Patterico's Pontifications

10/5/2007

Beldar Further Probes the Richard Execution

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 4:51 pm



This post is a great example of the best of the blogosphere and Big Media both. Beldar seeks more information on the execution of Michael Richard from a Big Media reporter — and the Big Media reporter responds with more information, and without even a trace of arrogance.

Beldar promises more information over this long holiday weekend — specifically including an interview with one of Richard’s lawyers.

This is why I love the blogosphere. And it’s yet another reason to be thrilled that Beldar is blogging again.

P.S. Beldar says:

I didn’t previously know that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in fact routinely makes detailed preparations in anticipation of last-minute applications in connection with all executions (although I’m not terribly surprised to learn that).

I am not at all surprised to learn that, in light of a recent experience I had. Specifically, I called San Quentin to obtain an execution date for a death row inmate. (He’s almost nowhere near being executed; the details are part of a long and interesting story that I might tell over a beer, but won’t discuss on a blog.) In doing so, I learned that execution dates in California are set on Tuesdays, on a date when both the Governor and the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court will be present in the state.

Executions are serious business, and the system anticipates and gears up for possible last-minute stays. Why this didn’t work out in Texas is a very interesting story, and I look forward to learning more about it from Beldar.

16 Responses to “Beldar Further Probes the Richard Execution”

  1. Specifically, I called San Quentin to obtain an execution date for a death row inmate.

    I would call the trial court. Don’t they have to set them? Actually, you could probably find it fastest on PTO.

    dave (388c31)

  2. No, I wasn’t calling to *learn* the date. I was calling to *obtain* one — to get one set, so that I could draw up a death warrant.

    Like I say, long story.

    Patterico (aa04da)

  3. Oh, I get it now.

    dave (388c31)

  4. For those of us who are interested in more than a few paragraphs on topics like this, it’s deeply gratifying to have bloggers like Beldar and Patterico who take the time to get the facts, think seriously about them, and share their insights.

    DRJ (d0ada6)

  5. You guys are seriously making me blush. I dunno how you can think I’m so smart, when my sixteen year old daughter can tell you I’m obviously not.

    Beldar (369293)

  6. I had the same misconception as dave, Patterico. You might want to re-word the post.

    Anyway, if you asked for someone to be put to death, he must have been a total bastard. No alphies on that jury.

    Daryl Herbert (4ecd4c)

  7. I dunno how you can think I’m so smart, when my sixteen year old daughter can tell you I’m obviously not.

    Don’t worry, Beldar. You’ll get smarter as she gets older.

    Pablo (99243e)

  8. Executions should be televised during prime time.

    David Ehrenstein (7f3593)

  9. One of my favorite passages from the Marat/Sade by Peter Weiss —

    Sade: Let me remind you of the execution of Damiens after his unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Louis the Fifteenth (now deceased). Remember how Damiens died? How gentle the guillotine is compared with his torture. It lasted four hours while the crowd goggled and Casanova at an upper window felt under the skirts of the ladies watching. His chest, arms, thighs and calves were slit open, molten lead was poured into each slit, boiling oil they poured over him, burning tar, wax, sulphur. They burnt off his hands, tied ropes to his arms and legs, harnessed four horses to him and geed them up. They pulled at him for an hour but they’d never done it before and he wouldn’t come apart until they sawed through his shoulders and hips. So he lost the first arm and then the second and he watched what they did to him and then turned to us and shouted so everyone could understand. And when they tore off the first leg and then the second leg he still lived though his voice was getting weak and at the end he hung there a bloody torso with a nodding head just groaning and staring at the crucifix which the father confessor was holding up to him.

    David Ehrenstein (7f3593)

  10. I can’t understand why you are giving this Richards guy more exposure. In the future, could you call him ‘death-row guy’ or ‘murderous scumbag’ instead of using his given name?

    It’s clear you have a beef with how TX killed him for his muderous scumbaggery, but couldn’t you keep his name out of your complaint? Our intent was not just to end his life, but to purge his name from the world for his heinous crime. You are making that difficult.

    Kevin (4890ef)

  11. It’s clear you have a beef with how TX killed him for his muderous scumbaggery

    Pay attention to who writes the posts.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  12. Kevin,

    It’s because I support the death penalty that I’m upset with the Richard case. If the capital punishment system is perceived to be arbitrary or unreasonably unfair, the greater the likelihood that it will be eliminated.

    DRJ (d0ada6)

  13. the egyptian notion of “ka” embraces fate as well as life force; it was this man’s ka to be executed for a crime which so obviously and reasonably disturbed the judge and jury. the court closed at five, the lawyer got there at five twenty and the door was locked, so the ground couldn’t be presented to the state court and the u.s. supreme court consequently failed to adjudicate it. this is merely part and parcel of what i call the cosmic jest. bad shit happens for absolutely no reason at all. raping and murdering people is just asking for trouble.

    assistant devil's advocate (ed804d)

  14. It never ceases to amaze me how squeamish people are about the death penalty and the fetishism about these murderers’ so-called rights.

    I posted previously about being a warden/governor and not making these last-minute appeals easier. I simply wouldn’t. There is no law that says that a warden has to answer the phone and certainly no law that says that the state has to make it easier for these abusive last-minute appeals to succeed. I would insist on correct service of process etc. Any litigant has the right to expect that, and judges, including Supreme Court Justices should get used to that fact of life. The other thing that I would not do is to give courts the courtesy that Texas does. Texas will not execute a prisoner if a last-minute stay application has been filed. Thus, with no stay in place, Texas will wait. I wouldn’t. No stay means that the execution will take place. TFB.

    In any event, there is no right to have a last minute appeal heard and certainly no right for a litigant (and I might add a litigant with the smallest possible claim to equity than a convicted capital murderer) to have courts make accommodations for their last-minute appeals. Why is there so much hand-wringing over this obvious proposition?

    Here are some quotes from the Supreme Court’s unanimous opinion in Hill v. McDonough:

    1) “Both the State and the victims of crime have an important interest in the timely enforcement of a [death] sentence.”

    2) “. . . a stay of execution is an equitable remedy. It is not available as a matter of right, and equity must be sensitive to the State’s strong interest in enforcing its criminal judgments without undue unterference from the federal courts.”

    3) “A court considering a stay must also apply a strong equitable presumption against the grant of a stay where a claim could have been brought at such a time as to allow consideration of the merits without requiring entry of a stay.” (internal quotation marks and citations omitted)

    4) “The federal courts can and should protect States from dilatory or speculative suits . . . .”

    The point is, of course, that the states have rights too. And so do the victims. These tactics (i.e., filing for a last-minute stay) are completely reprehensible. Richard’s lawyers knew full well about lethal injection litigation around the country. Yet they chose not to file a suit challenging LI. The law clearly required them to do so on the pain of forfeiture of the right to a stay. They did not.

    And now everyone is getting worked up about Richard’s execution? Talk about silliness. And furthermore, let’s not forget the victims here. The Supreme Court has said, unanimously, that the victims are to be taken into consideration here. So why then, is a warden or a governor or attorney general required to make it easier for some court to stay the execution? They should follow the law, but that’s it–there is no reason to do more. The only reason to go above the law is simply optics and the ability to combat arguments that basically amount to “That’s not cricket.” Well, guess what, we’re not required to exercise sportsmanship with convicted murderers–all we are required to do is to follow the law. And the law, as far as I know, doesn’t require the government to worry about making it easier to get stays in place.

    Perhaps people should think more about the appalling cruelty this last-minute stay business inflicts on victims’ families.

    Law (62ca0c)

  15. Capital punshment is sure after all ROBERT ALTON HARRIS and TED BUNDY WILL NEVER MURDER ANYONE AGAIN

    krazy kagu (f674df)


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