Just over a year ago, on July 10, 2012, Governor Kasich ignored the Parole Board's recommendation that Jeff Eley should be murdered (the Board's vote in favor of killing was 5-3) and commuted his sentence to life in prison.
That was so last year.
Today, the same governor obeyed the Parole Board's recommendation (by a 6-4 vote) that Billy Slagle should be executed. Kill him, he said. And for explanation? The Parole Board said to do it.
Yes, I can explain how it is that Jeff Eley's case is different from Billy Slagle's. I can write about how Jeff wasn't fully responsible for his crime because of his mental illness but how Billy's youth didn't reduce his responsibility but just made him a budding serial killer. And I can discuss in detail how it's different that the prosecutor who actually worked on Jeff's case favored commuting his sentence while it's the chief prosecutor who thinks Billy should get relief. Or I could talk about --
Hell, you get the idea.
The thing is,
it's all bullshit.Last year Kasich voted for life when the Parole Board said to kill. This year he didn't. And while the cases are different, they're not really all that different.
Here's one of the things we know about the death penalty. For all its layers of review and all the Supreme Court decisions and all the Parole Board hearings and all the doctors and lawyers and indian chiefs who weigh in on it. For all the need for counsel to be specially trained and certified. For all the commissions and task forces and ABA Guidlines. For all the studies and law review articles and special training sessions and continuing legal education and special capital defense units in public defender offices and all the pro bono work from big law firms. For all the vigils and the petitions and phone banks and prayer services. For all of that,
We don't know what the fuck we're doing.Because it's all random. It's all arbitrary. Exactly what SCOTUS said it cannot be and, since they did, after all, say that the death penalty is basically constitutional, that must mean that it's not random or arbitrary. Except that it is.
And by random chance, and because the Parole Board (or 60 percent of them) said to kill (though that didn't matter for Jeff Eley) the Board said to kill, so he will.
Billy Slagle is to be killed on August 7.
Governor Kasich is fine with that. Damned if I know just why.