Wednesday, February 22, 2006

We're going to see more of this

There's a fascinating profile in Mother Jones of Dianne Clement, head of the Houston-based group called Justice For All, which lobbies aggressively for executions to be carried out. I'd recommend it to everyone, whether you're pro-dp or anti. You can access it here.

Here's one paragraph I found interesting:
As for all the people freed from death row, Clements couldn’t agree more that it proves capital defendants need good legal representation. "I think they’re kind of the Antichrist," she says of death penalty defense lawyers. "But you do want the very best representation, because…you want their convictions not to be overturned." Even if it were ever proved that an innocent person had been executed, she says, she’d still support the death penalty.
That's what Clements says now. But that's not what she told the Houston Chronicle in 2003:
"If I believed we executed an innocent inmate, I couldn't support the death penalty."
Normally I would just say "gotcha" and move on. But the fact is, we're going to see more of this duplicity as the number of innocent people freed from death row continues to climb. Death penalty proponents are going to be forced by circumstances to acknowledge not just wrongful convictions but also executions of innocent people. Some of them will change their minds on the issue. Others, however, will dig in and make the argument that if we are going to have the death penalty then of course we will mistakenly execute innocent from time to time.

Just watch.


the tennessee dude said...

stephen colbert wouldn't pass up a good "gotcha" moment ... but good observation ... im read mj recently and was wondering what the h____ is this profile of dianne clement doing in here ... hav they started a grotesque self-parody section??? still don't have the answer - can you get to the bottom of THAT???

Anonymous said...

File this away for another "gotcha moment":

[after post-execution DNA testing proved Roger Keith Coleman was guilty:]

"Obviously, one case does not in any way reflect on the correctness of the other 1,000 executions we've had in the last 30 years," said Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the Innocence Project.


Q: If cases confirming guilt are not relevant to the system as a whole, then how can cases casting doubt on guilt be so?