Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Update: Foiled again

So close, Rick. So close.

Rick Perry and his hypocritical band of limited government preachers were foiled in their attempt to exercise the most invasive power the government has - the power to take a life.

Yesterday afternoon, State District Judge Larry Mitchell granted Kimberly McCarthy a reprieve from her date with the executioner until April 3, 2013. Ms. McCarthy's attorneys argued that they needed more time to prepare an appeal of Ms. McCarthy's death sentence on the grounds that blacks and other minorities were improperly excluded from the jury that sentenced her to die at the hands of the state.

The Dallas County District Attorney, Craig Watkins, reversed course and dropped his opposition to Ms. McCarthy's motion to reschedule. Mr. Watkins said he thought the delay was "appropriate."

The question to ask is on what basis would an appellate court decide whether the racial makeup of a jury led to the death penalty being imposed when it wasn't warranted. Will a court look at the makeup of Ms. McCarthy's jury and the pool from which it was withdrawn and then require Ms. McCarthy to provide proof that the makeup of the jury led to her being condemned? Or will a court look at the makeup of the jury and the county at large and at how many times overwhelmingly white juries have sentenced black defendants to death? Will a court permit Ms. McCarthy to present evidence of the disproportionate number of black defendants to be sentenced to death or will that court look specifically at Ms. McCarthy's case?

There can be no doubt that the death penalty is handed out disproportionately to minority defendants as opposed to white defendants. There is also compelling evidence that the death penalty is meted out more often when the victim is white.

Either way, today Ms. McCarthy is still alive - and that's a victory in itself.

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