"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).

“This 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 cost.

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.” In Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429 (1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"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.

“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.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Texas fights the FDA to get 1,000 vials to kill its 244 death row prisoners - mostly black and Hispanic, likely by torture

In an astonishing move, the Texas indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the FDA for an injunction to force the FDA to permit Texas the import of execution drugs that are not allowed for use in humans.

Where the effect of a drug in a human is not known, the use of a drug in a human, even for execution purposes, should be prohibited - as it can result in torture, in "cruel and unusual punishment" in violation of the 8th Amendment.

Importing a new drug is clearly federally regulated activity under interstate commerce.

While sodium thiopental is reportedly used in European countries for legal voluntary euthanasia, there are clear protocols as to dosages and conditions of administration of sodium thiopental for those purposes.

Moreover, autopsies of prisoners executed in the U.S. reportedly showed that concentrations of thiopental sodium in the bloodsteam of executed prisoners were insufficient to cause unconsciousness.

In other words, prisoners who were executed with the use of thiopental sodium, remained conscious and may have been subjected to torturous deaths, in violation of the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The standoff between the FDA and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is that TDCJ bought and had shipped 1000 vials of thiopental sodium to execute its condemned prisoners, these people who are mostly black and Hispanic.

Even though the Texas Attorney General tried to keep his lawsuit clinical, and not focus on the actual elephant in the room, the issue that the 1000 vials that the FDA held in detention since July of 2015 and ruled, in a preliminary ruling, that the 1000 vials labeled only as "thiopental sodium" and "for law enforcement purposes" are unapproved and mislabeled new drugs - are meant to kill 258 people.

I copied and analyzed the list of Texas death row inmates, and the "clinically sterile" analysis of Texas AG in his lawsuit seeking opportunity to kill off these people as fast as possible started to appear less than sterile.

Here is the gender and race distribution of people on the Texas death row list:

Out of 243 people currently on the Texas death row, there are 6 women and 237 men (2% of death row inmates), 3 white, 2 African American and 1 Hispanic.

Out of 237 men on the Texas death row, there are:

  • 1 Asian;
  • 105 African American (44% of men);
  • 64 Hispanics (27% of men);
  • 4 "other";
  • 63 whites (27% of men)
So, here are racial proportions of populations in Texas as of 2010 Census:

  • African American - 11.8%;
  • Hispanic - 37.6%
  • White non-Hispanic - 45.3%.

And here is the racial proportions on Texas death row - the people that Texas AG Ken Paxton pushes a federal court to allow him to allow him to kill of faster:

  • African American - 44%;
  • Hispanic - 27%; and
  • White non-Hispanic - 27%
The proportion of African Americans on Texas death row is 4 times (!!) higher than the proportion of African Americans in the population of Texas.

The proportion of Hispanics are 30% (nearly 1/3) higher in the death row inmates than in the general population of Texas (27 constitutes 70% of 37.6).

And, the proportion of whites among the death row inmates is 41% lower (nearly 1/2) of the whites in the general population of Texas.

So, where the number of whites in the Texas death row list is nearly twice lower than their percentage in the state's population, while the number of African Americans is 4 times higher than their percentage in the state's population, the probability of getting a death sentence in Texas is 8 times higher for an African American than for a white.

And, of course, the prosecutor who seeks to kill off Texas' proof of racism in handing out death sentencing, is also white, here is his photo:

Age of condemned to death prisoners at the time of the offense

Racism is not the only problem with the Texas death row though.

Yet another problem is sentencing to death, and now trying to kill off, people who, by modern standards of many states, would not be considered mature enough to buy and drink alcohol - a lot of Texas death row inmates are young people between 18 and 21, and a lot are in their 20s.

There are 7 death row inmates in Texas who were condemned to death for committing their crimes at the age of 18:

The two far right columns I added to the Texas table.

In many states (New York one of them), people under 21 are not only not allowed to drink alcohol, but are also considered children for purposes of child support.

Note that, out of 7 18-year-old males condemned to death and still on death row in Texas - whom Ken Paxton pushes to kill off fast,

  • only 1 (14%) are white;
  • 2 (28%) are Hispanic; and
  • the remaining 4 (58%) are black - indicating, if anything, no compassion in likely predominantly white juries to black teenagers, as opposed to white and Hispanic teenagers
These people, children who committed their crimes at the age of 18, have been on death row from 11 to 24 years by now, and Paxton still pushes to kill them off as fast as possible - before the U.S. Supreme Court comes around and pronounces the death penalty unconstitutional, as it has been done in all other civilized countries in the world.

Out of 15 19-year-old males (at the time of offense) condemned to death and still on death row in Texas:

999393 Offender Information Braziel, Jr. Alvin 3/16/1975 M Black 8/9/2001 Dallas 9/21/1993             19 16
999137 Offender Information Wardlow Billy 11/25/1974 M White 2/13/1995 Titus 6/14/1993             19 22
999291 Offender Information Rocha Felix 5/7/1976 M Hispanic 12/16/1998 Harris 11/26/1994             19 19
999226 Offender Information Guidry Howard 4/15/1976 M Black 4/16/1997 Harris 11/19/1994             19 20
999599 Offender Information Hall Paul 2/18/1993 M Asian 10/9/2015 Brazos 10/20/2011             19 2
577 Offender Information Earvin Harvey 4/7/1958 M Black 10/26/1977 Angelina 12/12/1976             19 40
999423 Offender Information Davis Irving 9/17/1982 M Black 7/18/2002 El Paso 6/4/2001             19 15
999562 Offender Information Robinson Cortne 12/15/1990 M Black 3/23/2011 Harrison 9/20/2009             19 6
999192 Offender Information Melendez Pablo 11/16/1975 M Hispanic 5/21/1996 Tarrant 9/1/1994             19 21
999490 Offender Information Ramirez Juan 3/11/1984 M Hispanic 12/23/2004 Hidalgo 1/5/2003             19 13
999319 Offender Information Vasquez Richard 4/17/1979 M Hispanic 6/24/1999 Nueces 3/5/1998             19 18
999279 Offender Information Murphy Julius 10/25/1978 M Black 8/18/1998 Bowie 9/19/1997             19 19
999558 Offender Information Milam Blaine 12/12/1989 M White 6/11/2010 Rusk 12/2/2008             19 7
999590 Offender Information Balderas Juan 9/2/1986 M Hispanic 3/25/2014 Harris 12/15/2005             19 3
999330 Offender Information Haynes Anthony 1/22/1979 M Black 11/3/1999 Harris 5/22/1998             19 18

there are:
  • 1 Asian;
  • 2 whites;
  • 5 Hispanics, and
  • 7 African-Americans
who already served from 3 to 22 years on death row.

Out of 25 20-year old males (at the time of the offense) on the Texas death row:

999549 Offender Information Broadnax James 10/30/1988 M Black 9/2/2009 Dallas 6/19/2008             20 8
999388 Offender Information Woodard Robert 6/17/1980 M Black 6/20/2001 Harris 2/12/2000             20 16
999541 Offender Information Norman LeJames 11/26/1985 M Black 12/12/2008 Jackson 8/24/2005             20 9
999144 Offender Information Sheppard Erica 9/1/1973 F Black 4/25/1995 Harris 6/30/1993             20 22
999000 Offender Information Brewer Brent 5/26/1970 M White 6/4/1991 Randall 4/26/1990             20 26
999420 Offender Information Williams Perry 9/22/1980 M Black 6/25/2002 Harris 9/17/2000             20 15
999145 Offender Information Ruiz Roland 7/4/1972 M Hispanic 5/4/1995 Bexar 7/14/1992             20 22
999544 Offender Information Ramirez John 6/29/1984 M Hispanic 2/13/2009 Nueces 7/19/2004             20 8
928 Offender Information Rivers Warren 3/31/1967 M Black 12/29/1988 Harris 5/3/1987             20 29
999498 Offender Information Mendoza Moises 1/26/1984 M Hispanic 7/1/2005 Collin 3/18/2004             20 12
999379 Offender Information Jones Quintin 7/15/1979 M Black 3/16/2001 Tarrant 9/11/1999             20 16
999519 Offender Information Ramey Ker'sean 6/4/1985 M Black 1/31/2007 Jackson 8/24/2005             20 10
999411 Offender Information Pruett Robert 9/18/1979 M White 4/30/2002 Bee 12/17/1999             20 15
999383 Offender Information Howard Jamaal 2/8/1980 M Black 4/26/2001 Hardin 5/12/2000             20 16
999260 Offender Information Tong Chuong 10/21/1976 M Other 4/1/1998 Harris 4/6/1997             20 19

there are:

  • 1 "other";
  • 2 (8%)  whites;
  • 3 Hispanics and
  • 19 (75%) African Americans
In this age group, there are 9.5 TIMES more African Americans than whites on Texas death row among the 20-year-olds, while there are 4 times more whites than African Americans in Texas population.

The perception that an African American young man is more guilty than a white young man in the same situation is apparently very strong amongst Texas trial juries that must necessarily represent the "cross-section" of the Texas population, in other words, with predominance of white jurors condemning black youths to death 19 times time more (in this age group) than white young men.

Age group 21-25 (at the time of offense) - out of 79 death row inmates:

  • 1 "other";
  • 19 whites;
  • 22 Hispanics; and
  • 37 African Americans
These people have served so far from 2 months (Amos Wells III, black, 23 at the time of offense) to 41 years (Raymond Riles, black, 25 at the time of offense) on death row.

Age group 20 to 30 - 121 death row inmates in Texas:

  • 2 "others";
  • 31 whites;
  • 36 Hispanics; and
  • 52 blacks
who have served so far on death row from 2 months to 41 years;

In the age group 30 to 40 (at the time of the offense) among 61 yet-unexecuted Texas death row inmates there are:

1 "other";
20 whites;
15 Hispanics, and
25 blacks

who have so far served on death row from 7 months to 33 years.

Age group 40 to 50 (at the time of offense) - out of 19 death row inmates:

  • 4 Hispanics;
  • 6 blacks, and
  • 9 whites - the only age group where whites outnumber blacks, but still not in the same proportion as they appear in the population

Age group of 50 and over at the time of offense - out of 4 death row inmates there are:

  • 1 white and
  • 3 blacks

Now, when more and more questions arise as to mistakes and fraud of prosecutors who, shielded by "absolute prosecutorial immunity", drum and drum wrongful convictions - including death sentences - in order to climb higher in their careers, often towards judgeships, and when death penalty is abolished in all civilized countries but the U.S.,

Texas managed to get 1,000 vials to kill its 243 predominantly non-white death row inmates, a great number of among them - youngsters condemned to death at the time they are deemed by law not mature enough to buy and consume alcohol, and are considered children for purposes of child support in many states.

Why Texas urgently needs 1,000 vials to kill 243 inmates, while many of these inmates appeals are not yet exhausted, is a mystery that Ken Paxton did not explain in this lawsuit to the federal court.

But, it is clear that, with the recent finding by Lancet that when U.S. jurisdictions execute their condemned prisoners with thiopental sodium, the prisoners remain conscious throughout the execution, and thus are likely submitted to torture - in violation of the 8th Amendment.

Texas did not explain to the federal court,

  • why it urgently needs 1,000, while it has only 243 death row inmates, and many of them still did not exhaust their appellate process; and
  • what will be the procedure and dosage Texas will use for execution - because the procedure and dosage does not appear on the labeling.

It is interesting why the white Attorney General (recently indicted for fraud) pushes to kill off the predominantly non-white death row inmates, and what is the urgency for such government killing - other than the government tries to "race to the death chamber" ahead of opponents of the death penalty, and tries to execute people before the death penalty is officially declared unconstitutional, as it should have been done long time ago.

In any event, FDA in this case is in its own right not to allow import of a drug labeled only as "thiopental sodium", "for law enforcement purposes", a labeling that provides no indication whatsoever as to whether Texas is going to use the drug for execution, or for execution/slow torture of its inmates.

While concluding this article, I cannot shake the thought that, 100 years from now, when the death penalty will be, hopefully, long abolished, Ken Paxton's "clinical" plea to the court to stop the FDA from "interfering" with Texas' "lawful law enforcement procedures" will be read as it should be - with astonishment, horror and shame for our past.

Yet, now it is our present.

Which should be made out past - and there are 8 people on the U.S. Supreme Court who can do it any time, but still linger.

I wonder, why.

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