Federal Judge Cormac J. Carney ruled last week that the California Death Penalty is unconstitutional because it violated the 8th Amendment barring “cruel and unusual punishment.” He was right.
My agreement with Carney, who is one of many jurists who oversteps their authority, might surprise some people as normally I stay on the right side of the political spectrum. This constituency has historically been a consistent supporter of capital punishment, yet I differ from most conservatives in this area.
I am glad the judge stopped the charade of giving appeals to worthless killers who do not deserve the decency they offered their victims. Giving them life in prison without the possibility of parole takes these people out of the public spotlight and saves legal expenses for defending these bums.
The only major flaw in Judge Carney’s decision is what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. He thinks it is Richard Allen Davis, Charles Manson, and the Ernest Dwayne Jones’s of the world who have received the short end of the stick by receiving prolonged stints on death row.
In fact, it is the individuals whose lives they cut short and their families who have been tortured by these horrible scumbags who have constantly granted new hearings and endless reprieves to avoid receiving their just desserts. What makes this even more difficult to swallow are the never ending parade of groundless appeals made on behalf of death row inmates that might cause them grief and anguish.
What a bunch of B.S., especially considering that these crumbs of society did not care about the 8th amendment rights of those they murdered and often tortured. In fact in many cases these killers often enjoyed inflicting pain on others.
Outside of providing employment for a cottage industry of death penalty attornies fighting against death penalty judgments, what has society gained by giving these dregs of humanity so much consideration? Why is it so important they had a bad childhood (or so it seems) and got some bad breaks in life. This does should not give convicted first degree murderers a free pass from having to face the full accountability of the law.
Legal arguments against the death penalty in California that try to absolve killers from facing the gallows is basically mumbo jumbo designed to receive favorable rulings by judges who are more interested in conducting sensitivity sessions and imposing their own beliefs rather than carrying out the law.
I came to this conclusion many years ago when my friend JoJo was a death penalty lawyer working for the Public Defender’s Office in San Francisco. Over the years things have changed little in legal circles as additional convicts, more lawyers, similar motions in the courts, and inevitable prolonged legal proceedings have lead to the legal quagmire that exists today.
Is this what Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton had in mind when they framed the constitution? Does liberty for all mean the legal system should be able to be manipulated in favor of reprehensible people who are complete outcasts of society?
This is why at times I wonder if in many instances our criminal justice system works that much better than say a totalitarian country such as China. When a capital crime is committed there, it usually takes less than a year from when a killer is caught, convicted, and executed.
While the “It’s not fair” card is a valid argument against such a closed end system, it sure is more efficient than what goes on in California where millions of dollars per case is spent on death penalty cases before there is even a possibility of executing anyone.
As it turns out China with a population of 3 billion does not have the resources or will to string a death penalty case for 25 years or longer. Their society can apparently deal with the collateral damages from a system which has more than its share of flaws.
Which brings me to the subject of why I oppose the death penalty as it is constituted today? Very simply if the judicial system is not able or willing to carry out the biblical “eye for an eye” punishment, then lets simply forget about it.
This current process of appeals of appeals and writs of habeas corpus are simply too expensive a price for the taxpayers to subsidize. Why waste the money on prosecuting death penalty judgments which could be more effectively spent elsewhere. Statistically, the capital punishment has not proven to be much of a deterrent to make killers think twice before plying their trade.
The endless legal carousel on death row if anything has given hope to those who deserve only the Hobson’s Choice between the gas chamber and lethal injection. Unfortunately, the death penalty in itself serves little purpose other than providing some comfort to the survivors of murder victims. There must be a better system to gain this same result.
To me it seems like a better idea to place the worst killers in the general prison population and let Psycho Sam, 300 pound Tiny, and other derelicts behind bars carry out the will of the people. Why not eliminate the expense of paying what would become a large group of out of work attorney’s (please pass the hat) and throw away the keys on the bad guys?
At the same time the courts should dismiss most of the frivolous lawsuits from jailhouse lawyers claiming the prison population should be receiving more cable TV stations, improved medical care, better quality food, and whatever they can think of.
Did it ever occur to ACLU types that criminals are being incarcerated for a reason and don’t deserve the same rights as those who choose to obey the law? In this vein what right does a judge to order California’s Governor Jerry Brown to reduce prison crowding when the State is struggling to balance its budget and allocate scarce funds?
If the truth be known, should prisoners find the conditions where they reside so intolerable, perhaps they think twice when released about going back to their lives of crime? This point has been driven in by other cultures where a short sentence of hard labor has proven to be more successful than counseling and rehabilitation to detour first time offenders from repeating their actions.
With regards to the death penalty and the entire criminal justice system, it is time for all parties concerned to evaluate what is working and how the system is failing for everything from drug offenses to capital crimes including murder.
It should be the legislature who are calling the shots not the Judge Carney’s of the world who need to exercise judicial restraint for making decisions that are well beyond their pay grade.