In the days when Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s jury was deliberating about whether to sentence him to life in prison or death, I thought often about members of his legal team who’d worked behind the scenes: the “mitigation specialists.” I’m a colleague of these people—I belong to a small group of journalists who supplement our income with freelance “mitigation” work. That means we do a special type of investigation for death-penalty cases. Our clients are accused and often, like Tsarnaev, already convicted. The prosecution paints them to the courtroom and press as monsters.
The article tells us a fair amount about Debbie Nathan’s career work, but says little about Dzhokar’s case and addresses none of the peculiarities and irregularities of his trial, which was a show trial for all intents and purposes, the main intent and purpose being the perpetuation of the endless War of Terror. Given all the anomalies and flimsiness of the evidence, a seasoned pro like William Kunstler would have got this kid off, but it’s unlikely the Feds would have let anyone like Kunstler anywhere near this case. And with Kunstler now gone, who is there to replace him?
My understanding of the situation with the Federal death penalty is: 1) by law the method is injection of fatal chemicals, 2) the government presently has no supply of such chemicals nor is it likely to be able to obtain such, 3) no one has been put to death by the Federal government in a long while. Granting this it seems unlikely that Tsarnaev will suffer the penalty he has been condemned to and we are just spinning our wheels fretting over this.
“It’s the right, including for the poor, the dark-skinned, and the immigrant, to make a mistake (even one as horrible and offensive as Tsernaev’s”
Great article until the last paragraph where i see the quote above. A mistake is swiping a Mars bar from a convenience store. Detonating an explosive device in crowd is not a “mistake”.
Jim Garrison discovered the difficulty of exposing Treason.
Jim Garrison attempted to investigate the JFK assassination only to discover that the System wasn’t interested in what happened but just wanted a scapegoat. Even when Congress agreed that the Warren Commission was wrong the facts have been hidden. That same System has every reason to conceal the corruption and malfeasance that passes for the US Justice System.
Until the Citizens of this country actually start voting out ALL incumbents expecting government to reform itself is a waste of time
From the article:
“They might vote to kill a monster, but not a human. Mitigation narratives don’t work all the time—witness what’s just happened with Tsarnaev. But they work often enough, and they save lives.”
The work of mitigation sounds fascinating and morally necessary. Listening to Amy Goodman’s show, “Democracy Now” yesterday (or the day before), she interviewed a juror. An interesting insight was aired that explained that the “death qualifier” as part of jury vetting meant that the ones left in the jury pool would tend to be more authoritarian conservative types. The guest’s point was that this form of jury selection reamed a death penalty through even though the jury didn’t reflect true community standards (or the majority of Boston citizens’ preference).
Excellent point. The process of Jury qualification can NEVER lead to a jury of ones peers.
The Law and Proper Governance
The flaw in political thinking lies in believing that representative legislative governance could produce anything but a rogue’s gallery of Presidents and representatives. Such governance always devolves into a political body of men passing complicated and drearily-long pieces of legislation rewarding cronies and special interests out of the government trough and repeated attempts by a chief executive to extend the power of enforcement of those laws and anything else he can get away with, and all in the name of world improvement—that’s the pathetic kicker.
Tacitus noticed this tendency in the Roman State 2000 years ago: “The more corrupt the State, the more it legislates.”
A different and simpler understanding of the purpose of governance is needed. I support: seccessionary movements worldwide breaking up nation states into drastically smaller political units the size of Liechtenstein or a Swiss Canton, or Singapore, or even my own island of Hawaii, for example; honest commodity money and 100% reserve banks (no fractional-reserve credit creation, loans only made from preexisting savings); free markets with unrestricted trade, a system of elected common law grand juries; of criminal and civil courts manned by elected professional judges and professional jurors; elected sheriffs and appointed deputies; all officials subject to frequent recall, with courts organized in concentric rings of society with efficient mechanisms of appeal, and charged with adjudicating one thing and one thing only—breaches of the non-aggression principle and common law. No statutory law!
(The non aggression principle prohibits uninitiated physical assault, theft or damage to property or environment, breach of contract, and fraud.)
The center cannot hold—nor should it. Nature is stable because of its incredible diversity. Societies on the human scale worldwide will serve mankind the best, and the modern methods of electronic communication will function like a net that keeps one little jurisdiciton connected to all others in a flourishing of the human spirit. No room for psychopathic nationalistic leaders in this scenario…they will have to find real jobs like the rest of us----when the moribund nation state finally expires! It has outlived its presumed usefulness and is, as it always has been, a threat to the common interests of all, and in our day and age, a dire threat offering war and mass destruction.
Even if Oswald pulled the trigger, he was not a lone assassin. The right wing hate radio of Dallas successfully created a climate of hatred of JFK. It is not surprising that one of the crazies in their audience decided he needed to kill that horrible person. The same right wing radio hate mongers are still at work because they know they will never be held accountable for the results of their hate speech.
Spot on, in short.