THE DEATH PENALTY’S “FINELY TUNED DEPRAVITY CALIBRATORS” Fairness Follies of Fairness Phonies Fixated on Criminals Instead of Crimes — PART VII

For naïve followers, the notion that capital punishment is unfair is an uncritically accepted faith based on logical fallacies, unwarranted assumptions and insupportable assertions. For knowing leaders, the demand for fairness is a cynical ploy intended to abolish the penalty rather than make it fair. 


NOTE: It is the reader’s choice whether to consult or disregard the many links below. The main goal here is to be easily understood, while providing proof for those who might think that what follows is fiction. This is written to enable easy reading without looking at the links.                                                                       Where possible, links are provided directly to specific locations within linked items. Otherwise, if available, specific page or part numbers within linked items are provided in parentheses next to links. Nearly all items are freely accessible.


              “The Court thus assumes the role of a finely tuned calibrator of depravity….”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Justice Byron White

                                                (i) Justices and Jurors: Schizophrenia or Duplicity?

            Fifth, as noted in Part I, the Supreme Court has said that the jury expresses the “conscience of the community.” When it has suited their prejudices, anti-death penalty justices have expressed veneration for juries. For example, Justice Stevens one-upped the earlier statement. Not only does the jury express community’s conscience, it is “the decisionmaker that is best able” to do so, a point he later reiterated (518-19). In a landmark 2002 case, justices “effectively declare[d] five States’ capital sentencing schemes unconstitutional” (3) because they did not require juries to find the existence of “aggravating factors” not required by the Constitution in the first place.  Five years ago, seven justices (including Souter, Breyer and Kennedy) declared (3): “Jurors routinely serve as impartial factfinders in cases that involve sensitive, even life-and-death matters. … [I]n all cases, juries are presumed to follow the court’s instructions [and] exclude … raw emotions.” Two murderer sympathizers, Justices Sotomayor and Breyer, recently extolled (n2) the virtues of juries deciding punishments in accordance with their consciences.

            But remember, anti-death penalty justices never lose sight of their objective: to save fairly convicted murderers. The May 27 Hall rescue is but a recent example of many. These justices confine their exaltation to juries whose consciences result in saving the precious lives of brutal barbarians. The same justices do not hesitate to disregard juror consciences that impose death sentences. And to confuse matters even more, when it has suited their objective, anti-capital punishment justices have faulted juries for imposing “so few” death sentences. This flies in the face of the avowed objective (Part III) to “narrowly constrain” what they call “death eligibility” and thus have “few” death sentences.

            In a word, for justices opposed to capital punishment, juries can be trusted when they do not impose death sentences and cannot be trusted when they do impose such sentences. For these justices, as Justice Scalia remarked (Part III), it is “just a game.” Again, murderers win; victims lose.

            Sixth, when the same justices (a) profess to find sacred those jury decisions not imposing death, and yet (b) show complete disrespect for juries that vote for death sentences (even preferring the constantly mutating speculations of psychiatrists), only the willfully blind can fail to see that these justices are brazenly dishonest, prepared to change their justifications from case to case, and guided only by what they find most expedient to support their diktats on behalf of brutal murderers.

                                       (b) Too Smart to Understand

              Part VI referred to the challenge faced by murderer advocate Clarence Darrow, who could not plead that poverty mitigated the cold-blooded murders committed by his wealthy clients. A similar quandary is faced in the age of denials of “moral culpability” due to “diminished intellectual capability.” What is a murderer advocate to do with a clearly brilliant murderer who does not even deny his guilt?

            Take the case of Wilbert Rideau. No one can accuse this award-winning writer of not having superior intelligence. Nevertheless, three different juries in two different venues convicted and sentenced to death this bank robber-murderer (1961, 1964, 1970). Each time, he was rescued by appellate judges, twice by justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. After delaying an incredible 28 years, he sought and received from murderer-friendly appellate judges a fiat ordering a fourth new trial. Obviously, by 2005, 44 years after Rideau’s multiple acts of savagery, there was not much prosecutors could do with 13 witnesses no longer available. So the fourth jury found him guilty of manslaughter, and he was freed to become, not an “ex-con,” but an honored “cult hero” and star murderer advocate.

             One fact, standing out above all others, demonstrates everything that is wrong with a so-called “justice system” that has been sabotaged by judges hostile to capital punishment. Rideau never denied that, in committing a premeditated bank robbery, he (a) kidnapped three employees, (b) took them to a secluded area, (c) shot them and (d) repeatedly stabbed the one who was unable to escape to make doubly sure she was dead.  

            Instead, he claimed: he “never … intended…to hurt anybody”; the robbery went bad; and he abducted and shot the employees in unpremeditated panic because they tried to flee (stabbing the one who failed to make it). One of his coterie of murderer advocates added that this was all “incredibly stupid and tragic.”

            Is that what nowadays is the chic characterization of the premeditated brutalization of three human beings, including the murder of one? A mere stupid mistake? 

            As to the stabbing and shootings being unintentional, are a loaded guns and a lethal knives brought to planned bank robberies by mistake? To accept this, one has to believe that a person of clearly superior intelligence could not possibly understand why he was committing this planned bank robbery with the aid of multiple lethal weapons rather than, say, an unloaded gun. Moreover, one has to believe that, when robbery victims confronted by deadly weapons seek to run for their lives, it is their fault if they get hurt and the heavily armed robber did not intend to murder all three although he only was able to repeatedly stab one of them to make sure she was dead. 

            In addition to the incredible fraudulence of this non-intent claim, explained in detail here, the Rideau case is also a classic illustration that life-without-parole is an utter fraud. (Part IV.) Once a murderer’s life is unfairly declared more valuable than those of his victims, a campaign often begins to get him out of prison. In these cases, appeals never stop; trials never stop. Rideau spent more than four decades abusing the legal system until he finally found the right judges to get him out of jail. After the fourth trial, a jury sprung him. As the district attorney said, there could no longer be a case once 13 key witnesses were unavailable.

            Rideau has now had 53 years more than Julia Ferguson. That’s what the Phonies think is fair.

            Also, this case graphically illustrates that advocates for murderers and victims will never agree on what is fair. Rideau’s lawyer called the killing “a terrible act, a criminal act, one for which he deserves great punishment, but not one for which he deserves to be locked up for the rest of his life. He did a terrible thing, but it wasn’t murder.” How many victims’ advocates could possibly believe that that wasn’t murder, that three juries which convicted Rideau of murder got it wrong when there were witnesses available to testify?                 

            One need not be a lawyer to understand the difference between an unintended accident and a murder. If a pedestrian is unintentionally hit by a car and the driver does not run, that is an accident. By contrast, it is quite another matter when a driver deliberately runs somebody down. A bank robbery planned and committed with lethal weapons is not an accident.

            There is no end to cases where murderer advocates claim murders were not murders. To cite just one other example, New Jersey’s Supreme Court overturned a death sentence by alleging that it was not clear (93-94) that a rapist intended to kill a victim he viciously stabbed 53 times, including 18 in the genital area.

            In the final analysis, it makes no difference to murderer advocates whether a murderer’s intelligence is very low or very high. Their goal is to try to bamboozle juries and justices to accept the notion that planned murders were not planned.

            But perhaps “bamboozle” is the wrong word. Surely, judges and justices know exactly what they are doing: saving cold-blooded murderers, using any and all available tricks. That is one reason why this article refers to them as Phonies.

                                       (c) Premeditation as Mitigation

            Clearly, nothing fazes double-talking murderer advocates. For them, murder is indeed “mitigated” by “anything under the sun.” Thus, they alleged that Rideau did not intend to commit murder.

            But what if murder was intended? That was no problem for one of the most notorious murderer advocates ever to hold high office, former California Chief Justice Rose Bird. Openly opposing capital punishment, she voted against all 61 death sentences to come before her. She and two colleagues were removed by California’s voters who had had enough. (Of course, the whole country’s voters do not have the luxury of being able to rid themselves of lawless murderer advocates on the U.S. Supreme Court). 

            On behalf of Maurice Seton Thompson, Bird wrote for a 4-3 majority overturning his death sentence because – because he did intend to commit murder. She implied, with obvious insincerity given her entire record, that she would have upheld the sentence were murder not his primary intent. She declared (325) that Thompson was “primarily a killer instead of a thief” because the prosecution failed to establish that his crime was ‘a murder in the commission of a robbery [rather than] the exact opposite, a robbery in the commission of a murder.’” Again, guilt was uncontested.

             And again, heads-the-murderer-wins, tails-the-victim-loses. The standard murderer-advocate argument is that murder was not intended; but if it helps the murderer, it will be argued that, yes, murder was intended.   

                                    (d) Execution Methods     

            As indicated in Part III, brutal murderers, with blood on their “unclean hands” and guilty of the worst unfairness, have forfeited any legitimate claim to fairness. So, homicide survivors and their supporters might find it galling for the cruelest individuals to claim they should not be executed because this might cause undue suffering. Obviously, an execution is not fun. But neither is torture by a barbarian facing execution.

            Further adding to the sheer gall of those making this argument is that they have danced from method to method. The electric chair to replace hanging. The gas chamber to replace the electric chair. Lethal injection to replace the gas chamber. Now they disingenuously scream about lethal injection. In order to complain about “botched” executions, physicians have been pressured not to participate, preventing those with the most skill from assuring absence of complications. Further compounding their gall, anti-death penalty activists repeatedly have exerted enormous pressure to make the quickest acting drugs unavailable and then alleged that available drugs are too slow-acting.

            Nothing could better illustrate the duplicity of these people in the service of murderers.

            Nothing could better illustrate their heartless ruthlessness in further torturing loved ones who have suffered the trauma of needlessly and avoidably being robbed of persons dear to them by vicious murderers.

            As Justice Scalia put it (4): “we say …this procedure is no good. The State comes up with another procedure, and you challenge that one. Right? … another few years go by.” Meanwhile, families of those brutally murdered endlessly suffer from frivolous litigation about executions that opponents seek to make painful for the very purpose of propagandizing the public into revulsion against capital punishment.



          Lester Jackson, Ph.D., a former college political science teacher, views mainstream media truth suppression as essential to harmful judicial activism. His recent articles are collected here.                                                                                                           _______________________________________

Copyright ©: 2014  Lester Jackson, Ph.D.

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