« D'oh!: new research suggests being smart could be a gateway drug | Main | AAG Breuer talking up federal sentencing at lawyer summit »

November 15, 2011

Executions on tap in Ohio and Florida today

As reported in these new press articles, executions are scheduled for multiple murderers in two states today:

UPDATE: As detailed in this local article, today's Ohio execution proved eventful because of a delay and a notable final gesture:

With his middle-finger on his left hand raised toward his watching ex-wife even after the lethal chemicals had done their job today, child killer Reginald Brooks was defiant to the end -- and beyond.

Those witnessing the execution behind glass about 10 feet away gasped but said nothing as Brooks first glared at and then “flipped off” the mother of the three children he murdered nearly 30 years ago after she filed for divorce.

Brooks was declared dead at 2:04 p.m., after about 15 minutes of the chemicals flowing. He had no final words. At 66, Brooks was the 46th, and oldest, Ohioan to be executed since 1999.

Brooks lived nearly 30 years longer than the three sons he murdered in their beds in their East Cleveland home. His victims included Reginald Jr., 17, and Vaughn, 15, and Niarchos, 11.  His execution was delayed from 10 this morning while first a federal judge in Cleveland and then the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on his mental competency.  Brooks’ attorneys decided not to file another attempt with the U.S. Supreme Court, which had rejected an earlier appeal.

AND:  This AP article reports that Florida has now completed its scheduled execution today, too.

November 15, 2011 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e2015436eb224d970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Executions on tap in Ohio and Florida today:

Comments

Well as "the lawyer told jurors that the ancient edict [in the Bible] called for the death penalty only in the killing of a pregnant woman",

these must ipso facto be yet-more-examples of unjust "murders" by the states.
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e20154365d005c970c

Posted by: adamakis | Nov 15, 2011 1:07:54 PM

Four hours after being posted and no sob stories regarding why this guy is innocent, has redeemed (or will) himself, or why he is just a victim of racism?

It is interesting that those who want abolition for ALL death sentences seem to pick and choose which cases they want to highlight.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Nov 15, 2011 3:49:39 PM

This sentence said everything we need to know about what is wrong with the system: "While Brooks’ appeals lasted nearly three decades, there was never any doubt about his guilt."

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Nov 15, 2011 3:52:21 PM

"It is interesting that those who want abolition for ALL death sentences seem to pick and choose which cases they want to highlight."

Some of us have jobs that do not involve posting on legal blogs all day long. Executing Brooks was immoral, just like any other execution.

Posted by: The Death Penalty Sucks. | Nov 15, 2011 6:55:00 PM

"Some of us have jobs that do not involve posting on legal blogs all day long. Executing Brooks was immoral, just like any other execution."

If you're so busy, why do you waste your precious time on worrying about executions. I won't challenge your view that executions are immoral, but certainly there are far more greater injustices to get worked up about. Why do you choose to worry so much about the execution of a guilty murderer? I'd really like to know.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 15, 2011 7:27:12 PM

You just got to admire Brooks' attorney. The execution was ordered 5 months ago and he waits until the last few days to sandbag the state and federal courts with meritless claims.

Brooks and Chandler killed 6 people. Five of them were just kids. What a shame to have lost those lives to those two disgusting, vile men. Good riddance!

Posted by: DaveP | Nov 15, 2011 8:13:54 PM

"Why do you choose to worry so much about the execution of a guilty murderer? I'd really like to know."

I believe that all human life is sacred, and that killing someone when life without parole is readily available is an utterly immoral thing to do.

Posted by: The Death Penalty Sucks. | Nov 15, 2011 8:19:07 PM

DPS, what should the sentence be for someone serving life without parole who commits another premeditated murder while imprisoned or perhaps in the course of breaking out of prison?

Posted by: alpino | Nov 16, 2011 3:56:17 AM

DPS, that really doesn't answer the question. I get that you think that the DP is immoral. My question was more directed at why you choose to get worked up about the death penalty when there are so many bigger injustices out there.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 16, 2011 9:27:13 AM

TDPS stated: "Some of us have jobs that do not involve posting on legal blogs all day long."

LOL Unfortunately, the jobs abolitionists hold only seem to get in the way of posting in cases like this, where he is undoubtedly guilty, unrepentant, and even the weakest case for racism cannot be made.

A perfect example of this is Troy Davis. No one had a problem getting time off from their jobs to post "on legal blogs all day long" for him because you all felt that you could make a case (although an extremely weak one) that there was racism or innocence involved. Meanwhile, you were all completely silent (too busy at work I am sure)regarding Lawrence Russell Brewer, who killed James Byrd and was executed the same day as Troy Davis.

There is nothing wrong with being an abolitionist but at least be consistent.

You stated: "I believe that all human life is sacred, and that killing someone when life without parole is readily available is an utterly immoral thing to do."

Your statement is in conflict. If "all human life is sacred", then ALL human killing is wrong whether LWOP is readily available or not. Essentially, you are advocating Anabaptist style pacifism.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Nov 16, 2011 9:32:07 AM

How worked up is it that someone posted a brief comment on a blog?

Being worked up about the state directly taking a life (like many are about targeted killings of one American citizen abroad) seems reasonable, that is, if you think it is wrong in any given case. Then again maybe the whole lost sheep thing is wrong. Why worry about the one, when the other 99 has worries too?

I also don't see the lack of consistency -- first "execution" is not the same thing as "all human killing." In fact, it is not really a "conflict" at all to support killing or even execution, since it depends on your understanding of sacred and what that entails. Killing alone surely -- unless killing in self-defense means that life isn't sacred, which by itself seems wrong to me.

It particularly is logical -- see the view of the Catholic Church -- to consider execution immoral if you think there is a reasonable alternative available. The Church holds that now as compared to the past, there are credible alternatives, making execution more clearly immoral. I do not see the "conflict" here at all, really.

Finally, is "guilt" really the ONLY reason to challenge death sentences? Let's say we know he is guilty. But, the guilt was determined by a blatantly undue process. If the jury, for instance, had a son of a victim or really split 7-5 but lied or the judge was bribed or whatever, his obvious guilt would trump it all, I guess? The issue of his mental competency suggests his "guilt" in some level in fact was debated.

Overall, for those who think some system is broken or wrong, there are always cases where it looks okay. So, the system continues to be broken, since otherwise, what about these cases? Meanwhile, equally heinous people serve in prison and the argument gets weaker.

Posted by: Joe | Nov 16, 2011 11:42:47 AM

Joe stated: "Being worked up about the state directly taking a life (like many are about targeted killings of one American citizen abroad) seems reasonable, that is, if you think it is wrong in any given case. Then again maybe the whole lost sheep thing is wrong. Why worry about the one, when the other 99 has worries too?"

Your analogy does not work. My question about consistency does not refer to going after the "one" instead of a generic "99." It is why THAT one and not the other 99 equally lost sheep?

Joe stated: "I also don't see the lack of consistency -- first "execution" is not the same thing as "all human killing." In fact, it is not really a "conflict" at all to support killing or even execution, since it depends on your understanding of sacred and what that entails. Killing alone surely -- unless killing in self-defense means that life isn't sacred, which by itself seems wrong to me."

TDPS stated that "all human life is sacred." If so, then it is ALWAYS wrong to take a human life. If you have a problem with this formulation of the argument, it is with TDPS, not me.

You stated: "It particularly is logical -- see the view of the Catholic Church -- to consider execution immoral if you think there is a reasonable alternative available. The Church holds that now as compared to the past, there are credible alternatives, making execution more clearly immoral. I do not see the "conflict" here at all, really."

Your representation of the Church's position is inaccurate/incomplete. The Church believes that in most cases the DP is not necessary and I would agree. However, she does not find it to be "inherently evil" (in contrast to say, abortion), nor are Catholics bound to oppose it.

You stated: "Finally, is "guilt" really the ONLY reason to challenge death sentences? Let's say we know he is guilty. But, the guilt was determined by a blatantly undue process. If the jury, for instance, had a son of a victim or really split 7-5 but lied or the judge was bribed or whatever, his obvious guilt would trump it all, I guess? The issue of his mental competency suggests his "guilt" in some level in fact was debated."

Why should an obviously guilty defendant receive an undeserved windfall?

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Nov 16, 2011 12:03:36 PM

[1] You did not show the person ONLY worried about the one lost sheep and yes the other sheep aren't "equal" in various respects. Part of the point. Killing someone is different, so sometimes it is right to be more concerned about it.

[2] What "sacred" means exactly splits all the major religions out there, especially since sometimes ending human life isn't avoidable, so some choice has to be made. Saying it is "always wrong" to "take" (as compared to execution, abortion, unjust war or whatever) isn't compelled by the original statement.

[3] My reference to the OFFICIAL position was not about what the specific believer was compelled to believe. Also, the example was in answer to a specific matter, not necessarily the "inherent evil" of all executions -- the very point was that this depended on the alternatives (shades of just war). The whole "if LWOP is available" issue was the whole point.

[4] First, again, mental incompetency was alleged, and if true, that directly challenges the level of guilt needed for execution. Second, protecting our overall system, especially if we are talking about a "defendant" (here we are talking convicted felon), has long been deemed important. Thus, if an "obviously guilty" person was tortured to be convicted, his/her conviction might be overturned. Also, we require guilt to be determined by a specific process. A murder can be in front of a hundred witnesses but the person "deserves" to be convicted with due process. Guilt alone doesn't settle things.

Posted by: Joe | Nov 16, 2011 12:25:40 PM

"DPS, that really doesn't answer the question. I get that you think that the DP is immoral. My question was more directed at why you choose to get worked up about the death penalty when there are so many bigger injustices out there."

I have a great deal of interest in many different social justice issues. Eliminating the death penalty is the one I enjoy working on the most.

"DPS, what should the sentence be for someone serving life without parole who commits another premeditated murder while imprisoned or perhaps in the course of breaking out of prison?"

A second LWOP sentence on top of the LWOP sentence he is already serving. Put him in a supermax and forcibly sedate him when necessary.

"There is nothing wrong with being an abolitionist but at least be consistent."

I am consistent.

"Your statement is in conflict. If "all human life is sacred", then ALL human killing is wrong whether LWOP is readily available or not. Essentially, you are advocating Anabaptist style pacifism."

Anabaptist pacifism is very cool, but that wasn't what I was getting at. God is human life's biggest fan, so preserving human life should always be a top priority. LWOP is a very good way of preserving human life when you are dealing with very dangerous people.

Posted by: The Death Penalty Sucks. | Nov 16, 2011 6:15:53 PM

TDPS --

"A second LWOP sentence on top of the LWOP sentence he is already serving."

What complete nonsense. Unless the killer is the first person in history to have two lives, you can't put a second LWOP sentence ON TOP OF the first. It can only run CONCURRENTLY WITH the first, meaning that the second (and subsequent) murders are freebies.

Do you not see the irony of a fellow who says he values human life above all else adopting the view that the taking of human life, indeed the taking of a second human life, should be without cost?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Nov 17, 2011 1:07:13 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB