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February 4, 2007

A high-profile example of the importance of post-sentencing behavior

Though not an issue often explored in caselaw (except sometimes at resentencings), how a defendant acts after sentencing can often have a significant impact on his eventual fate.  This New York Times article provides a high-profile case-in-point:

It was a startling gesture: The convicted killer of two detectives, sentenced to die by jurors who had found him remorseless, stuck out his tongue. In that fleeting moment the condemned man, Ronell Wilson, 24, may have set a marker on his case for years to come, complicating appeals for a new trial or clemency.

Using this example, perhaps I should start work on a book entitled "All You Really Need to Know (About Capital Punishment) You Learned in Kindergarten."  Chapter 2 would be "Don't stick out your tongue."  (Chapter 1, of course, would be "You get in big trouble when you hurt people.")

February 4, 2007 at 07:34 AM | Permalink


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The article was risible - virtual anti-death penalty agit-prop. You really have to love the "aw shucks, boys WILL be boys" subtext coupled with the inset photograph of the killer as a toddler. Pure objectivity. Also brilliant was the report's stunningly original insight that a killer's callousness exemplified by grotesque post or pre-incident behavior can often have a bearing on the punishment meted out. The NYT outdid itself on this one.

Posted by: Ben | Feb 4, 2007 6:20:06 PM

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