Nearly every morning I have a rather lengthy 1/2 hr- 1 hr beginning of day event (whatever time that happens to be) in which I introduce the world to myself. This usually involves Facebook, My blog, couple of dating sites, etc… You get the routine. I seldom read news articles then. I will read some throughout the day if it hits my fancy. The Olympics is normally the exception as I try to keep up a bit through the clips and such.
Today, I got a very late start. As my computer was coming up, it (Windows 8.1) gives me that header page summarizing things. I seldom pay much attention, but this time a news title stuck in my head and got my attention. I have lost/forgotten the exact title, but it dealt with a court in Texas halting the execution of a man who did not commit a murder. The article is below. Read as much or little as you wish:
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday halted an execution planned for next week of a man convicted as an accomplice to a murder he did not commit in a case that raised questions about how the state applies the death penalty.
Jeffery Wood, 43, was scheduled to be executed on Aug. 24 by lethal injection. He was convicted of taking part in a 1996 convenience store robbery during which clerk Kriss Keeran was fatally shot.
In its decision, the appeals court asked a lower court to review his sentence and claims from Wood’s lawyer that it was obtained in violation of due process because it was based on false testimony and false scientific evidence.
Wood’s lawyer questioned a witness for the prosecution, forensic psychiatrist Dr. James Grigson, who told a court in the 1990s Wood would commit future acts of violence and was a threat to society.
Grigson, nicknamed “Dr. Death” for his willingness to testify against people facing the death penalty, was expelled from the Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians and the American Psychiatric Association for ethical violations: making diagnoses of capital murder defendants without first examining them.
“The court did the right thing by staying Mr. Wood’s execution and authorizing his claims related to Dr. Grigson’s false testimony during the sentencing phase to be considered on the merits,” said Jared Tyler, Wood’s lawyer.
Wood was unarmed in a vehicle outside the store when it was robbed. Prosecutors have said Wood knew the clerk might be shot. Wood’s lawyers said he was unaware that a robbery was underway.
Wood’s roommate at the time, Daniel Reneau, was convicted of pulling the trigger and executed on June 13, 2002.
“I am not aware of a case where a person has been executed with so minimal culpability and with such little participation in the event,” Tyler said in an interview.
Under Texas’ “Law of Parties,” a person can be charged with capital murder even if the offense is committed by someone else.
After he heard a shot, Wood entered the store to help Reneau steal a cash box, safe and security video system.
Ten people have been executed as accessories to felony murder since the United States reinstated the death penalty in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which monitors capital punishment.
Five have been in Texas, which has executed more people than any state since the death penalty was reinstated. (Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by David Gregorio)
Here’s the thing: I do not see how you can execute someone who really did not have a part in the murder of someone. I suppose I understand if someone gave the order or forced a person to kill someone else, but that didn’t happen here.
Now, I am, basically, against the death penalty. I am fine with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. People get mad at me by telling me how much money we spend imprisoning someone for life. Or, they say, what if it was one of your children, your sister, or your Mom who was murdered?
I have thought this one through. I don’t care about the money. I mean, we have a government owing over 17 trillion dollars and could cut that by stopping a lot of programs or changing the ways they do business. They don’t and, most likely, won’t. So even if it’s 20 billion a year or even more, it’s a drop that shouldn’t consider being stopped until they change all the other crap they are doing.
Second, I consider life sacred. No, I don’t worry much about bugs or even plants (perhaps, I should – some of them seem nicer than a lot of people I know), but people are different. People scream to stop all the killing in Africa or in wars in other countries; they scream about “wrongful” killing of animals, wild/tame in the world; they scream about abortions being legal at all. These are all screamed about, but the killing of someone who killed someone else kinda goes by the wayside. It’s an opinion. My hope is that, if my close family member was murdered and they caught the person red-handed, that I would be able to ask the court to not impose the death penalty, but go for life w/o parole. Killing them wouldn’t bring back the person I love, and it wouldn’t make me feel “better”. I don’t consider avenged as necessarily better.
I know, all just my opinion. And why should you listen to my opinion? Well, ask this: if you drove your friend to a store to pick up bread and he/she robbed the store and killed someone and YOU were arrested (in Texas) and convicted and sentenced to execution, wouldn’t you be glad if that wasn’t a possibility? I mean life in prison is murder (pun intended), but still you might get out someday if the law changes. You can’t take back an execution. Just a thought.
How do you feel about all of it? Let me have it. I have broad shoulders and a lot of my close friends and family would, most likely, shake their heads at me here and call me “nuts”.