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February 11, 2010

Jewish murderer getting special attention as Florida execution date approaches

This article from the Orlando Sentinel, which is headlined "Jewish groups plead for Crist to save life of convicted killer Martin Grossman," puts an interesting spotlight on the intersection of religion and death penalty advocacy.  Here are the basics:

Orthodox Jewish groups are trying to persuade Gov. Charlie Crist to spare the life of Martin Grossman, a convicted killer scheduled for execution Tuesday.  More than 13,000 people have signed an online petition, and Amnesty International also has intervened.

Grossman's advocates argue that the jury never heard mental-health evidence that would support Grossman's case, he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the crime and that he was only 19 when he shot a wildlife officer to death in Pinellas County in December 1984.  He was convicted the following year.

National Council of Young Israel, Agudath Israel of America, Orthodox Union, Chabad, Satmar, Rabbinical Alliance of America and the nonprofit Aleph Institute are among 200 organizations asking Crist to grant a 60-day stay of execution to allow a clemency application to be considered....

Grossman was convicted of shooting Margaret Park, 26, in the head after she found him and a friend at a nature reserve, where they went to fire a gun. Grossman asked Park not to report him because it would have been a violation of his probation on a burglary conviction.  There was a struggle, Park drew her gun and Grossman shot her with it.

I cannot help but wonder if all of these groups and individuals would be working so hard to advocate for a killer if his name was Martin Park and the victim was Margaret Grossman.  In other words, I think it is fair to suggest that it principally the religion of the offender (and perhaps also the victim), and not the particulars of the offense, that is generating much of the special attention in this case.

February 11, 2010 at 01:44 PM | Permalink

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Comments

You are correct, Doug. Will you make the same point when the NAACP gets involved in cases?

Posted by: federalist | Feb 11, 2010 2:30:19 PM

I don't think there's any evidence that Jews receive the death penalty at a much higher rate than Gentiles. You can't say the same about blacks, federalist.

Posted by: arx | Feb 11, 2010 2:36:47 PM

Au contraire, arx. Black murderers are less likely to be executed than their white counterparts.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 11, 2010 2:40:42 PM

Do these Jewish groups get together everytime someone with that faith is to be executed? I have never heard of it before. I would think that after 25 years of state and federal appeals and 2 different Governors signing death warrants, this case would be carried out.

Posted by: DaveP | Feb 11, 2010 4:41:40 PM


Whoever destroys a single life is as one who has destroyed the world entire, and whoever saves a single life is as one who has saved the world entire.

Talmud, Sanhedrin 37a

Posted by: anon 11 | Feb 11, 2010 5:26:51 PM

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
And when I am only for myself, what am 'I'?
And if not now, when?"

Hillel

Pirke Avot (Sayings of the Fathers) 1:14

Posted by: anon 12 | Feb 11, 2010 5:31:08 PM

You are right, federalist, that (some but not all types of) black murderers are less likely to be EXECUTED than their white counterparts, but the race of both the killer and especially the killed is statistically significant in who gets SENTENCED to death. (Also, the execution numbers are skewed in part because whites on death row are FAR more likely to waive appeals than blacks.)

More importantly, there is no evidence to my knowledge that Jews are badly and disproportionaly under-represented in the Florida legislature or as prosecutors and judges and jurors in Florida. There is considerable evidence, however, that blacks (both historically and now) are badly and disproportionaly under-represented in those state legislatures and legal systems in which more blacks (especially when they kill whites) end up on death row.

In other words, there are historical and statistical reasons for the NAACP to worry that a state's administration of capital punishment is systemically biased against people with black skin. Especially give the prominence of Jews in the Florida legal system, I think it is hard to assume or expect that Florida's administration of capital punishment is systemically biased against people who celebrate hannukah.

Do you get the distinction, federalist, or do I need to go further to explain why concerns about racial and religious discrimination in the administration of criminal justice are often quite distinct. I'd be happy to go on, but I am not sure how seriously you believe that all racial and religious issues are comparable.

Posted by: Doug B. | Feb 11, 2010 5:58:01 PM

I would like to know if this defendant was adopted into a Jewish family. Burglary, drunkenness, and a stupid pointless murder, devoid of a money profit. Not very Jewish. Jews have a low rate of alcoholism. The average Jew was exterminated. Only intelligent Jews remained, especially with a German surname.

If he was adopted, these left wing Jewish organizations have made jackasses of themselves, pleading for some white trash spawn of a single mother. Thank a lawyer for the explosion in the rate of bastardy in white folks.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 11, 2010 6:08:22 PM

"...but the race of both the killer and especially the killed is statistically significant in who gets SENTENCED to death."

I don't see how you can make such a sweeping statement. There are lots of studies, including those done by DP opponents, showing no significant race-of-defendant effect. As to race of the victim, there are some studies showing no statistically significant effect (Nebraska, New Jersey), and there are others where that effect diminishes to insignificance when a legitimate variable is added to the model (e.g., strength of the evidence in the McCleskey case in the District Court, jurisdiction of prosecution in U. Md. study).

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Feb 11, 2010 8:05:29 PM

Doug, the point, of course, is that you obviously raise questions about religious favoritism. What about racial favoritism? Are you categorically saying that it's ok for the NAACP to fight for people like Tookie Williams out of some view of racial solidarity? Is it ok for the NAACP to have a double standard when it comes to the race of the victims of black killers? You cannot simply dismiss these issues by pointing out a history of discrimination. Jews were lynched in the South. Does that excuse religious favoritism now? Apparently not. Does historical discrimination mean that the NAACP gets a free Doug Berman issued pass to play racial favorites when it comes to victims? Does it even mean that the question doesn't get asked? I guess so.

And what statistical reasons? Black murderers are less likely to be executed than white murderers. All you have to do to figure that out is to look at the racial breakdown of murderers and the racial breakdown of those executed. Non-hispanic whites are 57% of those executed--no one thinks that non-hispanic whites commit 57% of the murders in this country.

As for the race of the victim, well, consider this, to the extent that black victims are concentrated in areas where there is a high percentage of minorities (who are less enthusiastic, as a whole, about the death penalty), isn't the race-of-the-victim effect partially at least a response to the views of minority citizens? If that's the case, isn't it sophistry of the highest order to attribute the race-of-the-victim effect to racism?

Posted by: federalist | Feb 11, 2010 9:10:52 PM

The race of the victim, a 6 fold heavier burden of murder carried by black victims, shows the devaluation of the black murder victim by the lawyer hierarchy. On the other hand, the black murderer is a precious commodity to the left wing academic and to the left wing government dependent lawyer employee. The black murder victim is the vehicle for a multi-billion dollar lawyer appellate business. The black murder victim is worthless to the lawyer, and may rot.

Explode bastardy, destroy the black family after nothing else could, pull the police back, immunize the black murderer by the hand wringing worry about race, and coddling in court, and there you have it, the racial disparity in murder rates.

Because of the scienter, because of the planetary orbit class foreseeability of the disparity, because of the rents, the criminal justice system itself a crime against humanity. It justifies rounding up judges, lawyers from both sides, and appellate lawyers, arresting them, trying them in a fair trial for an hour, and executing the racist cult criminals. We need a Nuremberg trial for the current crop of cult criminals. Hang them right afterwards. They are mass murderers.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 11, 2010 10:07:37 PM

Put things in perspective. The KKK was the terror arm of the Democrat Party. It was founded, and run by judges and lawyers. It lynched 5000 black people and Jews. Most were well to do. Their assets were then taken. The lynchings were out in the open, and post cards of the lynchings were shot and sent like tourist attractions. There was no local prosecution, and the KKK, a lawyer fraternal organization had immunity for its activities from the local prosecutor and judge. Grant had the military arrest them, try them in the military system, and hanged dozens. Soldiers intimidated these lawyer traitors with severe beatings. Black folks did very well, without affirmative action, just with enforcement of the law.

The lawyer KKK unlawfully lynched 5000 people over 100 years. They seized $millions in assets from the murder victims. We get all huffy about those genocidal maniacs from history.

However, we have the work of the lawyer of today. There still 5000 black folks murdered who should not be. But this murder rate happens every year now, not over a century. Instead of stealing $millions in property, the lawyer got more sophisticated. He now makes $billions, again each year, not over 100 years. He does so by endless, bogus hyper-proceduralism, enabled by the cult criminals on the bench. This is far more reliable source of income, jacking the taxpayer. Think of the KKK on steroids, and 100 times bigger and more effective.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 12, 2010 12:33:43 AM

It is probably true that Jewish groups are more likely to be aware of current legal news that in some way impacts the Jewish community. I agree with you that the religion of the offender is what made this a story.

Posted by: Stanley Feldman | Feb 12, 2010 12:55:43 AM

This is sickening. But there will be no remedy to crime until the lawyer has been taken out. The best scenario would be to arrest and execute the top 15,000 leaders, and to imprison another 150,000. Once excluded from all policy positions, then the authorities can set about to get rid of all the violent criminals. 10,000 executions a year would attrit the violent birth cohort.

Another slower approach would be to close the Top Tier of law schools. These are Hate America Treason Indoctrination Camps. No matter the solution, it involves controlling the out of control lawyer traitor to this nation.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 12, 2010 12:57:51 AM

I thought they closed the internet in Tehran, but I am glad to see that it is alive, well and posting on SL&P, as usual!

Posted by: Stanley Feldman | Feb 12, 2010 1:01:27 AM

sc, you're forgetting your meds again. remember the blue pill at 1; the red at 3 and the white before bed time--with warm milk.

Posted by: anon 14 | Feb 12, 2010 1:14:11 AM

"I cannot help but wonder if all of these groups and individuals would be working so hard to advocate for a killer if his name was Martin Park and the victim was Margaret Grossman. In other words, I think it is fair to suggest that it principally the religion of the offender (and perhaps also the victim), and not the particulars of the offense, that is generating much of the special attention in this case."

Nailed it.

Statistics about religion or race have no place in the judgment whether to sentence a killer to the DP (or anything else). The sentence should be based on his behavior and his intent, not on what color he is or what faith he has or doesn't have.

Once we start down the path of religious "over-representation" or "under-representation" on death row, we have entered treacherous territory. We all know the last time a country decided that Jews were "under-represented" in the penal system. We shouldn't go there or anywhere near it.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 12, 2010 2:10:46 AM

Correct Bill. I did a job for a federal district judge years ago and he told me that he never knew the race or nationality of the inmate or the victim unless the name gave it away or if they raised a "McCleskey" type claim.

Posted by: DaveP | Feb 12, 2010 7:02:22 AM

Your comment, federalism, shows that you do need further education on the difference between race and religion, so let me try to explain these issues further:

1. A person's race is not easily altered or covered, a person's religious affiliation IS relatively easy to alter and cover. Consequently, it is relatively easy for voters and prosecutors to seek (consciously or unconsciously) to elect or exclude certain racial groups from key criminal justice positions; it is relatively hard do the same as to religious affiliation. This descriptive reality makes race and religion VERY different considerations in assessments/concerns about criminal justice bias or favoritism.

2. The 1st Amendment and much statutory law actually demand a certain measure of "religious favoritism," whereas the 14th Amendment and much other law prohibits any kind of "racial favoritism." This legal reality also impacts how we assess concerns about criminal justice bias or favoritism.

3. Do these realities mean I think that "racial solidarity" or race "double standards" are "categorically" justified or that "histories of discrimination" always justifies "playing racial favorites now"? Absolutely not. But it does mean that those who are quick to assert/suggest religious and racial consideration are perfectly parallel in the criminal justice context are either dim or have some other agenda.

So, federalist, in light of your very first comment to this post, are you dim or do you have some other agenda?

Posted by: Doug B. | Feb 12, 2010 9:38:07 AM

Anon: You are forgetting the 5000 extra black murder victims, not over a century, but year after year, thanks to the new, enhanced, lawyer KKK business plan. If the purpose of government is to protect the public, and the lawyer runs the government, and it is in utter failure, time to fire the self-dealing incompetents. When crass economic self-interest is questioned, the first rebuttal is a personal remark. Say, I am put away, or killed. How will that in any way change how much the lawyer profession's atavistic, self-dealing business methods are in utter failure and how its hierarchy sucks.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 12, 2010 10:09:06 AM

Doug, you're really moving the goalposts, and you're going very far afield. One of the implications of your post is that but for this killer's Judaism (which is both a religion and an ethnicity, by the way) is that these groups wouldn't have said word one about the execution. My point was whether the NAACP would receive the same scrutiny over the execution of black killers.

Then you delve into a largely meaningless discussion of history, the First Amendment and goofball assertions of an agenda.

From what I can gather, you believe that the NAACP is exempt from charges of naked favoritism because (in contrast to the history of Jews in America) because blacks have been historically discriminated against (no matter, of course, that race-of-the-killer discrimination is not an issue any more--I'd say it's largely gone with respect to the victim, but the abolitionist lobby continues to engage in naked sophistry on the point), the NAACP should not be questioned as to whether it is simply looking out for its own. That, given the standard you set for Jewish groups, would seem to be problematic. It's one thing to fight racism or even to fight to make sure that racism wasn't an issue--quite another to simply take up the cause for black killers because they happen to be black, and, while illuminating, your First Amendment/14th Amendment discussion is simply besides the point.

It is funny that you mention "Tookie". I wonder if the NAACP would have taken up his cause so vigorously if the victims of his crime spree were black. It's a fair question to ask. Moreover, the killings did show racism on Tookie's part (an underreported part of the story). The NAACP had nothing to say about that issue--and yet it is a civil rights organization. But hey, I guess I have an agenda.

I notice how Kent's point went unchallenged by you.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 12, 2010 1:28:19 PM

federalist, do you read what I write or is there an extra voice in your head that you mistake for mine? You say here it is "funny that [I] mention Tookie," but I DIDN'T either in post or my comments. YOU (and only YOU) brought up Tookie as part of your eagerness to turn this thread into a discussion of race rather than religion. I enjoy discussing and debating my actual views/statements, but you seem to be eager to attack me for things I do not say or believe (and then you accuse ME of "moving the goalposts"). Has someone off their meds hi-jacked your nom de plume?

I remain confuse about your NAACP griping: the very name of the organization suggests its mission is to show "favoritism" toward advancing people of a certain race. Moreover, my post did not really attacking anyone for showing "naked favoritism" on religious grounds. The whole point of this post was to NOTE, not attack, the fact that lots of Jewish groups decided to get involved here because of the religious background of the offender. It is useful to debate whether such "favoritism" is justifiable or appropriate in various settings, though I tend to see more benefits than harms when "identity groups" seek to help their own in the criminal justice system -- e.g., I typically welcome when veteran groups speak out in cases involving veterans, or when business groups speak out concerning white-collar cases.

What I find pernicious, however, is the tendency of you and some others to assert/suggest that race and religion are socially or morally equivalent for purposes of the criminal justice system. I keep trying to explain to you why this effort to examine these issues in lock-step is misguided, but you continue to fail to get the point. That is why I asked before (and still seek a response) to whether you are just dim or have some other agenda here.

Finally, as to Kent's point, he is right that a lot more nuance must attend any account of the significance of race in who gets sentenced to death. My (too brief) comment above was meant to note (1) that focusing on the race of who gets EXECUTION is problematic, and (2) that important interaction effects concern the race of the killer and the race of the victim(S) --- and also the race of the prosecutor and the racial composition of the region in which a killing occurred. I am often eager to avoid too much discussion of race and the death penalty here precisely because it is hard to explain complicated (and varied) death sentence data in a blog post. But, because you seem so eager to talk about race and the NAACP in the comments to A POST ABOUT RELIGION and the death penalty, I was eager to make sure you did not distort the discussion with your assertion about execution data. (More broadly, all the data and this whole debate shows that racial concerns distort the way many look at capital punishment, but that fact hardly distinguishes the death penalty from many other aspects of American law and society.)

Got it? Finally, let me pose the question one more time in order to get an answer: do you consider race and religion to be socially or morally equivalent for all purposes for all aspects of the criminal justice system? Some people might, but I think those who do likely fail to truly understand either religion or modern criminal justice systems.

Posted by: Doug B. | Feb 12, 2010 5:13:21 PM

Prof. Berman: There are no real black people in the US, except for recent immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean. The latter have a lower crime rate and greater economic success than white people, on the aggregate, according to the 2000 census.

What you have are American South Americans, trash. Please do not mention race because it does not really exist. We are all mixed race in the US after one or two generations. Louis Gates of crybaby victim minority fame? Scotch Irish according to his DNA, read, Southern White trash.

Race is a pretextual lawyer gotcha. It is a scam used by race whores for the plunder of productive entities.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 12, 2010 7:31:35 PM

Doug, anti-discrimination laws generally treat religious and racial discrimination the same. Moreover, as I indicated earlier, Jew refers to an ethnicity and a religion. Is Grossman even observant--whether he is or is not, I think, is probably not a driver in the decision for these groups to interject themselves.

Your question about why I would introduce a discussion about race-based affinity in a post about religion is baffling. I reiterate, your post obviously raises the issue about religious affinity driving the various groups in taking up the cause of a murderer. You obviously have problems with that since you write "I cannot help but wonder . . . ." (Your "note not attack" doesn't really wash. I simply analogize to the NAACP. You may think the issue out-of-bounds, and that's fine, but I don't think that I am saying that race-biased and religious-based bias are exactly the same, but we both can agree that acting on the basis of religious affinity in decisionmaking (e,g., on the job) can be problematic.

The point I am raising is that if Jewish groups are open to criticism (and you clearly do so--once again, "I cannot help but wonder . . . ." are not neutral words) for this, then questions certainly can be raised about the NAACP. That you react so vociferously to that point is truly odd. Yes, I agree that the NAACP has the right to ask questions etc., but if they are simply there to protect their own, then their statements and advocacy have to be taken with a grain of salt. And saying that religious discrimination is different from racial discrimination is supremely besides the point. With respect to the NAACP, there is a world of difference between making sure that the civil rights of black killers are respected (and that should be without regard to the skin color of the victims, right, hmmm, I wonder if that was the case in the Tookie Williams controversy.) and simply trying to get black killers out of death by using political pressure. If you are blind to that, well, I can't help you very much.

My bad on Tookie. Tough day today. But that mistake isn't close to the ones you make here:

"What I find pernicious, however, is the tendency of you and some others to assert/suggest that race and religion are socially or morally equivalent for purposes of the criminal justice system."

Where to start? First, whether or not race and religion are morally equivalent is supremely besides the point. My point, i.e., that the NAACP deserves scrutiny for its stances (just as you're giving the Jewish groups scrutiny) is not dependent on the two being equivalent. As I said before, if the NAACP simply wants to get black guys off because they're black, well, the NAACP has a right to do that, but I fail to see how its moral authority doesn't go down the drain if that's the case, particularly if they show less concern where a black victim is involved. Second, in the criminal justice system, religious bias IS equivalent to racial bias. If a Jew is treated more harshly because he's Jewish, how is that any different from doing the same to a black defendant?

"But, because you seem so eager to talk about race and the NAACP in the comments to A POST ABOUT RELIGION and the death penalty, I was eager to make sure you did not distort the discussion with your assertion about execution data."

Wow. First of all, whether or not there's a lot of racial bias in the administration of the death penalty is irrelevant to my point, which is whether the NAACP engages in "naked favoritism" in supporting black death row inmates. It's a legitimate question to ask. You ask it with respect to Jewish groups. Why is asking it with respect to the NAACP verboten? Second, my point about death row stats has everything to do with dealing with YOUR accusations of racial bias and the death penalty. So I don't know how I distorted anything. I simply asked whether you would raise the same question with respect to the NAACP. How is that distorting anything?

Yeah, I slipped up with Tookie, but you make far more serious errors.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 12, 2010 7:35:08 PM

By race whore, I am referring not just to the Rev Al Sharpton. I am including the NAACP, a hate organization, morally and intellectually equivalent to the KKK. Both are racist and lying about the validity of race. They both make their money off the racist feelings of other racists. Is it a coincidence that both hate organizations are lawyer founded and run organizations? Is it a coincidence both had a rent seeking business plan? No.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 12, 2010 7:37:05 PM

I decided I'd make things a little easier on the "distortion" charge.

Let's recap. Doug wrote this:

"But, because you seem so eager to talk about race and the NAACP in the comments to A POST ABOUT RELIGION and the death penalty, I was eager to make sure you did not distort the discussion with your assertion about execution data."

My first post was a question: "Will you make the same point when the NAACP gets involved in cases?"

My next post was in response to arx who raised the racism in the death penalty point.

Then Doug jumps in with: "In other words, there are historical and statistical reasons for the NAACP to worry that a state's administration of capital punishment is systemically biased against people with black skin."

And I am the one distorting the thread? Hardly. You yourself admit that your commentary on race and the death penalty was oversimplified or in your words, "too brief". And you accuse me of trying to distort the discussion? That's rich.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 12, 2010 8:09:57 PM

federalist, why are you eager to attribute words and ideas to me that I do not say or believe? You claim that I "obviously have problems" with "religious affinity driving the various groups in taking up the cause of a murderer." You make this claim based on my phrasing "I cannot help but wonder," but then ignore my direct statement that "I tend to see more benefits than harms when 'identity groups' seek to help their own in the criminal justice system."

Please, federalist, read what I actually say without importing your own misconceptions about what I mean. And the point I keep trying to make here concerns structural bias in WHO makes key criminal justice decisions: the under-representation of blacks in key criminal-justice decision-making positions makes it understandable why the NAACP (or others) may fear that a murderer's skin color (and his victim's skin color) may have played a role in a death sentence. But it is much harder to think that Jewish groups need to fear, due to the under-representation of Jews in key criminal-justice decision-making positions, that religion/ethnicity may have play a role in Grossman's death sentence.

You sensibly suggest a harsher sentence based on religion or skin color alone may be equally pernicious. But are there reasons to believe/fear that religion played a role in Grossman's treatment by Florida? There does seem to be reasons --- though surely debatable reasons --- for the NAACP to believe/fear that skin color playe a role in some death row defendants' treatment in certain states.

My point is NOT that it is "verboten" for you to note/question the NAACP's role in capital cases. Go ahead and note/attack the NAACP role as you see fit. But I think it is problematic to discuss racial issues and religion/ethnicity issues in the criminal justice system as if they were descriptively or normatively equivalent. In my view, these types of potential biases are VERY different in many settings; and that's why I do not see much value or virtue in raising racial issues (or asserting which races are "less likely to be executed") in reponse to a post about religious issues.

Finally, please understand that I did not "accuse [you] of trying to distort" the conversation. I am not trying to "accuse" you of anything, and I think our dialogue here has been mostly productive and thoughtful (even as we enjoy taking swipes at each other). My chief goal is to explain my perspectives and to better understand the beliefs/concerns that animate your comments/views.

And, I remain unsure (and would like to know) if you consider race and religion to be morally/socially equivalent in the criminal justice system, and also whether you think racial bias and religion/ethnicity bias in the criminal justice system are equally likely and therefore directly comparable.

Posted by: Doug B. | Feb 12, 2010 10:41:08 PM

This has grown a bit tiresome. You move the goalposts and change your tune.

"federalist, why are you eager to attribute words and ideas to me that I do not say or believe? You claim that I 'obviously have problems' with 'religious affinity driving the various groups in taking up the cause of a murderer.' You make this claim based on my phrasing 'I cannot help but wonder,' but then ignore my direct statement that 'I tend to see more benefits than harms when 'identity groups' seek to help their own in the criminal justice system.'"

I didn't ignore the later statement, I chose not to respond to it. Your original post called out the Jewish groups, and then in the comments section you backtrack. On that point, I decided to stick to your post. I also don't have a problem with identity groups getting involved per se. The issue is naked favoritism. The question of whether the NAACP would have taken up the cause of Tookie if he had murdered black victims is a legitimate one, and the blind eye the NAACP turned to Tookie's disturbing racism is problematic.

"Finally, please understand that I did not 'accuse [you] of trying to distort' the conversation. I am not trying to 'accuse' you of anything, and I think our dialogue here has been mostly productive and thoughtful (even as we enjoy taking swipes at each other). My chief goal is to explain my perspectives and to better understand the beliefs/concerns that animate your comments/views."

Oh really? First of all, you asked what kind of agenda. Second, you yourself said that you were trying to prevent the distortion of the thread by my comments. With respect to the chief goal, well, I like to raise issues with the bona fides of capital punishment opponents. There. As if that weren't obvious.

"But I think it is problematic to discuss racial issues and religion/ethnicity issues in the criminal justice system as if they were descriptively or normatively equivalent. In my view, these types of potential biases are VERY different in many settings; and that's why I do not see much value or virtue in raising racial issues (or asserting which races are "less likely to be executed") in reponse to a post about religious issues."

First of all, once again, "Jew" refers to an ethnicity as well as a religion. Second of all, the issue is favoritism, not whether racial discrimination and religious discrimination are exactly equivalent (in many cases, they are, sometimes they are not). Favoritism based on religion or race from outside groups trying to influence punishment IS an issue worth raising. In sum, the argument that race is simply so different from religion in this context that raising a question about the NAACP's favoritism with respect to black death row inmates is off topic is silly. Moreover, with respect to statistics, remember, I cited those in response to arx's comments. In my view, and I don't think this is at all questionable, if the NAACP is simply taking up for black killers because they are black (and favoring black killers of non-blacks over blacks) then that's an issue, irrespective of the quantum of discrimination against black killers in the criminal justice system, although the quantum of discrimination may mitigate this.

Lastly, Doug, you yourself raise the issue about what would happen if the victim were Jewish. Well, that's directly comparable to my questions about Tookie, and, for that matter, Troy Davis. Would the NAACP be fighting so hard for Troy Davis had his victim been a black cop? It's a very legitimate question. And one that you haven't seen fit to ask. That's your right, but if you jump on Jewish organizations for favoritism, then I get to ask why the silence for the NAACP. And I did.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 13, 2010 9:35:51 AM

She drew her gun. He shot her with it. Sounds like self defense, defense of others, necessity. If he was mentally ill the jury should have heard it. They probably heard that he had aggravating factors such as the burglary conviction.

Governors in the South rarely spare any human life by commutation or pardon. The killing of alleged criminals whether by lynching or some modicum of due process has been historically well tolerated in Florida. When the "People" of Florida break the Commandment, and Crist breaks the Commandment of: Thou Shalt Not Kill, those who oppose the killing might want to stand on the steps of the Governor's Mansion and let him know that he is a killer.
This crime happened in 1984. It has an Orwellian ring to it.

Posted by: mpb | Feb 13, 2010 12:55:19 PM

Kill the jew, get rid of him quick

Posted by: islami | Feb 14, 2010 11:29:03 AM

I would guess that the majority of ultra-orthodox Jews are in favor of the death penalty, just not when it comes a Jewish inmate. Most would not care and would not even know about gentile death row inmates. A basic glance at the religious news sites that are running this story confirms the idea that the only thing behind this plea for clemency is the religious affiliation of the inmate. That is how this situation differs from the NAACP scenario- NAACP is not, as far as I know, in favor of the death penalty in general and makes exceptional pleas for AAs. - student

Posted by: mandy | Feb 15, 2010 12:57:19 AM

Actually, as a Jew who is orthodox. The pentalty for killing is death by the court of the Sanhedrin. However, one question that is bothersome here is -Why didn't they just execute him right away? Why have him sit in prison for twenty years first?

Also, sometimes things are wrong.. As in the case of Ethel Rosenberg who was deemed innocent afterwards.

Posted by: Ita | Feb 15, 2010 2:53:16 AM

mpb: Self defense my ass. While holding her down and striking her on the head 20-30 times with a heavy flashlight, leaving deep lacerations, Off. Park managed to grab her gun and fire a blind shot in the vehicle. He then disarmed her and shot her point blank in the head.

The defense is not claiming that he is mentally ill but that people in prison for long periods of time can develop mental illness, therefore he may not be competent to execute. They offer no proof that Grossman is suffering from a mental illness.

I'm sure the jury heard that he had a burglary conviction, that when released from prison a few months earlier he went back to committing burglaries, that the gun found in his possession was taken in one of his burglaries, that he had a history of pointing guns at people. But it was the extreme viciousness of the murder of Officer Park that sealed his fate.

Posted by: sam | Feb 15, 2010 3:57:59 PM

lta: The state does have an interest in seeing that trials are conducted fairly. Therefore, a conviction isn't really final until after the state appeal. A defendant then has the right to appeal to the federal courts. For the most part defense attys know they aren't going to win these cases. Delaying the inevitable as long as possible is considered a success. And for all the undeserved grief they are getting, Grossman's attys did a pretty good job of it.

Posted by: sam | Feb 15, 2010 8:33:32 PM

No one is saying Grossman is not guilty. His advocates are merely saying that the death penalty is disproportionate punishment in this specific case. They are asking for a final review of this one instance and will accept whatever the Governor rules. Justice will come only if the Governor listens to this final appeal, whichever way he rules.

Posted by: Irwin Tyler | Feb 16, 2010 5:42:28 AM

123D for the murderer at the youngest age tolerable to the public would have us one park ranger alive.

The people who failed to execute him for his repeat violent offenses should themselves be executed. This murder had planetary orbit foreseeability. The park ranger's blood is on the hands of the pro-criminal biased lawyers running the criminal law. Why are they so biased in favor of pure evil and criminality? It generates lawyer fees. Victims generate nothing and may rot. They allow murderers to go free, to generate their fees.

He killed out of anger and the need to escape. The lawyer killed for a few lousy bucks. Then they dealt themselves absolute, airtight immunity, and there is no recourse for the estates of murder victims. The families of the 17,000 murder victims a year should visit street justice on these heartless murderous lawyers. If torts is a substitute for violence, absolute legal immunity is a full moral and intellectual justification for violence. To deter.

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