Monday, November 24, 2014

It's Not Like Knowing Would Matter

The thing that's different about Scott Panetti isn't that he's on death row even though he won his case in the U.S. Supreme Court.   The court didn't say he should be freed, after all.  It didn't even say they couldn't kill him.  Just that they had to reconsider.

Nor is the thing that's different about Scott Panetti that he's on death row even though he's batshit crazy.  Panetti, after all, is on death row in Texas where that's no impediment.  After all, they keep Andre Thomas there, in a mental unit, and insist that they plan to kill him for the murder of his family, which they figure he understands well enough since he acknowledges that he did kill them even though he thinks they're still alive and the real reason they want to kill him is his superiority.  And there is that thing about Thomas having plucked out his eyes - eaten one and thrown away the other - but hey, drugs and alcohol and faking and all that.

Panetti, after all, is just schizophrenic, subpoenaed the late President Kennedy and the later (or perhaps eternal depending on your point of view and belief system) Jesus Christ to testify at his trial and knows that they claim they intend to kill him for murdering his in-laws but thinks it's really because of that “spiritual warfare” between “the demons and the forces of the darkness and God and the angels and the forces of light” as one expert quoted by the supreme Court put it.  But malingering.

Nor is the thing that's different about Scott Panetti that his time's coming soon.  Everyone on the row gets dates, after all.  Sometimes they're just dates and everyone knows they won't count.  Other times, they're real, dates when the killing is likely.  December 3 is the scheduled date for Panetti's murder. It's absolutely real, though of course it may yet be stayed.

No, the thing that's different about Scott Panetti is that nobody bothered to pass word on to him that December 3 was the date he was to be tied down and stuck with needles and given a dose of what some compounding pharmacy will manufacture and claim is pentobarbital.  Nor did anyone bother to tell his lawyers.  

Who had to read about it in the fucking newspaper.

From an editorial in the Times.
Mr. Panetti has not had a mental-health evaluation since 2007. In a motionhastily filed this month, his volunteer lawyers requested that his execution be stayed, that a lawyer be appointed for him, and that he receive funding for a new mental-health assessment, saying his functioning has only gotten worse. For instance, he now claims that a prison dentist implanted a transmitter in his tooth.
The lawyers would have made this motion weeks earlier, immediately after a Texas judge set Mr. Panetti’s execution date. But since no one — not the judge, not the district attorney, not the attorney general — notified them (or even Mr. Panetti himself), they had no idea their client was scheduled to be killed until they read about it in a newspaper. State officials explained that the law did not require them to provide notification.
If they don't have to pass on the word, why would they?  It'd just give them a chance to make timely arguments.

As the tourist board used to say of Texas, it's "a whole other country."


Law of Rule.

A little Phil Ochs:

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