Friday, August 17, 2012

The Countdown Begins

I've quoted Camus before.
What then is capital punishment but the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal's deed, however calculated it may be, can be compared? For there to be an equivalence, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal, who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him, and who from that moment onward had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life.
He's probably wrong about who you might meet in private life. I've had clients and know of others who did things that would curl your toenails. But it's not supposed to be a sadism contest. We say we're better than that.
And yet, consider Ohio.
This morning, the Ohio Supreme Court issued this order.
March 19, 2014.
That's over a year and a half away.
Nineteen months.
Eighty-two weeks.
579 days.
12,896 hours
50,025,600 seconds
Mark them off.  Is there enough space on the wall of his cell for that many scratches.
And, of course, much can happen in 50 million seconds. In nearly 13,000 hours.  In 579 days. In eighty-two weeks.  In nineteen months.
So it's the certainty, the daily and deadly countdown coupled with the uncertainty of outcome.
I've never met Gregory Lott.  Never represented him. (Though I did once write and file an amicus brief on his behalf.)  Still, I can imagine. As perhaps the seven in their robes in Columbus should.
They will come for me on that date. And they will take me down the hall.  And they will kill me.
Or maybe they won't.
In the meantime, I sit.
And wait.
And count the seconds.
And hope.
When I do not despair.

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