‘We close at 5.’
In my own experience Judges are an unsavory lot. They make law and they often do so on the basis of narrow-mindedness and prejudice. They are less interested in rendering a fair judgement (or even one that accords with standard legal rationales) than in clearing the docket or imposing their personal views. In many ways they are not much different than rent-a-cops - folks with Associate's Degrees who we put in uniform and set out to defend 'order' at malls and shopping centers. The sole difference is that they have gone to law school and so are especially sanctimonious. Fortunately, in my own experience no judge has had the prerogative to make a life-or-death decision.
The woman pictured at right is Sharon Keller a Texas criminal appeals court judge who confirms my views. According to this story in The Guardian and this one in The New York Times she refused to keep her office open for a last-minute death-penalty appeal when the Defense Attorneys were late filing papers due to a computer problem. She embodies Cicero's aphorism. And in so doing she reduces respect for law and the courts. In the meantime the prisoner was executed even though the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of the method of killing used by the State of Texas. While the court has not yet decided that case, it was known that it planned to review the use of lethal injection in executions when Keller decided she couldn't be late for dinner - or whatever pressing issue compelled her to act with depraved indifference to anything resembling justice. The man who was executed - Michael Richard - was convicted of rape and murder. He was not a nice man and I have no illusion on that score. But a conviction does not strip a person of constitutional protections. Sharon Keller seems not to notice that.
Labels: Death Penalty