Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bounty from the blogosphere

A morning tour around the blogosphere yielded several interesting finds:

Improve the Death Penalty?
Doc Berman asks: Assuming it won't be abolished, how can the death penalty be improved? Go offer your thoughts, if you have any on the subject. In a similar vein, CrimProf Blog points to an item from the Texas Lawyer declaring Texas' death sentences have dropped 65% in the last years. Any guesses as to why, or given the small numbers is that a statistical blip?

Who is receiving these messages?
Berman also poses the question (in response to a Kentucky court ruling), "What's wrong with asking a jury to send a message?," and Eugene Volokh added his thoughts. I agreed with this comment on Berman's blog from Corey Yung: "the chief problem raised by "sending a message"-type arguments by a prosecutor is that those arguments can remove individualization from the sentencing process. Rather than saying the offender should be sentenced for the particulars of his or her crime, the prosecutor is making the defendant accountable for a larger population of potential criminals." Texas prosecutors, btw, do that ALL the time.

Snitches Lie, People Die.
Radley Balko over at The Agitator is covering another egregious snitching story: This time officers in Atlanta convinced an informant to falsely declare he'd bought drugs from the home of an 88-year old woman, who was killed in the SWAT raid on her residence. Now the informant says police told him to lie. (Kudos to Balko, btw, on tracking this so closely.)

Capital Blogging.
Rep. Aaron Peña looks at alternatives to prison construction in Texas, pointing to this SA Express News article citing bipartisan opposition to more prison building. Also, reacting to this Dallas News clip, Peña laments the death of a young soldier from Reynosa whose funeral he attended last year, recalling the grieving family weeping over the young man's casket. Peña asks, "Would those so quick to take offense at the mere presence of immigrants be as quick to similarly send their child to the killing fields of Iraq?"

The Soccer Mom Conundrum.
Over at The Wretched of the Earth we hear details of a possibly illegal search by Dallas police.

That's a Long List.
Via Burnt Orange Report, Smarty Pants suggests What's the matter with Texas Democrats?

Sick in Jail.
Via the Corrections Community blog I found this new Bureau of Justice Statistics report on medical problems of jail inmates. One in three jail inmates reports a current medical problem. Even more striking: one in eight reported having been injured since entering the jail. About half of women in jail have medical problems, says the report, compared to about a third of men.

We're #1! ... Oh Crap, That's Bad.
Also from the Corrections Community blog, see this fact sheet from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency analyzing global incarceration rates. Bottom line: "The US has less than 5% of the world's population but over 23% of the world's incarcerated people." The land of the free, baby ... those statistics are just ridiculous. And as I've mentioned in the past, Texas' incarceration stats are so egregious they actually skew the rest of the nation's.


Andria said...

Just a thought on the decrease in death penalty sentences...Senate Bill 60 went into effect 9/1/05 which gives the option for a true life without parole sentence in capital cases.

Anonymous said...

Scott - in my experience, our Texas prosecutors use the "sending a message" argument not just all the time, but every single time.