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The Final Chapter of a Too-Long Story

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Tonight, Texas is scheduled to finally carry out justice in the case of the ringleader of one of the state's most notorious crimes. In 1993, two teenage girls, Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena, took a shortcut home and ran in to a violent street gang led by Peter Cantu. The facts are described in CJLF's brief in the first Medellin case in the Supreme Court here.  The victims' memorial web page is here.  CJLF filed two more briefs in Medellin's case: this one in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and this one in the U.S. Supreme Court in its second review of the case. In the last brief, we were pleased to represent Randy and Sandra Ertman as well.

Michael Graczyk of AP has this story on the case and Mr. Ertman.  He has previously attended the executions of Medellin and Derrick O'Brien, and he will be there tonight for Cantu's. Two other perpetrators escaped execution because they were 17 at the time of the crime. Some of Cantu's supporters claim it is unfair that he is executed while they were spared due to a small difference in age. That is an argument that Roper v. Simmons was wrongly decided and that it was unfair to let the others off from the punishment they so richly deserved; it is not a good argument we should let Cantu off as well. In any event, Cantu is distinguished by his leadership role in the crime as well as his age.

Update: Mission accomplished.

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A side note: Many times there is a distinct lack of class on the abolitionist side--whether it's elected officials slamming murder victims' family members in Connecticut or the latest sophistry coming from DPIC. Well, sometimes the abolitionists do the right thing. Here is an example:

http://www.ncadp.org/news.cfm?articleID=834

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