Tuesday, April 25, 2017

My Two Cents: Neil Gorsuch, Arkansas, The Death Penalty and Ledell Lee

I am against the Death Penalty in every single instance; sue me.

I used to attend protests at San Quentin whenever there was a murder scheduled. I have my reasons, and I have my arguments, but let me spell them out plainly:
If murder is illegal, than state-sanctioned murder should be illegal.
From a monetary standpoint, it’s actually cheaper—costing taxpayers, you and me less money—to sentence a murderer to life without parole, than to sentence someone to death, which give them years of appeals that are costly to the state.
What if we put someone to death but then find out later they were innocent? We murdered an innocent person; I don’t want that blood on my hands, do you?
If you argue that, what if someone murdered someone I love, wouldn’t I want that person dead? No; I mean, unless it could bring my dead loved one back, but it wouldn’t and so I won’t sink to the level of advocating death.
That’s me; sue me. But this isn’t about me; last Thursday night Arkansas executed Ledell Lee—the state’s first execution in 12 years.

Lee was one of eight men Arkansas had planned to kill—like some kind of celebration of executions—over 11 days before one of the drugs used in the 3-drug lethal injection cocktail expired.

Oh, so it was cost effective to have a Lethal Injection Spree!

Four of the men received stays of execution, but Ledell Lee’s final plea to the Supreme Court was rejected by a 5–4 vote with _____’s appointee, Justice Neil Gorsuch casting the deciding vote to put Ledell Lee to death.

Lee had insisted upon his innocence from the day of his arrest through the night of his execution, and, before you say it, I know most murderers do. But Ledell Lee also begged the state to let him take a simple DNA test and compare it to results collected at the scene of the murder he allegedly committed; Arkansas refused.

Seriously? A chance for definitive proof that you are right about the man you are sentencing to death and you’re like, “Nah, why bother”?

Ledell Lee also presented evidence that the judge in his case was not impartial because the judge was having an affair with the assistant prosecutor at the time, but Arkansas, and Neil Gorsuch, didn’t care.

Lee claimed his trial attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel because the man actually appeared in court drunk and slurring his words, but, hey, why stop the trial for that; why start over and make sure Lee had every option available to him?

When Lee’s requests for a new trial, requests for a DNA test, were denied, he then claimed that Arkansas’ use of the drug midazolam to render him unconscious before stopping his heart was cruel and unusual—in violation of the Eighth Amendment—because the drug might not actually induce unconsciousness and, in fact, because it hadn’t, had already caused other executions to go awry.

But, again, the Supreme Court split 4-4 and Gorsuch opted for death in his first decision. He ordered a man murdered who may have been innocent; he ordered a man murdered after a trial where the judge had a severe conflict; he ordered a man murdered who’d been represented by a drunk.

But, you know, Arkansas wanted to save some coins and use their lethal injection drugs before they were deemed ineffective, so let’s have a Lethal Injection Party supported by the Supreme Court ... who voted the way they did because of _____ appointee Neil Gorsuch.

First vote; first blood.

Ledell Lee was declared dead shortly before midnight last Thursday and there’s a chance, slim or otherwise, that he might have been innocent; and there’s a chance, slim or otherwise, that he unduly suffered because the drug administered to render him unconscious didn’t work.

It was a great day in America.

And it makes me sick.


Harry Hamid said...

Not an auspicious start to Gorsuch's career as a Justice.

When I was young, I was moderately pro-death penalty. Then, in college, i lived two blocks away from where the State of Texas carries out all of its executions.

It really changed my attitude. Someday, I'll write about it.

Raybeard said...

Weep! Appalling, just appalling! How COULD they? (If only the outcome hadn't been so predictable).

the dogs' mother said...

Am also anti-DP. For all the reasons you just listed. Not In My Name.
WA has a moratorium on the DP right now because of our current gov. There was some noise about a ballot initative next fall but have not heard about it since.

latetotheparty said...

You know if we want a civilized society we must hold our country to the highest standard possible. This makes me sick. Also, Bob, I came here originally for the Project Runway snark but I've stayed for post like this.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

To realize how dangerous the death penalty is, you only have to consider all the many, many cases of wrongful imprisonment which have come to light over the past few years. At least with wrongful imprisonment, the state can release the innocent person from prison and compensate them for their ruined lives. But there's no way to reverse an execution, the ultimate injustice for an innocent person.

Bob Slatten said...

@Harry Hamid
i'd like to read that. I think that have seen this issue up close, even nearby, have a different take on it. They realize that it's just plain wrong.

I did get weepy at this story; I don't know Ledell Lee, or his case, or his crime, but this just makes me weep.

I just think it should be outlawed everywhere.

@ latetotheparty
Thanks for sticking around,. for whatever reason. I agree; we cannot be civilized when we murder our own.

I know, right? Just think of one person, ONE, put to death who was later found to be innocent and you should never allow that to happen again!

Mitchell is Moving said...

I'm sickened, as well.

Sadie J said...

I think the whole prison/court system in this country has gone wack. I'm a member of the no DP club, also.

Helen Lashbrook said...

I am totally with you on the issue of capital punishment and agree with every word you wrote.

As for the state's behaviour; it was deplorable throughout, this kind of behaviour by authorities should never be allowed, let alone condoned by the Supreme Court

The Beeb had an article last week about a married couple in one US state who go to local executions as a form of entertainment, sick or what?