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A technicality

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    On Thursday, the state of Alabama executed Christopher Eugene Brooks for the 1992 murder of Jo Deann Campbell.

    Christopher Eugene Brooks executed in Alabama: "I hope this brings closure" - CBS News

    The problem is that just a few days before, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Hurst v. Florida, had found that the sentencing scheme used to sentence prisoners to death in Florida was unconstitutional. Alabama has pretty much an identical scheme. (Judges, who can actually override jury decisions, were the ones who were charged with finding and weighing aggravating and mitigating factors. But the law says that juries have to determine beyond a reasonable doubt any factor that increases a sentence.)

    In other words, under the new decision, Hurst's death sentence would have almost certainly been found to have been unconstitutionally applied, and re-sentencing ordered. But in denying the defense's request that it consider his case in light of its recent decision, the Court acknowledged that Alabama's sentencing scheme was in trouble, but held:

    I nonetheless vote to deny certiorari in this particular case because I believe procedural obstacles would have prevented us from granting relief.

    In other words, Brooks, who was likely owed a re-sentencing hearing, was executed because of a technicality.

    Defendants aren't the only ones who win on "technicalities." That's the moral here.
  2. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    In my opinion, the moral (i.e -- being concerned with right and wrong) here is that the death penalty itself is barbaric and wrong (in application, too -- we undoubtedly execute people who weren't even guilty of what they were accused). A room full of men and women in black robes parsing the tangled mess they have created around death penalty laws doesn't really matter much to me when it comes to that opinion.
    amraeder likes this.
  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Stop libeling the judge.
    franticscribe, amraeder and YankeeFan like this.
  4. JC

    JC Well-Known Member

    Does guilt really matter if they were bad people to begin with and would have committed crimes in the future?
  5. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

  6. SpeedTchr

    SpeedTchr Well-Known Member

    Ragu would rethink his position if his identity had been stolen and he had to spend countless hours chasing down the worthless bastards who did it.
    Batman likes this.
  7. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    Seeing as how: 1) Sotomayor and Ginsburg were in the 8-1 majority on Hurst; and 2) they joined with Thomas in denying cert. in this case, it seems pretty obvious that they don't believe that flaws in Alabama's sentencing scheme in this instance were anything other than "harmless error" (SCOTUS' words in the Hurst decision).
  8. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    It's past time we adopt a Judge Dredd-type system.
  9. Oggiedoggie

    Oggiedoggie Well-Known Member

    I'm afraid that I don't understand the significance of this case.

    What does Christopher Eugene Brooks have to do with Lena Dunham?
    doctorquant likes this.
  10. old_tony

    old_tony Well-Known Member

    If only Netflix had done a documentary on this case we would have all the answers.
  11. Vombatus

    Vombatus Well-Known Member

    Or if he had bought a dog through Western Union.
    Batman, SpeedTchr and old_tony like this.
  12. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    But you would have to watch it, though.
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