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July 1, 2008

Florida back in execution business

As detailed in this Reuters article, "Florida executed a death row inmate by lethal injection on Tuesday for the 1991 kidnapping, sexual battery and murder of an 11-year-old boy, marking the state's first execution since a Supreme Court ruling ended a nationwide moratorium."  Here are more specifics:

Officials at the Florida State Prison near Starke pronounced Mark Dean Schwab, a 39-year-old native of Ohio, dead at 6:15 p.m. EDT after injecting him with a deadly cocktail of drugs that paralyzed his lungs and stopped his heart, a spokeswoman for Gov. Charlie Crist said.

He became the 10th person to be put to death in the United States since the U.S. Supreme Court in April rejected a legal challenge to the three-drug cocktail used in most executions over the past 30 years.

Schwab was also the first inmate executed in Florida since the botched December 2006 execution of Angel Diaz, who took an unusually long 34 minutes to die after intravenous tubes used to administer the deadly drugs were connected improperly.

July 1, 2008 at 09:56 PM | Permalink

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Comments

It's really awful--what Schwab's victim, Junny Rios-Martinez, had to endure at the hands of this sicko. It's unfortunate that justice had to wait this long. Of course, kudos to the execution team, which likely was under a lot of pressure.

Hopefully, in the near future, Gov. Crist will schedule dates for all Florida killers whose appeals have run.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 1, 2008 10:37:28 PM

Who in his right mind gives "kudos" to executioners? What a sick society we are.

Posted by: DK | Jul 1, 2008 10:58:50 PM

federalist:

I couldn't get my computer to put up the Reuters report that Doug linked, but here are three paragraphs from the AP report:

"Schwab raped and killed [11 year-old] Junny a month after he was released early from a prison sentence he got for raping a 13-year-old boy. The case led to Florida's Junny Rios-Martinez Act of 1992, which prohibits sex offenders from early release from prison or getting credit for good behavior.

"Schwab stalked the boy after seeing his photo in a newspaper for winning a kite contest.

"Although Schwab claimed another man had made him kidnap and rape the boy, he was able to lead police to a footlocker in rural Brevard County where Junny's nude body was discovered." ###

What a sick society we are to be putting back on the street, in the form of EARLY RELEASE, no less, a proven, violent child molester.

How many times have we been lectured here that the system is too punitive? This case is Exhibit A that the system wasn't punitive enough.

Of course the price for the carefree and indulgent attitude that put this guy back on the street isn't borne by the self-styled "humanitarians" who campaign for it. It was borne by an 11 year-old.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 1, 2008 11:29:52 PM

Bill, I've made similar points here many a time. We always hear the wailing about how we're uncivilized and brutal because we put down a few dozen killers each year. But those same people never seem to have the same level of outrage when violent criminals are foisted on our society to extract a price in blood. I guess it's more fun to have that sense of moral superiority. The piety is tough to take.

And I say again, kudos to the execution team.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 1, 2008 11:37:22 PM

But, federalist, you, by your trenchant support of policies that create crime (and crime victims) are every bit as responsible for those gruesome murders as the murderer. You foist these events on us. You are uncivilized and brutal because you actively promote and sustain the conditions that you claim requires you to kill defective human beings--the products of your very own warped creation. It is a perverse sickness. I would have thought you would have noticed that I am outraged at people like you for what you subject the rest of us to.

And I say again, who in his right mind gives "kudos" to executioners?

Posted by: DK | Jul 2, 2008 12:07:03 AM

federalist (cc: Grits and DK):

This story shows a number of things about how varied the liberals here are.

Doug, who is not an abolitionist but has reservations about the death penalty and its implementation, has the honesty to post the story knowing it will be grist for those of us who vocally support capital punishment.

The abolitionists generally simply remain silent. A story like this is, like Jessica Lunsford's (which it resembles) an "inconvenient truth" about the depraved nature of some of these killers. If our abolitionist contingent had the same balance and candor Doug has, one could expect at least a few of them to say, "This defendant deserved what he got. Although I think the DP is too expensive (or applied too infrequently to deter, or what have you), I can understand why such a large majority in this country doesn't want to see it entirely abolished."

Maybe one of them will say it. None has thus far. The easier (but not as principled) thing to do is just hunker down.

This, I take it, is the reaction of Gritsforbreakfast, who has a comment up about one of Doug's posts AFTER this one. Grits, it seems, wants to pass right over the Florida child murder story. Now why is that?

Yesterday, Grits accused me of writing "drivel" and "demagoguery" when I put up an entry about the Lunsford rape/murder and the beltway sniper massacre. He did not say that I'd gotten any of the facts wrong, although I invited any corrections he might have had. Instead, the focus of his criticism was that those cases were inapposite to the California Death Penalty Commission study.

The story behind this Florida execution is, of course, VERY apposite to the death penalty generally, study or no study, and therefore meets Grits's ostensible objection from yesterday. Still, he just passes it by. This leads me to believe that his real objection to my comments had nothing to do with whether they were germaine to the California study.

The real objection is that talking about the dreadful particulars of specific murders is not in the interest of abolitionism, so one reason or another will be manufactured as to why it shouldn't be done. Too often, the "reason" turns out to be some concocted character flaw in the pro-DP advocate. You and I see this regularly.

Ysterday, that tack went to the extreme of someone's (I forget who, it wasn't Grits or DK) attacking THE LUNSFORD FAMILY itself. I noted in response to that attack that abolitionists usually claim to have all manner of sympathy for the victim's family. When the attack on the family came yesterday, though, not a single abolitionist rose to rebuke the attacker.

Often you can get the real story of what someone is thinking by what they say. At other times, an even better indication is what they DECLINE to say. Silence about some things is its own telling message.

Lastly, we come to the wonderfully reliable DK. DK is not above just making things up, as he did yesterday when he made up the claim that I'd advocated against some particular kind of proposed government health plan. In fact I had done nothing of the kind and had not so much as mentioned it, here or anywhere else. I asked DK to provide the quotation of mine to which he was referring. But he didn't, and he never will. This is not principally because the quotation does not exist. It's principally because DK believes that the urgency and moral rectitude he discerns in his position entitle him to say what he wants, and the assertion then justifies itself. Under this theory of "argument," whether what you say is true doesn't matter. Only the Rightness of Your Cause matters.

His present attack on you as being "every bit as responsible for those gruesome murders as the murderer" is a related phenomenon, but not exactly the same. The assertion is not false in the same way as claiming I said X is false. That is, it's not so much ordinary dishonesty as it is his ideological straitjacket (admittedly overlaid with a snarling attitude, but the snarling is not the main thing).

To DK, there is simply no such thing as a thug or a strongarm who makes choices about how he will behave. There is only the Marxist construct of human beings as vessels of forces outside themselves, typically sinister forces created by the economic interests of ruling class. (I don't know if DK is a Marxist or not, but I know the ideology and he's got it big time). Thus this Florida pervert gets no criticism; the guy who gets the criticism is YOU, because, as DK continues, "You foist these events on us. You are uncivilized and brutal because you actively promote and sustain the conditions that you claim requires you to kill defective human beings--the products of your very own warped creation."

As I say, DK is utterly reliable in taking this approach. I have yet to see him discuss a case in which he entertained even the POSSIBILITY that the criminal, and not society, and not people who question our present gargantuan welfare state, was responsible for the crime.

One final note: When I was at law school, I met a guy who was as committed a Marxist as DK certainly seems to be. This guy went to jail for helping to seize the administation building at Dartmouth when he was an undergrad.

But he was different from DK in two key respects: he was very honest, and he was not full of hate.

These things made it possible for us, eventually, to become friends. Several years later, he was best man at my wedding, and I at his. So I can tell you from personal experience that being a Marxist is an error that can be overcome.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 2, 2008 9:48:11 AM

Let me just add to Bill Otis's point: Payne v. Tennessee. An egregious effort by the Far Left to ignore the suffering caused by murder that was, thankfully, finally overturned.

Posted by: realist | Jul 2, 2008 10:18:33 AM

Bill Otis wrote: "DK is not above just making things up, as he did yesterday when he made up the claim that I'd advocated against some particular kind of proposed government health plan. In fact I had done nothing of the kind and had not so much as mentioned it, here or anywhere else. I asked DK to provide the quotation of mine to which he was referring. But he didn't, and he never will. This is not principally because the quotation does not exist."

Great! So I can chalk you up as supporting a robust universal, single-payer health insurance? I suppose I can also count on you to use your influence to advocate the program both to the general public and to other people of privilege and influence you know? You can even promote it as a crime-fighting measure (which it in fact would be, assuming it adequately covers both mental and physical health). I look forward to reading future posts from you advocating for this here.

Incidentally, I hope you realize this puts you to the left of both major party presidential candidates--even though it places you firmly in the mainstream of the American public, which the presidential candidates largely ignore. If you're serious about it, you may have to vote for Nader or McKinney for president. I assume you are on board with that, given your genuine support.

And what about all the other social programs, like guaranteeing to all people a place to live, food to eat, and state of the art schools?

Posted by: DK | Jul 2, 2008 11:39:41 AM

DK:

"So I can chalk you up as supporting a robust universal, single-payer health insurance?"

You already did. Falsely.

Incidentally, not to state the obvious, to fail to speak against something is hardly to support it. But you knew that.

I've never spoken against all-protien diets either. Does that mean I support them?

Right.

Your deceitfulness is astounding. Do you think people don't see it?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 2, 2008 11:56:34 AM

"an 'inconvenient truth' about the depraved nature of some of these killers."

That's the key: "some" of these killers. It's a fact that some of these killers are depraved; unimaginably depraved. I've seen it. But it is also a fact that others are not. How do we determine who meets the bar to deserve the death penalty? Texas has killed both depraved and not so depraved murderers. Though as a personal matter I oppose the death penalty in all contexts, the problem I have with applying the death penalty is that it can never be applied with consistent standards. Whether the penalty applies too often depends on the jurisdiction, the make up of the jury, the make up of the prosecutors office.

And the same is true of draconian drug laws. The net is too broad. Some deserve 5 or 10 year mandatory minimums; most do not. That is an "inconvenient truth" as well.

Posted by: John | Jul 2, 2008 1:32:50 PM

John:

"It's a fact that some of these killers are depraved; unimaginably depraved. I've seen it. But it is also a fact that others are not. How do we determine who meets the bar to deserve the death penalty?"

By submitting it to the jury, with backup assessments by the sentencing judge and the reviewing courts.

Juries do not consist of monsters. They consist of normal human beings. Normal human beings are reluctant to look at someone 25 feet away in the courtroom and tell him they're sending him to the death chamber. But they will do it in extreme instances.

The fact that there are close cases, in this context as elsewhere in the law, should not bar us from acting in cases that no reasonable person could regard as close. The Jessica Lunsford murder and the beltway sniper massacre are two examples. That defendant X may or may not deserve the death penalty tells us nothing about whether John Couey and John Allen Muhammed deserve it.

If the purpose of litigation is to give the parties what they deserve, the law should enforce the juries' judgment about these two killers.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 2, 2008 3:49:59 PM

John wrote: "It's a fact that some of these killers are depraved; unimaginably depraved."

It is? There may be some authentic sociopaths on death row, but I suspect only a negligible amount. To be sure, most have done depraved acts and some even unimaginably so, but in most cases even those are relatively isolated incidents.

Most sociopaths build nests in positions of corporate and governmental power (including prosecutor's offices), where they are left undisturbed to wreak havoc on the world. What the overwhelming majority of death row inmates have done was a mistake for which they have regrets. What Bush and Cheney do is intentional and sustained global mass murder. For money and power and without regret. It doesn't get any more depraved than that.

Bill Otis wrote: "By submitting it to the jury, with backup assessments by the sentencing judge and the reviewing courts."

Har. The State has found an ingenuous way to circumvent this process: appointing incompetent defense counsel who do not provide juries, sentencing judges, and reviewing courts any relevant information (or, at least in the case of the latter two, don't care anyway).

Posted by: DK | Jul 2, 2008 4:20:32 PM

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