"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.

“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).

case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not
affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission.
For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the
qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the
rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic
course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines
these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his
principles at any cos

It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the
law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is
not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a
group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to
humiliate and degrade it.”
Re Anastaplo,
18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429
(1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong
366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan,

“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.

"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The death penalty: state v federal "right to kill first" in the South Carolina hate shooting

An "interesting" fight is developing over death penalty in South Carolina.

Last year, a white young man came to a black church and shot 9 people to death.

The man was charged with capital crimes both in the State of South Carolina and in federal court (federal counts reportedly include hate crimes and violation of religious rights).

Now the state and the federal courts are competing on who is going to try Dylann Roof first and who gets to execute him.

The feds scheduled the federal trial ahead of the state trial.

The SC prosecutor ardently asked to allow SC to try Dylann Roof first.

I somehow doubt that the feds even have jurisdiction to try Dylann Roof.

Yes, it is obviously a hate crime.

Yes, the defendant is white and all victims are black, and the crime happened in a black church.

But, the crime was not committed on federal property and does not involve "interstate commerce", and thus, feds should not have been involved in the criminal prosecution, whatever is my position on the death penalty.

I am generally against the death penalty, as my posts on this blog indicate.

Yet, in this case there appears to be no question that the defendant is the perpetrator of the shooting deaths of 9 people.

There are witnesses who observed Dylann Roof when he came to the church, was invited to join in the prayer, and spent some time before he started to shoot.  Enough time for the surviving witnesses to be able to clearly identify him as the shooter.

Unless the defendant is ruled incompetent or not guilty by reason of some kind of mental illness, he, of course, must be held accountable.

In my view, it will not be unfair to demand his life for the lives of 9 people he killed.

Yet, given the law about appellate process in the case, it will cost taxpayers less to keep Dylann Roof alive and serve a life sentence, rather than to put him on the death row.

For the sake of saving taxpayers' money, I would give him a life sentence.

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