More Than Enough Rope
Snarky thoughts on the legal issues that catch my fickle fancy. The death penalty, free speech, and anything else that happens to tweak my interest on any given day, when I should be studying for the bar, is fair game.
- Name: Dorothy
- Location: Somewhere in the 9th Circuit, United States
You're welcome to draw your own conclusions about my education, but I do have a couple of pieces of paper that say I was there, and a mid-sized student loan debt to prove it. My beliefs and opinions are colored by my place in the world, and I recognize that. I'm a parent, female, 30-something, socially liberal, fiscally moderate, slightly cynical, opinionated, judgmental, book-loving, political, and constantly asking "why?"
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Sunday, September 30, 2007
I'm Baaa-aack! And so is SCOTUS
In the near future, I'll have quite a bit to say about VAWA and the U-Visa... And the things that are being done to gut them... Grr.
But, for now, SCOTUS is starting a new term, and I'm anxious to hear what's going to happen. The court is pretty evenly divided, making Justice Kennedy's swing-vote even more critical. I can't say I was overly impressed with either Roberts or Alito and their contributions to last term's decisions. Not that I expected to be. I just hope that Bush doesn't have the opportunity to appoint another justice.
On the upcoming docket are three death-penalty cases (well, two so far, and one predicted...)
as well as a case restricting gun-rights, sentencing disparities in crack versus cocaine cases, child-pornography and the say of federal courts on how military courts try individuals overseas on charges of terrorism.
So, with a passel of high-value cases coming up, an evenly split court and Justice Kennedy providing the swing-vote, this term should be an interesting one...
Oral arguments start tomorrow with Washington State Grange v. Washington State Republican Party and Washington v. Washington State Republican Party (consolidated) and New York City Board of Education v. Tom F. (NOTE: Yeah, I was late getting a post up yesterday with the links to the transcripts of the oral arguments for the first day. What can I say? Customs and Border Enforcement thought I was interesting enough to question yesterday when I was crossing back from Mexico...Apparently the best way to avoid claims of racial profiling is to question the *least* likely people. Middle-aged Semitic women crossing on foot wearing the ID badge of a humanitarian group and carrying nothing but a 3-ring-binder apparently fit the bill...)
Tuesday will kick off with Gall v. United States, which considers sentencing guidelines and what constitutes abuse of discretion, and Kimbrough v. United States, which considers the disparity in sentencing for offenses involving crack cocaine and those involving powder cocaine.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Not for me.
I know I've missed commenting on quite a few things that have happened lately, including (baruch Hashem) a stay of execution, and sadly, a couple of executions carried out... Not to mention word that Michael Vick has been offered a plea deal (a rather sweet one...) that would give him less than a year in prison. Personally, I hope he takes it to trial. The world should hear about the absolute depravity that these people engage in.
Anyway. Here's part of the reason I've been so quiet:
I'm starting a new job, in an area that is very close to my heart. Not doing death penalty work, but working within an organization that combats domestic violence. Work that will give me a good mix of on-the-line work with women and children, and developing policy.
So, anyone who reads my rantings (yeah, both of you...) will please forgive me while I get my act back together and re-adjust priorities to accommodate everything I want to do.
I'm sure I'll be back to ranting and raving soon.
Friday, July 20, 2007
I hope that there are still people out there who appreciate irony...
While dog-fighting is a vile, cruel sport, and I whole-heartedly believe that those who are involved in it should be subject to harsh penalties, the irony of one particular statement was impossible to miss.
Dose of Irony #1:
Senator Robert Byrd, D-WV, apparently told his colleagues in open session that while he's seen one execution, he wouldn't mind seeing another "if it involves this cruel, sadistic, cannibalistic business of training innocent, vulnerable creatures to kill"
Wow. That one damn near left me speechless.
Dose of Irony #2:
One of the allegations was that at least one dog was killed by being doused with water and electrocuted.
It's cruel to do this to a dog... But an acceptable means of executing a human being?
Ish. I need a cup of day-old black coffee to wash the taste of this out of my mouth.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Darrell Grayson Execution Set for July 26- ACT NOW!
This excerpt comes directly from an e-mail sent by Abe Bonowitz from Citizens United to Abolish the Death Penalty:
- Alabama has refused to make its lethal injection protocol public. The 11 states that looked at lethal injection at least gave the matter pause and consideration. Alabama is doing everything possible to keep everything secret.
Why this secrecy? Why not at least stop and say-let’s review like the other 11 did?
- Judge Watkins had set a tentative date for a 3 day trial on this for June 26th and then denied this due to pressure by the State, citing laches. Judge Watkins had been aware of this prior to setting tentative date.
- Darrell Grayson had an all white jury and a divorce attorney for his initial trial.
- Attorney failed to investigate citing insufficient funds from State.
- Attorney told Darrell Grayson to throw himself on the mercy of the court, ie. confess although he had been in a black out the night of the crime with no recollection of the event.
- A witness who had been with Darrell Grayson and Victor Kennedy, ( already executed for the murder), and Rodney Grayson that night drinking and drugging gave a sworn affidavit that Darrell Grayson was passed out cold and did not leave with Victor Kennedy or Rodney Grayson.
- On the night of Victor Kennedy’s execution he sent word to Darrell B. Grayson via the
- chaplain asking him for forgiveness. Victor Kennedy had steadfastly refused to answer Darrel B. Grayson’s questions about the events.
- Darrell B. Grayson represented by the Innocence Project has been denied DNA testing of evidence, which could clear him because it would contradict his false confession of culpability.
- In denying testing the State states that Darrell B. Grayson has not claimed innocence. As stated before, Darrell B. Grayson has no recollections of that night!
If this execution offends you, please write to Alabama's Governor Bob Riley.
600 Dexter Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36130-2751
This is the governor's website
This is the public e-mail
The number for the switchboard is 334-242-7100
The fax number is 334-353-0004
If you believe that this execution is a miscarriage of justice, act to make a difference.
'Roid Rage? Try Again.
Murdering pro-wrestler Chris Benoit had only the hormone testosterone present in his blood. Along with that, medical examiners found xanax, hydrocodone and hydromorphone (which is also a by-product of the breakdown of hydrocodone.)
All were at therapeutic levels.
What was interesting was the presence of Xanax in his son's body. The investigators supposed in the press conference that this indicated that the child was sedated before he was suffocated.
To me, this as much as anything else indicates that this wasn't a murder caused by the so-called uncontrollable rage resulting from steroid abuse. Drugging your victim is calculated and deliberate--not an enraged act.
Nancy Benoit's body apparently also showed the presence of hydrocodone and Xanax, and her blood alcohol content was measured at .18. Whether this indicated alcohol consumption or was caused by the action of bacteria as decomposition progressed wasn't clear.
If nothing else was clear from the toxicology results released just a few minutes ago, Benoit's acts weren't the result of steroid induced rage.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Troy Anthony Davis Receives Reprieve!
Troy Davis got a reprieve, of up to 90 days, from the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles!
Somebody is finally listening.
Here's the speech given by Rep. John Lewis this morning.
I think he expressed very well many of the things that those of us aware of the case were feeling...
"Good morning, Chairperson Hunt and members of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles.
"It is a privilege to address you today, and I want to thank you for hearing me. I will not speak long, because what I have to say is very simple. I do not know Troy Anthony Davis. I do not know if he is guilty of the charges of which he has been convicted. But I do know that nobody should be put to death based on the evidence we now have in this case.
"Evidence that is dramatically different from what the jury heard. Evidence that I understand no court has ever considered, for technical reasons that have nothing to do with the truth.
"We sometimes hear that a guilty person has gone free because of some legal technicality, and we understandably feel frustrated when that happens. Now we have the opposite situation. A man who may well be innocent may die tomorrow — all because of those technicalities. This is much more than frustrating; it is tragic. It is unjust. And at a time when we are trying to convince the whole world that our way is best, it does not speak well of us. I will say only a little about the facts of the case, because you have other witnesses that know them better than I.
"But here is what I understand to be true. I understand that there is no physical evidence. No murder weapon. No fingerprints. No DNA.
"Just the testimony of a few frightened and confused people who were taken completely by surprise when a tragedy suddenly erupted — without warning — for just a few seconds — in the middle of the night. And now, the case against Mr. Davis, that rested on that testimony, is a shambles. I understand that there were nine key witnesses, seven of whom have recanted their testimony. The eighth witness has left the state and refuses to talk about the case. And the ninth cannot recant without confessing that he committed the murder. Indeed, some of the other recanting witnesses have now implicated him.
"You must surely know the evidence better than I. And you know the law better than I. But I know, with what we have learned since the original jury heard this case, that a reasonable jury today should have doubts — grave doubts — since we now know so much more than the original jury. I am sure the members of the original jury are fine people. And I am sure they tried to do the best they could with the tools they were given. But nobody ever gave them the tools to do the job right. Those tools were offered to the courts years later, but they said it was too late to use them.
"So now the tools are in your hands. Hands that are not bound by technicalities. And it is not too late to use the tools you have been given. But I am here now, because I could not stay away.
"If executing Troy Davis on the evidence we now have is the best our justice system can do, then that system is not worthy of the word justice. People of good faith can and do disagree about the death penalty. But all of us must certainly agree that before we carry out the ultimate penalty, we must be sure. The only thing I am sure of is that nobody can even come close to being sure that Troy Davis committed this crime. I am, frankly, shocked to think that we could execute anyone under these circumstances. And I ask you not to let that happen.
"Before I sit down, let me say a few words about a man who cannot be here today. I speak, of course, of the victim of this terrible crime, Officer Mark MacPhail. And I hope you will think of him too as you make your decision. Officer MacPhail's death was a senseless tragedy, and I am sure his loved ones still feel the pain of his loss. I pray for them and for Officer MacPhail today. And I ask you to do the same. For it is a terrible thing to be a victim of a violent crime.
"I know, because I am one. I was beaten senseless by a Coca-Cola crate when I arrived at the Greyhound bus station in Montgomery, Alabama as a Freedom Rider in 1961. I could easily have died. I was clubbed nearly to death a few years later on Bloody Sunday at the Edmund Pettis Bridge, and for awhile I looked death in the face, sure that I was about to see God. Indeed, of all the people in this room, I suspect that I am the only one who has any real idea of what Officer MacPhail felt in the last moments of his life.
"And I also think I know what he would say if he could speak to us today. He would tell us not to compound one tragedy with another. He would tell us not to make another man's family feel the pain that his family felt. He would tell us that his killer may still be at large. And he would tell us that, as an officer of the law, he wants our legal system to do what is right. That winning cases does not matter. That only justice matters. And that he does not want his legacy to be the death of an innocent man. As a fellow public servant, I believe I know what you should do. And as a man of faith, I am sure I know what God wants you to do. Do justice. Commute the sentence of Troy Anthony Davis. Thank you very much."
Friday, July 13, 2007
Andrew Speaker Sued in Canada
Oh, but how wrong he is.
There are quite a few things worth going after, here. Not the least of which is holding this pompous, self-absorbed twit of a personal injury lawyer accountable for the harm he caused. He should be familiar with the concept of gross negligence. Now he's about to receive the advanced course.
Another thing worth going after is an apology. The people he exposed to what he thought was a uniformly-deadly strain of TB deserve at least this.
And, any money he happens to have is probably appropriate, too.
Troy Anthony Davis Execution Set for Next Week
In spite of claims that he committed two shootings in fairly rapid succession, Davis had no gunshot residue on his hands. The murder weapon was never recovered. There was no DNA, of course. Nothing links Davis to this crime other than the questionable testimony of 9 individuals. Seven of these people have recanted their testimony. And, of the remaining two witnesses, one is the man that many suspect actually committed the murder, and the other has only ever claimed that she saw the color of the shooter's clothes.
But, it's not likely that a court is going to hear about the evidence that was unavailable up until after Davis had exhausted his appeal in state courts.
Anyway, here's a link to additional information about Davis and the case against him from Amnesty International. And another from the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
Raul Ruiz received a stay, baruch H-shem, perhaps Davis will as well.