Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year! Rest In Peace.

The holidays are over.  Let the killing resume.
First up is Gary Welch.  Oklahoma plans to kill him tomorrow.
Ralph Birdsong and Kenneth Hairston are due to be killed in Pennsylvania on the 17th and 18, but people who know better than I say it probably won't happen.
Then it's our turn here in the Buckeye State.  We've scheduled the murder of Charles Lorraine for 10 AM January 18.
During his first 10 years on death row, Lorraine had a number of misconduct reports.  Since 1996, there's been only one (possession of contraband in 2003; I don't know what the contraband was, but he wasn't put in the hole which suggests that it wasn't a particularly serious offense).
Nobody seems to care that he's apparently changed, calmed down, become within strictly imposed limits of death row law abiding.
Nor does anyone seem interested in the fact that Lorraine made a full confession when he was arrested.  He accepts full responsibility, though he still can't exactly explain why he did it.
The Parole Board, which has in the past held it against people that they won't accept responsibility and has sometimes pointed to "poor institutional adjustment" as evidence that someone is irredeemable, voted the week before Christmas to put a lump of coal in Lorraine's stocking.  He brutally murdered an elderly couple.  The woman was bedridden.  He saw them both as friends he says, yet he'd robbed them before and intended to kill them this time. So the hell with him.
A sentence short of the jury's finding of death and the court's imposed death sentence would demean the seriousness of this offense.
Just deserts. Or something.
Last year there were 43 executions in the United States. Texas, of course, led the way with 13.  Alabama came in second with 6.  Ohio, even with stays and reprieves and commutations, was a close number 3 with 5.
There were 78 new death sentences across the country.  That's the first time it's been under 100 in the modern era of the death penalty (since Gregg in 1976).
The Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, a former prosecutor appointed by Governor Schwarzengroper, a supporter of capital punishment in principle, told the Los Angeles Times that it doesn't work.
"I don't think it is working," said Cantil-Sakauye, elevated from the Court of Appeal in Sacramento to the California Supreme Court by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. "It's not effective. We know that."
California's death penalty requires "structural change, and we don't have the money to create the kind of change that is needed," she said. "Everyone is laboring under a staggering load."
In response to a question, she said she supported capital punishment "only in the sense I apply the law and I believe the system is fair.... In that sense, yes."
But the chief justice quickly reframed the question.
"I don't know if the question is whether you believe in it anymore. I think the greater question is its effectiveness and given the choices we face in California, should we have a merit-based discussion on its effectiveness and costs?"
But that was so 2011.
It's a new year now.
The holidays are over.
Let the killing resume. 
Gary Welsh tomorrow in Oklahoma.
Charles Lorraine here in Ohio in two weeks.
Happy New Year!!
Rest in peace.

Lorraine Clemency

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