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Howler of the Day

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Among the weakest of the arguments against the death penalty (and that is saying a lot) is the claim of "geographic disparity."  The Supreme Court decided 35 years ago that the death penalty must be discretionary, not mandatory, and making decisions by discretion necessarily means that different people will decide borderline cases differently.  Variation by county within a state, far from being a defect, is local democracy (in electing prosecutors) and jury of the vicinage (a constitutional right) working as designed. See, e.g., my report to the Connecticut General Assembly, pages 18-19.

Courts around the country have regularly rejected arguments based on "geographic disparity," and the California Supreme Court has rejected it many times.  However, the attorney for Sean Vines asked that court to reconsider.  Vines had been given a job by two McDonald's restaurants and repaid them by robbing them both, murdering an employee in one of them.  So Vines's appellate attorney asks Cal. Supreme to reconsider its long-established precedent because of a subsequent U.S. Supreme Court decision.  Can you guess which decision?
Bush v. Gore.

No, I'm not making this up.  Decision here.  Cal. Supreme needed less than a page to dispatch that argument.  The decision was unanimous.

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