<< News Scan | Main | News Scan >>


News Scan

| 10 Comments
Florida Executes Double-Murderer:  A Florida man who murdered two people in 1983 was executed Thursday, Jessica Schladebeck reports for the New York Daily News. Michael Lambrix was sentenced to death using a procedure that the United States Supreme Court had previously reviewed and upheld in Spaziano v. Florida but later declared unconstitutional in Hurst v. Florida. The Florida Supreme Court held that the new rule does not apply to cases as old as Lambrix's, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene.

Judge Stays Alabama Execution:  Hours after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay the execution of double-murderer Jeffery Borden, a federal district judge granted one.  Ivana Hrynkiw of AL.com reports that Borden's attorneys sought a stay, claiming that use of the sedative midazolam in Alabama's three-drug protocol violated the Eighth Amendment bar to cruel and unusual punishment.  On Christmas Eve 1993, in front of his three children, Bordon murdered his estranged wife and her father.  His guilt was never disputed.  Three hours before Borden's scheduled execution Thursday, District Judge Keith Watkins granted a stay to allow further argument over the use of the sedative.  "Despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has already agreed to proceed with Mr. Borden's execution, the lower federal courts continue to place roadblocks in the vicitms' family's pursuit of justice.  We will seek a new execution date as soon as possible," said the Alabama Attorney General.

10 Comments

Wrong link/story for Florida story -- Lambrix was executed.

With respect to the stay in Alabama, first off, the Alabama AG should be a lot more harsh--this judge is a criminal coddling lawless fool. Second, the AG should simply have ignored the judge's order. The federal judiciary is in need of defiance. The Alabama governor should have state cops follow this judge every day--each and every time he violates a traffic law, he gets a ticket.

Curious about the reach of your statement, federalist, that the "federal judiciary is in need of defiance" in this area or others. I understand your frustration in the Ala execution setting --- I remain shocked by the stay in wake of prior SCOTUS reversal --- but are you really comfortable with state/local officials ignoring federal judicial authority/rulings in any and all arenas?

E.g., Could/should states now move forward with execution of teenage murderers sentenced to death before Roper? I believe that is what Senate candidate Roy Moore would like to see, and I want to know if that is part of your call for defiance, federalist.

Shifting to another arena of crime and punishment, in light of gun homicides, could/should Chicago officials who favor strict gun controls feel entitled to ignore Heller and McDonald and just start seizing every gun they see?

Doug, I believe that if Chicago officials attempt to seize guns generally, the citizenry has the right to resist.

I would not, morally, have an issue with executing Simmons or any of the others.

You raise the specter of widespread defiance, with the inference being that the polity simply has to live with lawless judges. I think some targeted defiance would clip the judiciary's wings, and I'd like to see it in the capital punishment arena.

On a few, rare occasions in history, defiance of legal authority has been justified. The American Revolution, the Underground Railroad, and the anti-segregation sit-ins of the mid 50s to early 60s come to mind.

In all but those rare cases, though, the best course is to obey authority and pursue remedies within the system to correct its errors.

Perhaps---but that course can impose significant injustice on certain unfortunates. Are wards created by ex parte orders procured by unscrupulous and officious guardians required to meekly submit to Haldol? Should people stripped of their children on the flimsiest (or non-existent) bases simply accept that reality and maybe get their kids back at some point in the future after bankrupting themselves? Or if we had Hillary Clinton as President, should we just meekly give up our First Amendment rights because (presumably) five Justices would criminalize the publication of a book (in certain circumstances).

In a society as large as ours, of course, mistakes are going to happen, and there will be abuses of power. We cannot forget, I think, that we ask a lot when we ask free men to stand down in the face of abuse of power.

The judge in the Alabama case has acted lawlessly, and almost certainly willfully so. And the Supreme Court of the United States, for whatever reason, tolerates this sort of rank lawlessness. When federal judges act this way (and they do, in matters big and small--ask any litigator about what Article III tenure does to many of them), it is unacceptable, and the judiciary doesn't really get to complain when others follow the example judges have set. I would applaud any AG or state official who executed in the face of an order so lawless. The judiciary in America is sorely in need of a comeuppance.

And, if an AG isn't willing to defy a lawless court order staying an execution, he or she should excoriate the judge in personal and harsh terms, and siccing state cops on the judge would be a nice lesson in power.

So, federalist, in the wake of SCOTUS Packingham decision, would you be okay with the Gov of North Carolina (who as state AG pushed for the law struck down) issuing an order calling for the law to continue to be enforced in defiance of the SCOTUS ruling? I presume Gov Cooper thinks his law was constitutional AND important for public safety, perhaps much more so than any single execution.

What principle do you use or do you expect others to use to distinguish the "lawless court orders" that should be defied and the other ones that should be respected? I get that you do not like what a lot of judges do, and that is a feeling shared by many of all political stripes. But ignoring judicial decisions that one dislikes often in history is a path toward anarchy. But perhaps that is what you'd prefer to the current rule of law.

I believe I have addressed the point about anarchy--the specter of anarchy is what renders the polity (and, of course, people suffering brutal injustices) powerless against lawless judges--well, that's rich.

As for Packingham, it was rightly decided--wasn't even close.

And Doug, as I have explained, this is the realm of power--thus there is no real principle--just what the defiers can get away with. If I were President, my target would be Zavydas v. Davis. And it's a fight I would win.

federalist, the NC Supreme Court upheld the statute 5-2, and I suspect Gov Cooper continues to think Packingham was wrongly decided. I know you think it was obviously right, but I continue to surmise that your test for "lawless court orders" that should be defied is only obvious in your own mind. Okay, but that is the rule of federalist "in the realm of power [with] no real principle," not the rule of law.

perhaps you are contending that we have, in a sense, already reached anarchy because you do not think the judiciary is really committed to the rule of law. I have not come to see our current judiciary in such dystopian terms, but I tend to always have an optimistic bent.

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives