Thursday, December 22, 2005

Texas To Execute Retarded Man Due To Legal Technicality.

Marvin Lee Wilson an inmate with an IQ in the low 60s, faces execution, despite it being illegal to execute a mentally retarded inmate. In Texas it's against the law for a death row inmate to file an appeal in state and federal court at the same time. His lawyer filed an appeal to federal court, at the last day it was in state court, missing a dead line. Last week, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans refused to hear Wilson's appeal because his attorney missed a filing deadline. Here is what the court said in its ruling by a three-judge panel:

"However harsh the result may be — particularly in a death penalty case involving a petitioner who has made a prima facie showing of mental retardation — Congress acted deliberately in enacting a strict limitations period." This is a disturbing ruling that perverts the legal system by elevating deadlines over justice, process over fairness. The Supreme Court has ruled that executing mentally retarded people is unconstitutional. That should not be trumped by a procedural rule. Basically, Wilson's case became entangled in a catch-22 contained in the complicated legal process that governs the filing of death penalty appeals in state and federal court.

The bottom line is he faces execution, due to his lawyers errors. To read the whole story see: Texas Execution.

Public confidence in the Texas justice has been shaken with the recent revelations that the state apparently executed the wrong man in 1993. Clearly there was a rush to convict and execute San Antonio resident Ruben Cantu. Carrying out another wrongful execution further erodes trust in the system.


Jennifer said...

It's very much a feature of right wing thinking to elevate "principle" (read: Idealist postulations) over the principles of respecting and attending to the features of concrete reality.

steven rix said...

Oh boy if ever you live in Texas then it's bad shit for people on death row. I am against death penalty and I even think it is against the US constitution for "retarded people".
Let's keep them in jail whether they are "retarded" or not, same thing goes to the methheads or drug addicts or the KKK judges or governors from Texas, whether they are from Conroe, or Houston or Dallas or Irving or HEB area, same treatment in my eyes.



Arielle said...

Well Shit. That lawyer will hopefully be sued, and yet that really would make no difference. This poor man's life will be lost and the S.Ct. will have had a hand in it.
I will have to read more about this case.

Book Suggestion:
The Death of Innocents by Sister Helen Prejean. This is an excellent book but so very sad. It outlines two stories of men on death row that were executed and all the egregious errors in their cases that were never corrected or even acknowledged. I couldn't finish the book because it made me so sad.

Mike Ballard said...

Oh Happy Day

The world is such a safer place
because of all the ones our rulers
killed for centuries
on and on and on
Where would all the Christians be
if Roman States had not
death penalties for all
the thieves and
that seditious “prince of peace”

Oh happy day
to take
eye for eye
and tooth for tooth
I feel so comfy that
the Bronze Age
still with us
this Merry Christmas

Arielle said...

(response to your comment on my blog) Thanks for the compliment. What made you say that so randomly? I feel shamed to have not produced anything interesting lately. But I am in law school, which is an easy excuse. I must admit I have thought about closing my blogs and calling it quits. As you can see I haven't done that yet.

Interesting picture of Osama's niece. I just read an article in a recent New Yorker on Osama's education in Saudia Arabia. It was a decent article.

Happy New Year!

TheMalau said...

That is simply unacceptable... yet typical of any system that does have the death penalty: Errors. I would seriously rather have one killer that I pay for living in jail, or even a killer loose that will come and get me next, than an innocent executed. But that's just me.

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