Monday, November 28, 2016

There's No Business Like Justice Business

He's competent.  

That is, and per the statutory language, he is able "to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him [and] to assist properly in his defense."

So says the judge.  The guy was evaluated and the judge held a hearing (on more than one day, no less! Wowsers!).  

They begin picking a jury today.

Oh, sorry.  This is Dylan Roof.  The guy who they say walked into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. and blew away nine people because, they say, the people were African-American and because, they also say, Roof did it in order to start a race war.

Which is how it happens that a federal judge is going to oversee a capital trial for young Mr. Roof. Because Loretta Lynch want him to get executed by the feds.

Not for killing nine people (which is a lot, but nowhere near the record).  Not for killing them purposely.  Not for killing them during a Bible study or while they were in Church.  None of that.

Loretta Lynch wants the feds to kill him because his heart wasn't pure when he killed.  His motive was bad.  (As opposed to the noble motives that might drive other folks to kill nine people in church? OK, I'm probably not being altogether fair.  No, actually I am.  It is that stupid.)

Of course, the representatives of the good people of South Carolina also want to kill Roof.  Next-in-line to be UN Ambassador Nicky Haley was for it from day one.  The prosecutor took longer to sign on, but she was for it, too.  Still the feds get first shot at finding 12 jurors who'll look at Roof and say - as one judge put it in explaining why as a member of a three-judge panel he once voted against death -


Anyway, and as the Times reported, amid the rush to kill, what with all that enthusiasm and jockeying for first, er, shot at ordering up a gurney by the feds and the Southern Carolinians, it turns out that the representatives of the people don't really give a rat's ass what the people think.  Of course, that's always true in capital cases to the extent that we kick the folks who don't believe in killin' off the jury. What's being ignored here are the voices of the families of the murdered and the survivors.

There's a big movement for so-called "victim's rights."  They're enshrined in various state constitutions.  Paul Cassell's made a career advocating for them.  Politicians are enthusiastic. I mean, who can oppose treating those whose lives are destroyed by criminal acts with dignity and respect - with honoring and guaranteeing their needs.

Needs that won't much be helped by years of appeals and arguments and guaranteeing that Roof's hate is repeatedly front and center.  Needs that won't be helped by more hate and more killing.  Of a guy who's game to plead guilty and spend the rest of his life in prison - which will happen anyway, the only real question being how his life will be ordered to end.

And then there's the thing about not returning hate for hate and killing for killing.

Ah, but that's without the posturing.  Because hate.  Because victim's rights only count when the victims cry out for vengeance.  

The show begins today.

And see Scott Greenfield from yesterday.

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