« "The Exchange of Inmate Organs for Liberty: Diminishing the 'Yuck Factor' in the Bioethics Repugnance Debate" | Main | Senate hearings scheduled this afternnon for two of Prez Obama's USSC nominees »

May 8, 2013

Could and should the death penalty be on the table in the Cleveland kidnapping and sexual torture case?

Like perhaps many others, I have feelings ranging from horror to disgust to macabre interest as facts emerge from Cleveland concerning the many awful crimes committed on at least three young women for a decade.  This USA Today story provides just a small flavor of what the victims may have endured for years upon years upon years:

Cleveland police say they'll delay "deep questioning" of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight as they get acclimated to their families and freedom.  While the three appear to be in good health, a disturbing tale of sexual assault, physical abuse, bondage and other horrors is already emerging....

The Castro brothers allegedly forced all three women to have sex, resulting in up to five pregnancies, according to a report by Cleveland's WKYC-TV.  The station, quoting unnamed law enforcement sources, reported that the Castros also beat the women while they were pregnant, with several unborn children not surviving....

A law enforcement official said there is some evidence that the victims were held in chains during at least part of their captivity.  The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, did not elaborate on other conditions of their confinement or whether they were ever moved from the home.

In addition, Khalid Samad, a former assistant safety director for the city, said law enforcement officials told him that the women were beaten while pregnant, with unborn children not surviving, and that a dungeon of sorts with chains was in the home.

I cannot help but wonder if the Supreme Court's decision to categorically precluding consideration of the death penalty for even repeat and aggravated child rape in its 2008 Kennedy opinion might well have come out differently had this horrific Cleveland story been known at that time.  Perhaps because I am a blood-thirsty SOB or just because I know what kind of justice I would want if someone abducted and sexual tortured my children in a dungeon for a decade, my guttural first sentencing thought in this case is some regret that a team of men who rape and torture young girls for over four presidential administrations cannot even face the prospect of our ultimate punishment for these kinds of crimes.

That said, as the title of my post here hints, Ohio law might provide a real and realistic basis to purpose a death penalty charge if there is significant evidence showing that the offenders, through physical abuse and forms of torture, "purposely ... cause[d] ... the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy."  If the defendants beat their victims with an intent to cause them to miscarry, they could well be prosecuted in Ohio with Aggravated Murder pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 2903.01(B)

Of course, a lot more facts are going to need to be known and analyzed before anyone should jump to the conclusion that capital murder charges are possible in this high-profile case.  But because Ohio's statutes expressly reference "unlawful termination of another's pregnancy," I would expect and certainly hope that local prosecutors are already thinking about bringing homicide charges as well as rape and kidnapping charges in this case.  Ohio's legislators, by having amended the state's Aggravated Murder provisions to expressly included purposely causing the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy, indicated an interest in the possibility that the "worst of the worst" sorts of "pregnancy terminators" should possibly face the death penalty.  Based on the facts so far known, I feel very comfortable asserting that the defendants in Cleveland are likely among the "worst of the worst" sorts of "pregnancy terminators."

May 8, 2013 at 12:24 PM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e2019101e45e8a970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Could and should the death penalty be on the table in the Cleveland kidnapping and sexual torture case?:

Comments

I would say no. Regardless of personal feelings, Kennedy v. Louisiana has already established the threshold for capital offenses. If the death penalty is applied here, then it will easily be contested on the basis of Kennedy.

That, of course, is my technical answer. My non-technical answer is not only do I want the death penalty applied, I want torture to occur as well, and I suspect most Americans feel the same revulsion. Unfortunately, this ain't gonna happen.

Posted by: Eric Knight | May 8, 2013 1:32:15 PM

I don't know if "most Americans" would want torture to occur though.

Kennedy v. Louisiana involved rape of a young child. How much more visceral can you get there? Justice Powell back in Coker noted the presence of horrible rapes that might warrant the death penalty in his view.

I don't think a person is a monster or anything for wanting a person who does these sorts of things executed, but don't know what value that will be. Will it get the women the lost years back? Will keeping the brothers locked up in a cage for the rest of their lives inhibit that?

As to the miscarriage provision, I don't know how at this stage that would even be provable beyond a reasonable doubt. Has there been any cases out there where the "homicide" involves a fetus where the state tried to obtain a death penalty sentence? I guess that might be a way around Kennedy.

Another question would be should their be a trial. Avoiding the need for the women to testify etc. would to me seem a good idea though would leave it to them and local prosecutions to decide. Finally, is this a 'major' case where the feds should come in?

Posted by: Joe | May 8, 2013 2:03:29 PM

1. Kennedy v. Louisiana was a prime example of judicial imperialism the day it was decided, and its folly is even more clearly in evidence today.

2. If I were an Ohio prosecutor, I would use any charge I could think of to get the death penalty. If Ohio Aggravated Murder statute will do it, fine. It might turn out that a more conventional murder charge is available though; I have heard that Mr. Castro was seen carrying out of the house a sack possibly containing a child or an infant. Obviously, that is pretty sketchy right now. Equally obviously, however, this is a man who observes no civilized limits on his behavior.

3. We don't need federal involvement because the main reason by far for federal involvement in the Boston Marathon case is to get a DP that the left wing Massachusetts legislature threw out. The Ohio legislature has better sense. (I would love for some Ohio left wing fruitcake to use today to introduce legislation abolishing the state's DP. Anybody think that's going to happen?).

4. Joe wonders what good executing this appalling creep would do, asking, "Will it get the women the lost years back?"

No, it won't. Neither will a life term. Neither will a ten year term. Neither will a $50 fine. So what?

The point, of course, is that the purpose of criminal punishment is not to bring about a restoration that is utterly impossible in any event. It is to impose just punishment. That can be achieved, but, in this case as in the Boston Marathon bombing, only by the death penalty.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 8, 2013 2:29:42 PM

However Mr. Otis,
Should the Castro brothers secure a makeover and become "kind of cute"--so says Grace Nieskes, speaking of the younger Boston Terrorist--we might expect progressive sympathisers to behave like Liz McD:

Posted by: Liz McD, 4/27-29/13, sentencing law & policy.com
Addressed by: Prov 17:15

I. Moral Relativism of the Highest Order
“I don't see Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as evil. But, I don't see the older brother as evil either.”
*“I think the death penalty is barbaric in a civilized society.”
“I see the younger Tsarnaev as completely misguided, lost, making choices that he has not really thought through... the younger brother was planning to dedicate his college career to smoking pot, getting laid and going to parties.”
_______________ _______________
II. Defence Mechanisms known as Minimalisation & Equivocation/Rationalisation
“There is a lot of horrific stuff going on in the world, including actions by our own government in executing the war on terror.
Drones don't just kill the bad guys.”
_______________ _______________
III. “End Justifies the Means” Immorality
“I would definitely use his age as part of his defense... Then, I would use the testimonials of his friends and former teachers and coaches, who all have said that he was the greatest guy and wouldn't hurt a fly.”
“It only takes one member of a sentencing jury to vote down the death penalty, right?”
_______________ _______________
IV. Defence Mechanisms known as Displacement / Deflection & Minimalisation
“He was highly susceptible to influence and kind of passive...he was persuaded to join this plot... his brother...I assume he [the brother] was domineering and dominant.”
“The younger Tsarnaev got involved only recently...So, I don't see him as a full partner in the planning. He wasn't a full partner in the execution either - at least the getaway part of it.”
His thinking may have been cloudy based on his heavy marijuana use. This guy was not a casual pot smoker. He likely was an addict, or in danger of becoming one.
_______________ _______________
V. Appeal to Europe &c.
“I think my rehabilitation idea makes sense. I think the countries that have maximum sentences for young offenders are on the right track too. With some countries, 21 is another cutoff age for reductions in sentences...why wouldn't they be permitted to re-enter society? other countries are willing to take this chance...Many European countries have maximum sentences for people Tsarnaev's age...”
_______________ _______________
VI. Disturbingly Displaced Affection & Gender Bias
“As for him going back to his dorm and trying to act like nothing happened, I seriously think he was trying to pretend it never happened...People who knew him who saw him at the gym said he looked "down" or "tired." So, he may have been feeling bad about what he did already.”
“Life without parole may be a terrible punishment for him...what kind of life will it be? Death penalty opponents, and I consider myself in that category, may breathe a sigh of relief...for this young man.”
*“I think the death penalty is barbaric in a civilized society. And life without parole offers nothing but hopelessness.”
“What happened to the goal of rehabilitating prisoners? That seems to have been thrown out the window, especially in this age of terrorism, where everyone and their brother will now be on the terrorist watch list.”
“Dzhokhar has a lot of sympathy among women, and might with other people as well... I can't see into Dzhokhar's heart, but the wrestling coach's statements were meaningful to me...Check out this article about maternal sympathy for Dzhokhar:..”
_______________ _______________
VII. Defence Mechanism known as Denial with Extreme Presumption
“Dzhokhar was not really a practicing Muslim. I'm not sure how much he was involved in the planning of this attack.”
“The wrestling coach's statements were very strong and very persuasive - at least to me...you have a case of a guy who was good and then went bad very suddenly. I think he could become good again. I believe in redemption... I think his victims would be okay with him being released and monitored.”

Posted by: Adamakis | May 8, 2013 3:01:45 PM

Adamakis --

I got a good laugh out of that one. I think this Ohio crew is going to have to go to the best plastic surgeon the world has ever seen to get to "kind of cute."

I've been missing our regular crew of defense lawyers today to tell us about the pressing mitigating circumstances for our Ohio friends. Maybe they're hiding out, for which I don't blame them one little bit.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 8, 2013 3:55:11 PM

Honestly, the whole incident has been a big black eye for the porn industry. When that Ramsey fellow said he knew something was wrong because of a little white girl in a black man's arms that simply crushed the fantasy contained in all those "cuckold" videos. And all those women on leashes: I wonder how many men will look at those porn videos and think "oh, that's hot" now. Seriously, the whole event is one porn cliche after another gone wrong.

So one defense they might have is "cultural corruption" created by watching too much porn. They where from PR, how were they to know this was not proper behavior. See...it's right there on xhamster.

/I'm trying Bill, I'm trying. IANADL.

Posted by: Daniel | May 8, 2013 4:12:07 PM

What if? This is a What if. But what if a brother or father of one of the victims stood up in court and shot one of the perps in the head? Would he then get convicted if he pleaded not guilty by reason of temporary insanity? Would a jury give him a pass?
What if? Another inmate in the jail were to rape one of the perps? Would he be found guilty of this rear end collision if he simply said that they asked for it?

Posted by: liberty1st | May 8, 2013 5:13:33 PM

Does everyone still want all three bothers executed?

Posted by: George | May 8, 2013 6:21:17 PM

The Supremacy runs into one victim of kidnapping and sex slavery a year. It is not at all rare. One 12 year old girl was taken back and forth to the Dominican Republican, and used as a sex puppet for a year. How one gets a 12 year old girl past customs is amazing to me. The mother went to the FBI, and was thrown out of the office.

I have no doubt, though no facts to show yet, that 123D would have prevented this tragedy. This is likely even if the agents of the dumbass prosecutor, the dumbass police visited the home several times without finding any untoward events. The ladies should be able to sue the prosecutor for negligent policing.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 8, 2013 7:39:14 PM

I'll take up the mantle for the defense.

First, I don't believe the DP should be imposed. Not only would it be verboten under Kennedy, but my personal belief is that the death penalty should never be imposed because killing isn't made right because twelve people agree so-and-so should die. My personal belief is that killing is always wrong, and killing at the government's behest should be treated with an extra dose of skepticism.

That doesn't mean that I find their crimes somehow less offensive than anyone else does. It's completely fucking awful. Amanda Berry's mother died in 2004 of heart failure, two years after she went on Montel Williams and was told by charlatan-extraordinaire Sylvia Browne that Amanda was dead.

These three men are likely responsible for unfathomable suffering, and they should be punished. I certainly wouldn't think sentences of LWOP all around would be out of line for something like this. At a minimum, just on fairness grounds, they should be incarcerated for at least as long as they imprisoned these women.

But hey, if I had a law license in Ohio, I'd be more than happy to argue that they ought to be spared the death penalty (if that were even an option). They aren't monsters. Not ghouls. Not animals. They're human beings. We like to absolve our collective selves of sin when confronted with cases like this -- we (collectively) like to believe the fantasy that there is some huge gulf between the citizen and the criminal. The etiology of monster stories owes in part to that psychological phenomenon.

But the far scarier proposition is that people are responsible. These folks passed as regular folk for years, while committing monstrous deeds. I think it's pretty well firmly established, though, that throughout the course of human history, monstrous deeds are not aberrations of human behavior.

That is not to excuse them, or their acts. Only that no one deserves to be killed, not even these brothers. They undoubtedly have facts in mitigation to present, a side of the story to tell. They, too, have mothers, friends, people who care about them. Simply put, they too, are human.

That they should be punished is of no question, but my proposition is that the punishment can and should be accomplished without sacrificing our humanity.

Posted by: Guy | May 8, 2013 8:18:58 PM

Since there were deaths involved, if there were deaths involving post-birth humans (babies), then I amend my original post. I was under the impression, at the time, that there were no murder victims. AS such, the death penalty indeed comes into play, and in this case, it would be likely that such a penalty should be imposed.

Having said that, I would imagine there is no scenario that would ever allow any freedom for all three suspects even without murder. The only consequence of removing the death penalty option would be to protect the victims from testifying in court. If the victims are capable of testifying, both through their willingness and their fortitude, I see no reason why the prosecutor(s) should even approach a deal of any sort that involves anything less than the death penalty.

(Another note: I referred to "torture" in my earlier post. I was simply stating my emotional desire, not my rational nor legal desire, that most Americans felt, even if "torture" was nothing more than spitting in the suspects' faces).

Posted by: Eric Knight | May 8, 2013 8:27:40 PM

Wow! Didn't realize my comments about Tsarnaev case would be so closely analyzed!

Can't you just not believe in the death penalty in any case? Guys makes some good points. I agree with him in particular that many people try to make these criminals into non-humans - like that somehow explains why they would do such awful things. I'm not aware of there actually being a creature that is not human but has all of the characteristics of one. What species is that?

Posted by: Liz McD | May 8, 2013 8:43:38 PM

Love Guy's comments here.

Posted by: Liz McD | May 8, 2013 9:03:12 PM

Guy: Sincerity check. "...But hey, if I had a law license in Ohio, I'd be more than happy to argue that they ought to be spared the death penalty (if that were even an option). They aren't monsters. Not ghouls. Not animals. They're human beings.

As a licensed laweyr, who is very persuasive and saved their lives in court, are you willing to accept tort liability for the highly foreseeable damages done to future victims in prison by your clients, the human beings.

As you know, highly pleasurable, sexualized habits are nearly impossible to stop. So there will be many victims in the future, as foreseeable as the orbits of the planets.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 8, 2013 9:38:45 PM

The reason the disgusting criminals should be considered human beings and not one word from you about their victims, who are not even human to you? The criminals generate government make work, dependent, blood sucking, Democrat Party rent. The victims generate nothing and may rot.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 8, 2013 10:11:45 PM

Fetus deaths aside, isn't there a very strong argument against the death penalty in order to deter killing the victims? The presence of the death penalty only upon killing provides a great red line to deter kidnappers/rapists/toruturers from killing their victims.

Posted by: Poirot | May 8, 2013 10:46:51 PM

@Supremacy:

I think you're wrong on the facts. People can change. Regardless, even if I staked out my argument successfully, I don't think they're going to be getting anything shy of LWOP. I don't think there's going to be much of a point in arguing actual innocence, just guessing.

It seems like the criminal justice system you're chomping at the bit for is one where we lock up anyone who might possibly be a threat. Before long, we'll have more people in jail than on the streets. Protecting ourselves right into oblivion. I'd say we're off to a good start.

But would I be willing to accept tort liability? Not really, but thankfully my point isn't to argue that they will change and never ever commit another crime ever again. That's also not the issue. We're famously bad at risk prediction.

But, again, my point has nothing to do with whether or not they would commit another offense given the opportunity. Maybe, maybe not -- I've no idea. My only point is that we shouldn't kill them, and that they are human beings. We don't get to excise them from the human race because they've committed monstrous deeds to sate our fantastical view of what it means to be a person. As I said, human history is chock full of all manner of awfulness (and beauty as well). I think it's a herculean act of solipsism to assert that people aren't capable of awful things.

As to your other point -- I did actually have words for the victims. I don't think sympathy is an either / or proposition. I don't think having sympathy for either side means you must then hate the other. I think sympathy and compassion are for everyone, should be for everyone. I also think you can punish without hatred, without venom, and (as I said) without sacrificing our humanity for the sake of naked vengeance.

Posted by: Guy | May 8, 2013 11:25:32 PM

Guy --

"My personal belief is that killing is always wrong..."

That I doubt. Almost no sane person believes killing is "always" wrong. Killing to liberate the concentration camps was, for example, heroic. It depends on what the stakes are.

"But hey, if I had a law license in Ohio, I'd be more than happy to argue that they ought to be spared the death penalty (if that were even an option). They aren't monsters. Not ghouls. Not animals."

They aren't going to be charged with being monsters, ghouls or animals, so rest easy.

"They're human beings."

Which is precisely why they can be held responsible in a way that monsters, ghouls and animals can't.

"We like to absolve our collective selves of sin when confronted with cases like this..."

With all respect, this is just pop psychology. That I am sinful is not affected by this case in any way whatever, and I don't pretend otherwise.

"...we (collectively) like to believe the fantasy that there is some huge gulf between the citizen and the criminal."

I'm sure I'm capable of some crimes, but I am not capable of this and neither are you. You and I (and the gigantic majority of people) have a conscience switch that says, "No, this is something I simply cannot do," whereupon we stand down. This guy had no such switch, which does indeed create a huge gulf between him and the rest of us. The kidnapper/rapist had a lack of empathy that is, fortunately, extremely unusual in the human race. He is NOT just like the rest of us.

"The etiology of monster stories owes in part to that psychological phenomenon."

This is what I mean by "pop psychology." The etiology of monster stories owes in part to the FEAR, not the REALITY, of being like this guy. We are (at some point in our lives) afraid of monsters in the dark, too, but in fact they don't exist.

"I think it's pretty well firmly established, though, that throughout the course of human history, monstrous deeds are not aberrations of human behavior."

If that were true, it would be all the more reason to get serious in setting our face against such evil, but it's not true. How many cases like this have you even heard of in the last 100 years in this country? This is an "aberration" by any non-fantasy definition of that word.

"They undoubtedly have facts in mitigation to present, a side of the story to tell."

And "their side of the story" would be.....what? That one of the girls stuck her tongue out at him, and therefore deserved to be chained and terrorized in the basement as a rape slave for ten years? Is "their side of the story" similar to a bar room fight, where the defendant says, "He threw the first punch!"

"...my proposition is that the punishment can and should be accomplished without sacrificing our humanity."

Their is nothing wrong with "our humanity" any more than there was with Abraham Lincoln's humanity when he used the death penalty. This is a classic example of trying to generalize and divert attention from the problem, which is not us or our humanity.

The problem is this loathsome man and his doing for ten years what no person with a conscience would do for ten seconds.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 9, 2013 12:15:18 AM

Guy: No venom. I even oppose retribution as an Iraqi tribesman concept from the authors of the Bible, ulawful in this secular nation.

It is just business with me. Start the count at the start of adulthood, age 14. 123D. All violent repeat offenders are gone before age 18, before the start of the peak of their criminal careers, around 10,000 a year. No expense of prison. There would be almost no prison. All terms should be short. There would be no crime, because the criminals would be gone.

On the other side of the ledger, are the 17,000 extra-judicial executions, concentrated among dark skinned human beings. You care nothing for them because you are a government dependent worker, and victims do not generate worthless government make work jobs. Violent predators do and only they get your protection.

All abolitionists must include a disclaimer stating their jobs. They are all hypocrites arguing their economic self interest. Their arguments defend the rent.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 9, 2013 7:51:51 AM

@Bill:

That I doubt. Almost no sane person believes killing is "always" wrong. Killing to liberate the concentration camps was, for example, heroic. It depends on what the stakes are.

It's my belief that killing is always wrong. Killing can be justified, and that justification may then excuse the actor from blameworthiness, but it does nothing to change the nature of the underlying act in my view. In other words, you only ever have to justify the things that are wrong to begin with.

With all respect, this is just pop psychology. That I am sinful is not affected by this case in any way whatever, and I don't pretend otherwise.

I'm not saying that you, specifically, do. But my impression is that of course we like to pretend there's some wide division between us and them. It's illustrated in my story about me and my former prof, and that of the friends I made in law school. You said so yourself -- it's hard to turn your back on a person. We, collectively, like to think that the criminals are "them" and that "we" are substantively different. We're not. But the dehumaniziation makes it easier to support inhumane policies and actions against the people who get swept up under the label criminal. It's like the GIs in any war -- a lot harder to kill the "enemy" if you think of him as a person, with a family, hopes, dreams, fears, etc. A lot easier if you dehumanize him, turn him into an animal, etc. My only point is that our society seems to do the same thing with anyone that has contact with the justice system.

That's not to say that there shouldn't be punishment, nor that it shouldn't be harsh when warranted. But that it can be done without forgetting our shared humanity, for all its ugliness and beauty.

If that were true, it would be all the more reason to get serious in setting our face against such evil, but it's not true. How many cases like this have you even heard of in the last 100 years in this country? This is an "aberration" by any non-fantasy definition of that word.

I guess that depends on how one defines "serious." I take it you define it in terms of severity, but I see it differently. I take the longer view of human history. Things seem to be getting better, even as our punishments become less and less "serious." Ours is a story drenched in blood. That most of the rest of the developed world has abolished the death penalty is a relatively modern phenomenon, what with the ultimate punishment being the norm for most crimes throughout civilization.

Rape, murder, torture, enslavement, genocide, sexual slavery, on and on. These aren't new notes for us. We celebrate Columbus Day, even as he visited all manner of barbarity on indigenous peoples. But that we seem to have fewer and fewer grotesque examples like the one in Ohio provides, even as our punishments, comparatively, become less and less severe on the long view of history, would seem to undermine the proposition that we ought become more "serious."

And "their side of the story" would be.....what? That one of the girls stuck her tongue out at him, and therefore deserved to be chained and terrorized in the basement as a rape slave for ten years? Is "their side of the story" similar to a bar room fight, where the defendant says, "He threw the first punch!"

I've no idea. I'd be most surprised if you've telegraphed it accurately.

Their is nothing wrong with "our humanity" any more than there was with Abraham Lincoln's humanity when he used the death penalty. This is a classic example of trying to generalize and divert attention from the problem, which is not us or our humanity.

The problem is this loathsome man and his doing for ten years what no person with a conscience would do for ten seconds.

"He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

Another common thread throughout human history is that all manner of savagery comes wrapped in righteousness. God wills it. Etc. My point is that I would always be happy to speak against turning justice into just another tool for losing even more of the things that make us human.

Posted by: Guy | May 9, 2013 11:08:29 AM

Reference to the brothers was a bit premature. Their role given media reports at least is far from clear.

Posted by: Joe | May 9, 2013 1:52:47 PM

Guy --

Just a very brief response, not intended to be comprehensive:

"He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

You and I just do not agree on this "monster" stuff. Not once in my career in the USAO did I refer to a defendant as a "monster," and I don't do it here either. Nor am I a monster, and I'm not on the road to becoming one.

Castro is a human being. It is precisely that fact that makes it legitimate to hold him responsible for his behavior, just as I am properly held responsible for mine. Our humanity endows us with a conscience and the obligations that go along with having one.

He failed those obligations in a way that staggers the imagination. Huge numbers of people of good faith in this country approve of the death penalty, and the opposition to it simply cannot be so sure of itself as to say that its use drags us closer to monsterdom.

Some in Europe say that LWOP is also monstrous, or the abyss, or what have you. Fine. They are entitled to their wrong opinion, which does not bind this country in any way whatever.

Lastly, I doubt it's useful to discuss this topic with metaphors like "looking into the abyss." Metaphors are too imprecise and too capable of solipsistic coloration to move the analytical ball.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 9, 2013 5:38:22 PM

Bill,

I don't mean to accuse or insinuate that you called him or others monsters. The quote is from Nietzsche, and only meant as a restatement of the point that I'm trying to make. I'm certainly not trying to accuse you of anything one way or the other.

Posted by: Guy | May 9, 2013 7:55:08 PM

Guy --

I know you were not accusing me; no problem there. My point is different: That Castro is a human being no matter what he is called, and, as a human being, is responsible for having at least a modicum of empathy for his fellow creatures. If he fails, he should pay the price. If he fails maximally, as he did (the more you hear about this, the more nightmarish it gets), he should pay the maximum price.

This guy makes the robber who cooly blows the clerk's head off at the 7-11 look good by comparison. The prosecution may not get the DP or be able to make it stick, but very few will blame them for trying.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 9, 2013 10:16:22 PM

Love Guy's comments here.
: : Posted by: Liz McD

So do Ariel, Onil, & Pedro Castro.

"They undoubtedly have facts in mitigation to present, a side of the story to tell. They, too, have mothers, friends,
people who care about them." "I'll take up the mantle for the defense."--Guy Noir

{making Lynne Stewart proud, in her cell at FMC Carswell}

Posted by: Adamakis | May 10, 2013 12:18:52 PM

Three thoughts --

1) I would be fine with it if he got the death penalty for the kidnappings. Though I realize that's not how our laws work.
2) I find it a little strange that people are talking about giving him the DP for the murders, but it seems that what really sickens them is the kidnappings. Don't get me wrong, the kidnappings sicken me, too. But if that is why people think he should get the DP, then maybe the most horrific kidnappings should be DP-eligible, in and of themselves?
3) I find it sad that the DP is so hard to actually carry out. It seems like a case like this, where there is really no doubt about the defendant's guilt, and really no chance of any kind of excuse, the most sensible thing would be to carry out the DP quickly. But with the state of our DP law, there is no chance of that.

Posted by: William Jockusch | May 13, 2013 2:15:12 PM

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