth of anything I said. The man was a paroled rapist which kind of ups the ante when you go to court in the first place. As far as the court of appeals goes they split 8-7, I think, stating that the new evidence did not have enough weight to warrant a new trial.

He would have been convicted without that evidence just like the example I used of Scott Peterson. Circumstantial evidence alone would have convicted him with his record.

Also the article I got my info from was making the case for why House should get a new trial. It was not hang him high editorial. I make an effort to make sure of my accuracy when I am stating something other than my esteemed opinion.

Posted by: Fat White Guy on January 13, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Pattern of behavior be damned, before someone is executed, do everything in your power to verify the guilt. An executed man (or woman) can't be revived. A freed man can be compensated.

Prosecutors who don't want to test DNA or who stand there flat-footed and say "The jury found him guilty." before a scheduled execution are specious in my book.

By the way, an innocent man has been executed. His name was Larry Griffin.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 13, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Al roars:

"Meanwhile, why doesn't Kevin post about Roger Coleman, who liberals were SO HAPPY about when they thought DNA tests would show he was wrongly execute. Well, turns out yesterday they said the DNA tests CONFIRMED he was executed properly.

Funny the leftists don't talk about that."

Posted by: Al on January 13, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK


I don't follow these cases, so I've never heard of him. And, of course, Kevin Drum isn't a "leftist", so it's natural he'd never say a word about it.

However, do you have a cite for evidence that DNA can "confirm" his guilt? So far as I know DNA can't yet do that.

Posted by: MarkH on January 13, 2006 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

And the Liberal Governor sees no reason to impeach the liberal judge.

The Governor of Vermont is a Republican, dimwit.

Posted by: Blue State Mike on January 13, 2006 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

I would oppose the death penalty if a life sentence was really a life sentence. There are many books on the market that provide evidence that convicted killers who go free and then kill again have claimed many thousands of lives in America in the last fifty years. I don't know how to do a link, but if you google search "Why the Innocent Plead Guilty. . ." you will come up with my book which not only talks about an innocent man who pleaded guilty to murder in Oregon, but many convicted murderers who were released and did it again, including some serial murderers from Texas. (Texas has a curious little history of releasing or trying to release murderers, believe it or not, which traces back to one-party domination of the Lone Star state up until about 1994.)

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on January 13, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Funny the leftists don't talk about that

Really? I posted about it yesterday.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 13, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

ML Cook - email me and I will send you an HTML cheat-sheet.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 13, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

Placing the process of dotting "i"s and crossing "t"s is important, but to put that so far above the actual issue of "guilt" or "not guilt"iness and above the person's life is simply insanity of the Nazi kind.

Far too many prosecutors and judges allow themselves to slip comfortably into carrying out the orders and forgetting the humanity involved. They should wear a swastika on their black robe.

Posted by: MarkH on January 13, 2006 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, read the link. He's trying to gain innocence by blaming the husband. Tell you what. Let him free but hang the husband first.

Posted by: McA on January 14, 2006 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, an innocent man has been executed. His name was Larry Griffin.

Posted by: Global Citizen

Why don't you make that statement when his conviction is overturned. Until then you might say you think an innocent man was executed.

Also as far as a pattern of behavior goes. House was a paroled rapist. Not an accussed one but a convicted and paroled one. Sexual predators are also typically repeat offenders. If you don't believe that give me your address and I'll reccommend that the next paroled rapist gets released in your neighborhood.

Posted by: Fat White Guy on January 14, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Wil, someone please tell me why Roger Coleman's guilt is considered proved? That his semen was in her body doesn't prove that he raped her, let alone that he strangled her.

Posted by: waterfowl on January 14, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

        

Posted by: jessie on January 15, 2006 at 12:47 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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