News that Gets My Goat
-The Chronicle’s lead editorial today is about a case in State District Court challenging the Texas death penalty on the grounds that the “slipshod and inequitable imposition of it in Texas violates Eight Amendment protections" against cruel and unusual punishment. The piece notes that since 1976 Texas has executed 464 people, while eleven inmates sentenced to death have been exonerated and freed. That’s over 2%. Would you support capital punishment knowing that the courts were right 98% of the time? That would mean that Texas has executed at least twelve innocent people in recent decades.
-The Chronicle today has an op-ed piece from Houston attorney Patrick F. McCann titled ‘Who profits from Arizona type law?’ McCann says that Arizona State Senator Russel Pearse, sponsor of SB 1070, his top aides, and most of the bill’s co-sponsors, took money from the American Legislative Exchange Council, PAC for Corrections Corp. of America, the private prison contractor who actually wrote the bill. This tells me that the Texas Legislature, who can’t resist anybody wearing Gucci shoes and brandishing a checkbook, will soon pass a similar measure.
-University of Texas law professor Steve Bickerstaff, author of “Lines in the Sand: Congressional Redistricting in Texas and the Downfall of Tom DeLay”, writes about reactions to DeLay’s conviction for conspiracy and money laundering. He makes an interesting comparison:
“I would compare TRMPAC's scheme to a similar situation that sometimes occurs closer to home. Assume that you know that a neighbor cannot legally contribute to a specific candidate (e.g. because your neighbor has already given the maximum allowed by law), would you agree to contribute to the candidate in return for the gift to you of an equivalent sum from your neighbor. I certainly hope not. It would take a fool as an attorney to advise you or your neighbor that such a scheme is legal.”