February 4, 2011
Intriguing little Sixth Circuit ruling on clemency procedure
Ralph Baze, the Kentucky death row prisoner whose name is attached to the leading Supreme Court ruling on modern execution methods, helped make a little more sentencing law today. In Baze v. Parker, No. 10-5584 (6th Cir. Feb. 4, 2010) (available here), a Sixth Circuit panel today addressed Baze's effort to get federal court help with his clemency application. Here is how the opinion in this case begins:
Ralph Stevens Baze, Jr., a Kentucky inmate on death row, wishes to interview prison personnel to support his application for clemency. After the Kentucky Department of Corrections (“KDOC”) denied Baze’s request for unfettered access to these personnel, Baze sought relief in district court with a motion to order KDOC to allow him to conduct his desired interviews. The district court denied Baze’s motion for a want of jurisdiction, and we affirm.
February 4, 2011 at 02:28 PM | Permalink
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When people write about "endless" appeals, a picture of Baze should be with it.
Posted by: DaveP | Feb 4, 2011 3:19:35 PM
What a ridiculous lawsuit. Since when do capital murderers have the right to enlist federal courts to force private citizens to undergo examination for their clemency presentation.
Posted by: federalist | Feb 4, 2011 7:15:59 PM
Does Baze sound retarded to anyone here? The Supreme Court got played by this street smart entrepreneur.
Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 4, 2011 9:36:29 PM
It's a fairly transparent effort to transform plenary, discretionary and executive decisions into a procedure-laden, rule-driven, quasi-judicial decisions. This is only the beginning of the game, and thus relatively modest, but the end of the game is judicial review of clemency denials.
The Ninth Circuit's recent disastrous incursion into state parole decisions is the model. For those who think the Left has "learned a lesson" from the SCOTUS admonition to CA9, think again.
The Left is a one-trick pony, and the trick is to keep pushing. The quise may change, but underneath it's the same deal.
Don't get me wrong. I admire the Left's tenacity and creativity. I just don't want anyone to be in doubt about what's actually going on here.
Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 5, 2011 12:01:29 AM
Bill: What drives this perseverance? Jobs. People only work that hard when they will eventually get paid, through an increase in government make work jobs. The pecuniary and stealthy natures of this movement make it in bad faith. This is stealing at the point of a gun held to the head of the taxpayer.
Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 5, 2011 4:40:31 AM
I think what drives defense perseverance is the typical lack of a winning argument on the merits. When you're short on facts and law, what you've got left is will power.
(Being short on facts and law is also what accounts for the fact that defense counsel are often more creative and innovative than prosecutors. Necessity being a mother and all that).
Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 5, 2011 2:27:15 PM
"It's a fairly transparent effort to transform plenary, discretionary and executive decisions into a procedure-laden, rule-driven, quasi-judicial decisions. This is only the beginning of the game, and thus relatively modest, but the end of the game is judicial review of clemency denials."
Posted by: federalist | Feb 5, 2011 5:25:43 PM