There’s a storm brewing in Texas, it appears, over a recent ruling by a state district court judge in Houston on a murder trial.
Justice Kevin Fine, a Democrat, made a pre-trial ruling in Texas court that the death penalty was unconstitutional under Texas law.
Although his position appears to be not in accordance with the wording of the Constitution itself (U.S., that is, which would take precedence in all death penalty cases), but for moral reasons stating that it was logical to assume that there had been innocent people put to death in the past, and that he didn’t think this was society’s mindset right now.
"Selective" governmental initiated socialism once again rears its ugly head, since there are many in this country that would heartily disagree, if a clear reading of the Constitution itself is given any weight.
With all the criticism that has come down upon the judiciary for ruling from the bench for political reasons most of all rather than "legal" ones with judges being cognizant of just what the "law" actually is in such instances, this actually does take the cake, in my opinion.
Although the press once again went a little off the deep end in headlining a great many of the stories with a description of the judge involved as "tatted" and an ex-cocaine addict.
Of course, the hypocricy at this point in our history was missed if such a personal observation were to be used by the media in its reporting on this judge’s ruling. Since it is interesting that a judge that is an ex-addict (who engaged in felony conduct under current Texas law admittedly at one time) is now serving on the bench, where a great many of those that are or have been convicted under Texas law of felonies are not even afforded an opportunity to vote for the rest of their lives even after having served their time.
Expungements and "doing their time," doesn’t in many cases even reinstitute the right to vote in the country, so out of whack is our criminal justice system where the common law provisions of "redemption" are all but ignored in "wiping clean" the slate of those that pay their debts to society as handed out by their fellow citizens.
It makes one wonder with all the clear language in the Constitution yet his rather all encompassing extra-Constitutional rendering and holding, if just maybe he might be suffering from what the 60’s generation termed "flashbacks," or possibly his language or reading skills, or memory affected if he was a heavy, long term user of that substance
However, what was missing in the reporting is that as an elected official he is also affiliated through a political party that has taken a platform and stand in the past against the death penalty throughout the country for any reason under pressure and lobbying from such "global" groups as Amnesty International and many others.
To state that it is "unconstitutional" under the Texas or U.S. Constitution rather than in his party’s view, "immoral", is a blatant redefinition, once again, of the English language and the 14th Amendment.
And the fact that the death penalty was handed down in many, many instances by those founders for reasons other than capital murder.
Such as treason on that Constitution. Which actually is the highest criminal offense by an elected or appointed government official, even higher than capital murder.
He used the "due process" clause somehow in his ruling, however, the 14th amendment clearly simply states that a criminal in this country that is accused of a heinous crime involving the taking of another citizen’s life, or their property even (since horse thieves were also handed down the death penalty in Texas and in many states throughout the nation, theft of personal property was also a major capital criminal offense), an American is entitled to not "mob violence," but a review and trial by a jury of his peers (due process) in the state and jurisdiction in which the alleged crime occurred, and a chance to then face his accusers and hear and repute the evidence against him.
It also states that he may not be deprived of life, liberty OR property, so consequently some of the piling on that is going on in our criminal code with both fines and also jail time appear would also not be Constitutional. It would appear that "or" also means or.
I am unaware of just how the provisions in Texas’s criminal code are written since now the states have taken it upon themselves also to either expand, or water down, the U.S. Constitution or its intent in this respect also progressively through their legislative processes by using fines and incarcerations both for civil and criminal violations of state laws in particular, but whether or not the death penalty is Constitutional since it is actually addressed within the language of the Constitution itself, speaks for itself.
Or the fact that "res ipsa loquitur" (the thing as it speaks) is the common law provision which is supposed to be rule of law with respect to Constitutional interpretation clearly outside valid, lawfully initiated and ratified amendments, as it is a contract between the government itself and its people, and the Bill of Rights were meant to give the people, not the government, the ultimate power in any such matter involving ANY civil or criminal offense committed by a citizen in this country.
And solidified by that 14th’s clear language then prohibiting any citizen from being deprived of his "life, liberty or property" without such a right to due process, or that "trial by jury."
It appears to me that more and more the judiciary are using court rules, and legal shennagians in order to actually circumvent and neutralize the power of the jury in this country more and more.
First, by removing even that right for many criminal charges, not to mention civil offenses in ever increasing numbers, the most recent of which are now the low level DUI and "social drinking" taxes and charges with those per se laws based on a proven fallable method of testing, when unless there is property damage or bodily injury and direct victim involved is truly really under the intent of the founders and common law also, a civil offense actually to begin with.
The breathalyzer, which does not measure blood alcohol at all, but measures the concentration of alcohol (or any number of other agents) in a person’s breath.
Which, when using or eating any number of other substances, other than alcohol, can affect those test results tremendously.
In fact, the interlock devices that are manufactured and ordered to be used by many who have been arrested or found themselves "guilty until proven innocent" in such matters warns not to eat bread (the yeast can affect the interlock device with a false reading).
But in the instance of the death penalty in this country, I would more understand this judge’s ruling at an earlier time in our history, when the evidentiary standards for a death penalty case were much, much more lenient than in most state courts today.
The standard, after all, is "beyond a reasonable doubt," and what has occurred, however, is that more and more high profile crimes are being tried in the media and politics and public opinions are being swayed even before many of these individuals have had the opportunity to answer or even make their pleas.
The lines between the "public’s right to know" and protecting the accused have gone by the wayside when the local news media is so hard pressed for news these days due to competition and "corporate" ownership concerned with the bottom line most of all than ethical standards, that most of the local news stations are more similar to Entertainment Tonight than actual news sources so biased, sensationalized and gossipy is their coverage.
And, after all, there are several different charges that should be placed before a jury in any murder trial in many instances, and not determined by a judge or the state prosecutor’s office acting independently to begin with.
Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter (auto accidents, etc.), murder in the second degree (crimes of passion, precipitated or between individuals known to each other) and murder in the first degree (pre-meditated, unprecipitated murder).
This case apparently has to do with the shooting death of a woman in Houston during a robbery in which there were, apparently, witnesses to what actually occurred – an adult sister and her own children.
Now that many of these states have privatized their state prisons and are receiving federal grant monies and profits on the prison population by the head, I would expect that we will see more and more of such rulings as most of these states attempt to squeeze every dollar out of the public they can since people, even prisoners, are now commerce.
I hate to dispute this judge’s stated reasons, there are now throughout the nation more and more minor offenses being criminalized in order to increase that prison population for revenue purposes as a "mitigating" factor in why our prisons are now bulging at the seams, and mostly with low level misdemeanor offenders guilty of actually victimless crimes at that.
Or more and more of such instances are occurring in order to also bulk up local court’s budgets due to the fact that the civil rights groups and organizations headed mostly by those in the legal profession, itself lobbied for a law providing for legal fee awards on their behalf for any and all cases involving civil rights actions, and this case is being prosecuted by the county attorney’s office and a public defender it appears representing the accused.
So this off the wall rendering could be and most likely is, in my opinion based on the information available through our somewhat sensationalized media, politically motivated since now the state can also gain revenue from the lengthy federal appeals process over this judge’s bench ruling which obviously blatantly flies in the face of the Constitution’s clear language and make money for the state coffers then while so doing.
Harris County apparently is a county which leads the nation in death penalty cases, and appears just may be one of the more poorly funded districts in the state to begin with due to the amount of poorer or indigent people living in that county.
Maybe their share of the stimulus wasn’t enough, since Governor Perry refused some of those sums according to his most recent election campaign jargon, or maybe those sums which were handed out for state budgetary purposes just didn’t get to Harris County but stayed in Austin.
After all, our entire country’s government at this point is so unconstitutional, taking such a position in light of all the Constitutional violations going on due to the entire convoluted framework as outside Constitutional intent and the parameters those founders provided and envisioned makes this position both questionable, and almost laughable.
I would agree, however, with this judge that most likely there have been individuals that have been put to death in this country in the past who MAY have been innocent of first degree murder, or unprecipitated murder under the common law definitions demanding the ultimate penalty under the law – forfeiture of life.
But we aren’t putting to death horse thieves anymore (or car thieves), and with the number of appeals now available to most death row inmates, there have also been those that have decided not to pursue the appeals process and even waived it.
I do feel that such drastic punishment should be reserved for those that are deemed by a jury, upon factual evidence and eyewitness testimony or truly "weighted" evidence, and should be used only according to the stated law: against those who, for whatever reason, murder innocent people as in the case of a robbery gone wrong as this appears on the surface, or many of these serial killers who cannot be rehabilitated in any way to be trusted to live among society, or at the very least, incarcerated without the possibility of parole, when there are no "mitigating" circumstances leading up to it.
But "unconstitutional," only if we are again, judicially redefining the English language and not the words of the founders or their intent since the 14th only cements what was their clear purpose at the signing as a government "of the people."
It is the jury that has the right to throw out the death penalty, if they so deem the facts of the case at hand demands it or is "societally" unacceptable in their view under the circumstances, and weight should also be given to the victim’s family in such a rendering as the actual victims of the particular crime and who those prosecutors are actually supposed to be acting on behalf of, primarily in addition to the state and the state citizens.
And without a clear vote of the people of Texas in any event or Constitutional amendents striking the word "life" from both insofar as the 14th or with state initiatives by the citizenry itself precluding it, or only within certain specific instances or heinous capital crimes and those clearly defined, it would seem our judiciary is getting more and more bold in some of their fabrications and renderings now at every level balanced against their oaths of office, since the wording is pretty clear.
As far as the stated reason of it not being society’s mindset, I which opinon poll this judge is relying on, as so many in their questions and focus, and just who is doing the polling, certainly would be of interest. And now how many outside "globally" focused agitators and groups are also getting involved in U.S. political matters to begin with, since it appears global socialism and "international" law rather than our Constitution’s language itself is a trend that is also occurring at the highest level in some rather recent Supreme Court rulings and renderings.
Protection of the accused American is foremost under our stated Constitutuion. And the jury was and is intended to be that protection from solely state determination as in fascist countries, baring any corruption of the jury or jury pool itself.
And if it is "cruel and unusual" punishment insofar as unprecipitated premeditated homicide is concerned, then our jails are full of people at this point that are being incarcerated without even the right to trial by juries in a great many misdemeanor offenses more and more, and some of these misdemeanor offenders have died in local jails and prisons that were "cruel and unusual" in their facilities to begin with.
Dehydrations of low level offenders recently in some jail facilities in the West, even. Where the "punishments" now truly do not fit those crimes, and made without any review or oversight of judicial renderings rather than at the will of the people based on the facts, circumstances and evidence involved.
And higher and higher bonds then due to some of those fines involved for misdemeanor offenses means that some have already served time even before they have entered their pleas, and not just for a few days, but up until their trial dates if they cannot make some of those escalating bonds for victimless offenses.
We now have so many people charged with misdemeanor offenses in our jails, that there isn’t enough room for the truly dangerous convicted felons, and county facilities are sharing former purely felony lockups with misdemeanor violators.
Gee, maybe he should have been the judge ruling over the Teri Schiavo matter in Florida. If it is immoral or "unconstitutional" and "cruel and unusual" punishment to sentence a convicted murderer to death, where most executions now are also carried out as humanely as possible in the majority of states throughout the country, then just what was it to sentence a handicapped, innocent 40 year old woman to death by dehydration and slow starvation?
Where was Amnesty International then, I ask?
In my opinion, this judges bench ruling flies in the face of that Constitution and the rights of the accused, and those of the victims it is utterly outrageous.
The also Constitutional right of the accused to a speedy trial based upon the evidence before a jury of his peers has now also been circumvented by this judicial sidetrack.
Or in the alternative, the victim’s family’s right to justice and closure is also being hijacked.
Yet, this is what is going on in Harris County with respect to misdemeanor offenders with outstanding mostly civil court traffic violations: