I generally don't join with those who bash defense lawyers as a group. For the most part, they are responsible professionals who perform an important function in our system. When it comes to the death penalty, though, some on the defense side seem to come completely unhinged. AP has this story on the sentencing of Steven Hayes in Connecticut. Our friend Dudley Sharp has this reaction to defense counsel's remarks:
Defense attorney Thomas Ullmann defended Steven Hayes in the capital murder trial of the three rape/torture/murders of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, who was raped and strangled to death, along with her two daughters, 17-year-old Haley and 11-year-old Michaela. Michaela was sexually assaulted. Both girls were burned alive and died of smoke inhalation. Dr. Bill Petit was beaten with a baseball bat, suffers permanent injuries, but survived. He is the sole survivor from his immediate family.
When the day came for sentencing Hayes to death, what did Ullman say?
"Today when the court sentences Steven Hayes to death everyone becomes a killer. We all become Steven Hayes."
Ullman said that with Bill Petit and the extended Hawke/Petit family, loved ones and friends in the courtroom. Ullman called all of them Steven Hayes, as well as all others who find the death penalty a just and appropriate punishment for horrendous crimes.
The moral decay of Ullman's statement is hard to fathom, as is the profound cruelty of when and where he voiced it.
Even Steven Hayes voiced knowing the moral differences between guilty murderer and innocent victims, the punishment of the guilty and the violation of the innocent.