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July 14, 2008

A deadly legislative deal in the works in NC

This local article from North Carolina, headlined "N.C. bias bill adds to death penalty debate: The push to enable a race-based defense may also bring a move to resume executions," spotlights the strange deals that can be made in death penalty debates.  Here are the basics:

Anti-death penalty forces are pushing the legislature in its final days to pass a law that would allow murder defendants facing death to challenge prosecutors' decisions as racially biased. But to get that, death penalty foes may have to accept a move to start executions, which have been stalled for more than a year.

The House has already passed a bill that would allow murder defendants to use statistical evidence that race was a significant factor in prosecutors seeking the death penalty or in juries imposing it.  The state NAACP president is prodding senators to approve the measure.

If Senate Democrats move forward with it, Republicans see a chance to get something they've been fighting for — a provision that may allow the state to resume executions.  Executions have been stalled for more than a year, partly because the Department of Correction cannot find doctors who will take part in them, as the law requires.

Not surprisingly, partisans on various sides of these issues are not pleased with the possible deal in the works:

The Rev. William Barber, state NAACP president, doesn't want the two issues combined. “It should stand alone,” he said of the racial bias bill. “This is about death, and this is about people dying simply because of their race.”

The N.C. Conference of District Attorneys doesn't want statistics to play a role in death penalty cases. “The DAs really think it's an inappropriate element to put into the death penalty process,” said Peg Dorer, conference director. The measure would open the way for “statisticians to come in and testify and manipulate statistics,” Dorer said.

July 14, 2008 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

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Comments

This is sort of what typifies the DP debates. Since both sides are so wed to their positions they never realize that if carried to their logical conclusions, we will have to acknowledge that 1) states will likely kill people for improper and unstated reasons; and 2) any substantive limits on the DP will be acknowledging the legitimacy of state-sponsored-killing of at least some poor people.

Posted by: S.cotus | Jul 14, 2008 1:40:26 PM

S.cotus, you are correct. As an aside, I'd like to add that there's a lot wrong the the NC legal system and race based bias isn't the only bias. When a Wilson County family court judge tells someone that he will not hear a case unless the person hires an attorney that is an indication of the corruption in the system. One would think that a former prosecutor turned judge would be more likely to seek justice; however, research indicates otherwise.

Posted by: Ange | Jul 14, 2008 5:01:10 PM

Not that it is relevant relevant, but I disagree with you.

There are few good reasons to tolerate pro se litigants: the rules or the constitution require it.

There are many good reasons not to tolerate these anti-American bozos.

1)They tend to not have any idea of what the substantive law is, and usually end up a) wasting peoples' time; and b) hurting themselves;
2)They tend to be so wrapped up in their own situation that they have desire to actually see what the real legal issues are. After all, most family court proceedings, according to the litigants, are about "that bitch."

Now, most of the time, these bozos only hurt themselves. In a family court proceeding where the lives of children are at issue, the children will be hurt by having their future decided on the basis of the incoherent ramblings of pro se litigants that can't be bothered to hire a lawyer.

While the qualified right to self-representation is arguably important, it has little to do with “justice.” The justice of a situation could only be measured with regard to the ultimate result, not in the procedural requirements, so I don't really get your point.

Posted by: S.cotus | Jul 14, 2008 6:21:25 PM

"Now, most of the time, these bozos only hurt themselves. In a family court proceeding where the lives of children are at issue, the children will be hurt by having their future decided on the basis of the incoherent ramblings of pro se litigants that can't be bothered to hire a lawyer."

Listen, if the judge sitting on the bench is both the charger of law and the trier of fact, how do you suppose the children are hurt if NOT by the judge who lacks wisdom or unprepared to meet the challenges?

Now, knowing that there are MORE parents represented by attorneys than those who go pro se and there are so many young lives RUINED, can it be said that the attorneys that represented the parents of those children whose life are ruined are better advocates or better at LYING?

In family court the matter is before the judge. Do you not think that a parent knows the facts surrounding the case better than an attorney that meets with the parent for no more than 30 minutes before representing his/her client?

Too often society and our system give too much credit to attorneys in representing the "facts" of a case when done only before a judge. The truth spoken in any other language shall always and forever remain TRUTH be is said by the client or by an attorney.

Posted by: Ange | Jul 14, 2008 6:41:12 PM

“Listen, if the judge sitting on the bench is both the charger of law and the trier of fact, how do you suppose the children are hurt if NOT by the judge who lacks wisdom or unprepared to meet the challenges?”

This is sort of vague. A simple refusal to entertain the whims of a pro se nut is hardly a lack of wisdom. It might be a mistake of law in that jurisdiction, but if it was then relief could be had either direct review or mandamus. So, I doubt that it is really an error of law.

Childrens' lives are ruined by parents that don't go to law school or are unwilling to send them to good schools.

Parents might know some facts, but they are hardly equipped to know what facts are material. Usually their idea of facts are “she is a bitch.” And “he F***ed my sister.” And although most lawyers spend more than 30 minutes with a client, lawyers generally know how to get at the relevant facts. If you want to spew off for hours and hours about your inability to maintain a stable marriage, see a therapist. They usually charge less and are covered by insurance.

I don't really know what “truth” is. Most people seem to think that it is what they believe in their heart, but that isn't really truth, but rather the related concept of “truthiness.”

Posted by: S.cotus | Jul 14, 2008 6:49:06 PM

S.cotus, you strawman much?

Let me rephrase that for you. When judges are less than wise in their decisions concerning custody, children get hurt.

"Childrens' lives are ruined by parents that don't go to law school or are unwilling to send them to good schools."

I'm going to chuck that up as a joke. Ha ha ha, "LMAO" Oh you so FUNNY!" :rolleyes:

"Parents might know some facts, but they are hardly equipped to know what facts are material. Usually their idea of facts are “she is a bitch.” And “he F***ed my sister.” And although most lawyers spend more than 30 minutes with a client, lawyers generally know how to get at the relevant facts. If you want to spew off for hours and hours about your inability to maintain a stable marriage, see a therapist. They usually charge less and are covered by insurance."

THAT??? I have to agree with.

"I don't really know what “truth” is. Most people seem to think that it is what they believe in their heart, but that isn't really truth, but rather the related concept of “truthiness.”

I can get philosophical but this isn't the forum for it. ;-)

Posted by: Angelina | Jul 14, 2008 7:41:52 PM

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