Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Update: High court stays Foster execution

The State of Texas was once again foiled in its attempts to murder Cleve "Sarge" Foster when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a last minute stay -- the third time the court has stayed his execution this year.

While the Court did not give a reason for the stay, Mr. Foster's appeal involved claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.

This is the second time in the past week the Supremes granted stay of execution in a Texas case. In both cases, the target of the state's ire was an accomplice convicted of murder via the law of parties.

Should a state be permitted to execute a person convicted of murder who didn't commit the crime? Is that the question the high court is asking in these two cases? If we're going to allow states to continue to murder people in the name of law and order, shouldn't we make certain that those who face the death penalty are the actual killers?

I have no problem with a person being convicted of murder through the law of parties. But I have a big problem with using the law of parties to condemn a man for a murder committed by someone else. If the Eighth Amendment prohibits the execution of a person for any other crime than murder, it should also prohibit the killing of a person who didn't actually commit the murder.

CORRECTION: My mistake as to the facts behind to two stays of execution granted to Texas inmates in the past week. The other stay was granted to Duane Buck whose case was tainted by the testimony of an expert called by Mr. Buck's attorney who testified that black men are more likely to commit future crimes than white men.

Please forgive me, it was my birthday, I was excited and got carried away. I still stand by my argument that there is no justification for the state to take the life of a person whose conviction was obtained through the law of parties.

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