Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday News Roundup: Texas and Ohio

Michael Morton, as you probably know, is out now.  He served 25 years for murdering his wife in 1986, a crime he didn't commit.  Ken Anderson was the prosecutor who put Morton in prison in large part by hiding evidence that someone else was the killer.  That person, Mark Alan Norwood, who's now doing life for the murder of Morton's wife, killed someone else in 1988.  You might well blame Anderson in part for that killing, too. 

It's hard to say just how many other innocent men and women Anderson convicted of crimes or how often he hid the evidence.  We know he's never owned up to misconduct for what he did to Morton. We also know that Anderson proved the old joke true.
Question:  What do you call a prosecutor who cheats?
Answer: Your Honor.
In 2001, Anderson became a judge.  You know, because of the integrity thing.  Anyhow, it was Texas. 

On Friday, Anderson cut a deal.  10 days in prison, $500 fine, 500 hours of community service over the next 5 years, get disbarred.  The Times, in an editorial, gets it exactly right.
The 10-day jail sentence for the prosecutor, Ken Anderson, is insultingly short — the victim of his misconduct, Michael Morton, spent nearly 25 years in prison. But because prosecutors are so rarely held accountable for their misconduct, the sentence is remarkable nonetheless.
"Remarkable" but inadequate.  And "insultingly short."  But you know, Anderson gets a break because he refuses to acknowledge misconduct.  (For ordinary defendants lack of remorse and refusal to accept responsibility aggravate.  Apparently for former prosecutors those things mitigate.)

* * * * *
In other Texas news, a judge set March 27 as the day Anthony Doyle should be killed and another judge picked April 16 for the official murder of Jose Villegas.

If those killings go off as planned and there are no stays for any of the others with scheduled dates (frankly, that's not too likely; there's at least a fair chance that someone will get a stay of some sort), they'll be the 513th and 514th executions in Texas since they started up in 1982.  They'll be number 274 and 275 killed on Rick Perry's watch.  

* * * * *
Texas, of course, is more efficient at this stuff than Ohio.  We've only killed 52 men here.  Then again, we didn't get back into the actual killin' business until 1999.  

Regardless, we have the distinction of setting serious dates out far enough in the future so that the condemned person can finish more than one game of chess with the reaper.  The Ohio Supremes did it again Friday morning.

Kareem Jackson was sentenced to be killed for the murder of two men during a robbery in 1997. Jackson was convicted of shootting them in the head, through a seat cushion, while they begged for their lives.  He netted $45 and a small bag of weed.  And a death sentence.  

To be carried out January 21.  

Of 2016. 

A bit over 28 months from now.

If it happens, and if everyone else with a date actually gets executedd when currently scheduled (truly unlikely, but it could happen), he'd be the 65th person we'll have killed.  

As I said, we're not Texas.  On the other hand, no other state can match us for long-range planning. 

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