The US Justice System

[Content Note: Death penalty; death; fire; guns.]

Here are two things I've read this morning:

1. Maurice Possley of The Marshall Project for the Washington Post: "Fresh doubts over a Texas execution." This story recounts the extraordinary, illegal, unethical lengths to which a Texas prosecutor went in order to secure the conviction of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed by the state in 2004. Willingham was convicted of setting a house fire that killed his three daughters, but forensics experts have long disputed that arson was the cause of the fire. He was convicted primarily based on the testimony of an unreliable jailhouse informant, who was manipulated and aided by the prosecutor. This doesn't look like justice.

2. Nicole Flatow for Think Progress: "Prosecutors Won't Charge Florida Man for Fatal Gunfire Outside Wal-Mart, Citing Stand Your Ground." This story recounts a recent case in Florida, in which a man shot another man ten times in the back, claiming the former friend was walking to his car to retrieve a weapon.
"The Stand Your Ground statute makes no exception from the immunity because Brown may have been walking away from Thriemer at the time the deadly force was used," the memo from the State Attorney's office states. "The Stand Your Ground law does not require Thriemer to wait until Brown in fact retrieved a gun before he fired. Under the current state of the law and the facts of this case, Thriemer was legally allowed to use deadly force based on a reasonable belief that his life was in danger and that he was about to become the victim of an armed robbery."

...Thriemer would have had a duty to first attempt retreat in a public place "rather than using deadly force" before the law changed "substantially" in 2005 with Stand Your Ground.
Before, the shooter would have had to, say, make some attempt to get into his vehicle, beside which he was standing, and try driving away before shooting another man repeatedly in the back. But now, he doesn't.

Even before the obvious commentary about prosecutorial inconsistencies with regard to how Stand Your Ground is applied (see: Marissa Alexander), this doesn't look like justice.

It's not that these kinds of stories are new. I'm certainly not naive enough to be making the point that these sorts of injustices are only happening now.

No, my point is that these sorts of stories are old and repetitive. And we're still not doing anything about it.

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