Daily Archives: September 3, 2011

Rick Perry’s Execution Record Includes The Deaths Of Juveniles And The Mentally Disabled

I believe that Gov. Rick Perry has peaked in the polls too soon.   I think that  Mitt Romney will eventually be the front-runner for the GOP nomination a year from now.  Having said that, here’s one of the reasons why…

Think Progress

The amount of executions held in Texas during Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) 11 years in office has come under scrutiny in the early stages of his presidential campaign, most notably for the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was convicted of murdering his three daughters and put to death despite evidence showing that he was likely innocent of the crimes. But even as the Willingham case receives the most notice, many of Perry’s decisions regarding execution have begun to garner attention.

Texas has held 234 executions on Perry’s watch, more than the next two states combined have executed since the death penalty was restored 35 years ago. While Perry can only grant clemency from death sentences if it is recommended by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, he has rarely used that power. According to the Texas Tribune, Perry has commutedonly 31 death sentences, and 28 of those resulted from a 2005 Supreme Court case outlawing the execution of juveniles. Meanwhile, he has allowed a host of controversial executions to go forward, the Tribune reported today:

JUVENILES: According to the Tribune, three people who were juveniles at the time of their crime were executed between 2000, when Perry took office, and 2005, when the Supreme Court banned the execution of juveniles. Before Napoleon Beazley, who committed a murder at 17, was executed, 18 state legislators wrote Perry asking him to grant clemency, and the trial judge who eventually had to sign his execution order asked Perry to commute the sentence to life in prison. Perry’s response: “To delay his punishment is to delay justice.”

MENTALLY DISABLED: Ten executions during Perry’s tenure have involved serious questions about the prisoner’s mental health and stability. One was Kelsey Patterson, who was judged as mentally fit by a doctor known as “Dr. Death” because he rarely found patients mentally unfit for trial. During his trial, Patterson testified about having devices planted in his head by the military, and once in prison, he sent incoherent letters to courts. The Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended to Perry that he grant clemency, but Perry rejected the recommendation. Another was James Clark, whose final statement was, “Howdy.” Two Texas prisoners with mental health concerns have been executedin 2011.

INADEQUATE COUNSEL: Five men executed since 2000 have had major questions about the adequacy of their legal counsel, including Leonard Uresti Rojas. The appellate attorney appointed to Rojas was on probation with the state bar, suffered from mental illness and missed multiple deadlines to file appeals on Rojas’ behalf. New attorneys took Rojas’ case before the Court of Appeals asked Perry to stay the execution but were denied. After the execution, an appeals court judge wrote a dissenting opinion against the court, saying Rojas’ attorney had “neglected his duties.”

Continue reading here… 

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Democracy Is Un-American

 

The Supreme Court of the United States has given corporations unprecedented power to literally buy elections. The powerful have no use for the poor voting in any election.  Matthew Vadum is the only one actually saying that the poor should not be allowed to vote, but the rich and powerful (politicians included) have been implementing ways to prevent the poor from voting for decades…

Firedoglake

Via Rick Hasen, right wing “VOTER FRAUD ACORN OMG” nut Matthew Vadum explains why “Registering the Poor to Vote is Un-American”:

Why are left-wing activist groups so keen on registering the poor to vote?

Because they know the poor can be counted on to vote themselves more benefits by electing redistributionist politicians.  Welfare recipients are particularly open to demagoguery and bribery.

Registering them to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals.  It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country — which is precisely why Barack Obama zealously supports registering welfare recipients to vote.

So let me see if I have this right: Helping millions of poor people to vote for someone they hope might occasionally represent their interests is “antisocial and un-American,” but a tiny minority of ridiculously wealthy people and corporations spending gobs of money to put the government securely in their pocket is “free speech”?

Of course, we won’t mention that most of the poor are “nonproductive” because none of the politicians who slid into office on avalanches of corporate money give a damn about creating jobs.  Or that obscene wealth does not necessarily equate to productivity.  Or that “productivity” is not actually a requirement for voting eligibility in the first place.

Still, I’ll give Vadum credit for coming out and saying that he just doesn’t want poor people to vote.  Usually the right pretends that they’re terribly concerned about the imaginary threat of voter fraud, in much the same way that they’re terribly concerned about the sanctity of marriage, the lives of unborn babies, the threat of terrorism, and the morale of our troops.

The only thing un-American about poor people voting is that it doesn’t give them a voice, even when their candidates win.

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Noam Chomsky – “USA has extreme contempt for democracy.” – Democratic Underground

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