January 20, 2010
"Supreme Court mandates 'dignity and respect' in death sentencing"The title of this this post is the headline of this Washington Post article yesterday's SCOTUS split decision in Wellons v. Hall (09-5731) (available here). The headline draws on what I thought was the only notable quotable from the majority's per curiam ruling, and here are excerpts from the story:
"From beginning to end," the Supreme Court intoned Tuesday, "judicial proceedings conducted for the purpose of deciding whether a defendant shall be put to death must be conducted with dignity and respect."
And so a majority of the court decided that a trial in which jurors presented the judge with an "edible chocolate penis" and the bailiff with a pair of chocolate breasts deserved a closer look. It told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to examine more closely the trial in which Marcus Wellons received the death penalty for the rape and murder of 15-year-old India Roberts in suburban Atlanta in 1989. The appeals court upheld the death sentence the first time around....
The court's four most consistent conservatives criticized their colleagues for abusing their own procedures. The majority told the lower court to reconsider the case in light of a recent Supreme Court precedent, but Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas said that should not affect the 11th Circuit's decision. They said it was disrespectful to send the case back because of an "inconsequential imperfection" in the lower court's opinion.
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., said he agreed with the majority that the "strange and tasteless gifts" raised "troubling" concerns. But he, too, objected to the "improper" way the majority sent the case back to the 11th Circuit.
Though some may fault the Post headline for suggesting an anti-death-penalty bias, I fault it for missing the opportunity for some bawdy headline humor in a case involving an "edible chocolate penis." Here are a few possible alternative headlines that perhaps The Onion might consider: "Supreme Court gets hard on circuit based on its handling of chocolate penis" or "Justices see boner in lower court ruling involving chocolate penis" or "Justices battle over how best to massage chocolate penis case error."
Readers are, of course, highly encouraged to suggest their own bawdy headlines, with extra points going to anyone also working the chocolate breasts. But, of course, all potential headline writers should stay considerate of the "dignity and respect" mandate from SCOTUS.
January 20, 2010 at 09:23 AM | Permalink
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Watching the Supremes cook --The food channel on court tv allows you to stay abreast of the Supreme Court's culinary examination of an edible penis.
Posted by: k | Jan 20, 2010 9:55:23 AM
Justices erect chocolate obstacle to death penalty for Georgia inmate; majority gropes jury's mammary gifts, dissent too flacid to sway Justice Kennedy.
Posted by: ALB | Jan 20, 2010 10:27:10 AM
Was the jury sequestered? If so where did they get their chocolates? Who picked the penis--the males on the jury or the females or both? Did they vote on penis selection? Same re the breasts--did they vote? Did they vote on the death penalty or merely roll over for the penis juror?
Where there any issues in the case involving sex? Sub-issues involving private parts? Sub-issues involving not so private parts? Did the defendant have a big one? A brown one? Did the victim have big ones? All of these questions might be indicative of a jury that made fun of both defendant and victim or perhaps had racial animosity to one or both.
If the defendant and victims were white they could have chosen vanilla chocolate.
Somehow it seems that race might be a factor here.
Posted by: mpb | Jan 21, 2010 8:59:41 AM
DEAR JOHN ROBERTS ~ GOD'S MANDATE WITH YOUR U.S. SUPREME COURT SHOULD NOT INCLUDE POSSIBLE FALSE EXECUTIONS OF POOR AMERICANS ??
TROY DAVIS & MUMIA ABU-JAMAL PLEASE REMEMBER ~ JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF ALSO HAD 2 DEAL WITH ......
OUR U.S.CONGRESS HAS DOCUMENTED OUR UNJUST AMERICAN JUDICIAL SYSTEM AND WE STILL HAVE CERTAIN AMERICANS EVEN TODAY WANTING TO RUN THE RISK OF EXECUTING EVEN POSSIBLE INNOCENT CITIZENS RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE REST OF US IN THE NAME OF THEIR SO CALLED JUSTICE.
GOD DOES NOT HAVE MANDATE WITH U.S. SUPREME COURT 2 CONTINUE ALLOWING POSSIBLE WRONGFUL EXECUTIONS TO BE INFLICTED ON OUR AMERICAN POOR !!!
**TROY DAVIS & MUMIA ABU ~JAMAL ~ ARE HAVING PRAYERS FOR JUSTICE SAID FOR THEM WORLD~WIDE ..WE CAN ALL ONLY HOPE AND PRAY THAT EVERYONE IN OUR U.S.CONGRESS THAT KNOWS AND UNDERSTANDS HOW UNJUST OUR U.S JUDICIAL SYSTEM CAN BE WITH OUR POORER AMERICANS,BECOMES ACTIVE IN MAKING SURE THAT TROY DAVIS OF GEORGIA AND MUMIA ABU~JAMAL OF PENNSYLVANIA RECEIVE FAIR AND JUST TRIALS BEFORE ANY POSSIBLE WRONGFUL EXECUTIONS TAKE PLACE.
THE NATIONAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE COMMISSION ACT OF 2009
The National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009 that I introduced in the Senate on March 26, 2009 will create a blue-ribbon commission to look at every aspect of our criminal justice system with an eye toward reshaping the process from top to bottom.
I believe that it is time to bring together the best minds in America to confer, report, and make concrete recommendations about how we can reform the process. This legislation has already garnered wide bipartisan support in Congress and from interest groups representing a range of backgrounds and political viewpoints.
Why We Urgently Need this Legislation: With 5% of the world's population, our country now houses 25% of the world's reported prisoners. Incarcerated drug offenders have soared 1200% since 1980. Four times as many mentally ill people are in prisons than in mental health hospitals. Approximately 1 million gang members reside in the U.S., many of them foreign-based; and Mexican cartels operate in 230+ communities across the country.
Post-incarceration re-entry programs are haphazard and often nonexistent, undermining public safety and making it extremely difficult for ex-offenders to become full, contributing members of society. America's criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace. Its irregularities and inequities cut against the notion that we are a society founded on fundamental fairness. Our failure to address this problem has caused the nation's prisons to burst their seams with massive overcrowding, even as our neighborhoods have become more dangerous.
We are wasting billions of dollars and diminishing millions of lives. We need to fix the system. Doing so will require a major nationwide recalculation of who goes to prison and for how long and of how we address the long-term consequences of incarceration. MATERIALS & RESOURCES Read the legislation, S. 714 Fact sheet on the legislation Senator Webb's floor speech introducing the legislation PARADE Magazine cover story, "What's Wrong with our Prisons?" Senator Jim Webb,
Sunday March 29, 2009 The scope of the problem: relevant charts and graphs List of Support for the National Criminal Justice Commission Act Of 2009 Opening Statement of Sen. Webb at Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on National Criminal Justice Commission Act, June 11, 2009 Watch Senator Webb's Floor Speech Introducing the Legislation, March 26, 2009 Senator Webb's article on the Huffington Post, "Why We Must Reform Our Criminal Justice System" MATERIALS FROM PAST HEARINGS, SYMPOSIUMS Joint Economic Committee Hearing, conducted by Senator Webb, "Mass Incarceration in the United States: At What Cost?" October 2007 Joint Economic Committee Hearing, conducted by Senator Webb, "Illegal Drugs: Economic Impact, Societal Costs, and Policy Responses,"
June 2008 George Mason University Symposium, hosted by Senator Webb and the GMU Administration of Justice Department, "Drugs in America: Trafficking, Policy and Sentencing," October 2008 Senator Webb's Keynote Address to the Brookings Institution's Policy Roundtable on the Challenges to Prisoner Re-entry, December 2008 NEWS ARTICLES & COMMENTARY Virginian Pilot editorial: "Time to reconsider U.S. justice system," April 6, 2009 Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star: "Behind-bars review," April 5, 2009 The Washington Post Writers Group: "Webb Leads the Charge for Much-Needed Drug, Prison Reform," April 5, 2009 Economist: "A Nation of Jailbirds," April 2, 2009 Daily Press: "Go After the Real Problem," March 31, 2009 New York Times: "Reviewing Criminal Justice," March 30, 2009 Lynchburg News & Advance: "Webb Takes on Politics' Third Rail: Prison Reform," March 29, 2009 Salon.com: "Jim Webb's courage v. the "pragmatism" excuse for politicians," March 28, 2009 The Virginian Pilot Editorial:
"Time to Rethink Goals of Prison," January 5, 2009 Roanoke Times Editorial: "The Criminal Justice System Needs Help," January 5, 2009 Las Vegas Sun Editorial: "Voice for Broken Prisons," January 3, 2009 U.S. News & World Report: "James Webb Shows Leadership Regarding Prison Reform," January 2, 2009 New York Times Editorial: "Sen. Webb's Call for Prison Reform," January 1, 2009 Washington Post: "Webb Sets His Sights On Prison Reform," December 29, 2008 Daily Press: "Alternative to Jail for Addicts Gains New Supporter," December 28, 2008 The Virginian Pilot: "Senator Elevates Debate on Failed Drug, Prison Policies," October 18, 2008 The Roanoke Times Editorial: "A Sensible Call for Sentencing Reform," October 13, 2008 Washington Post Op-Ed: "Two Separate Societies: One in Prison, One Not," April 15, 2008
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LAWYERS FOR POOR AMERICANS HAS COMPLETE FAITH THAT SUPREME COURT JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS IS THE RIGHT MAN IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME FOR JUSTICE TO PREVAIL FOR ALL AMERICANS !
Posted by: LAWYERS FOR POOR AMERICANS | Feb 24, 2010 6:54:20 PM