Tag Archives: Michael Blair

Life and death and the curious case of Ariel Castro

12 May

This is Timothy J. McGuinty, the man in Cleveland who has the unenviable job of spending the next few years of his life immersed in the grotesquerie of Ariel Castro’s mind.

227 Castro

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2013/05/prosecutor_to_seek_aggravated.html

Castro, of course, is the man who held three women hostage for a decade, raping, starving and torturing them for his own pleasure.  Without question, he is a sick motherfucker who has lost the right to ever see the light of day again.

If ever a person deserved the death penalty, Castro does.

gallows

I’m not a supporter of the death penalty, for two major reasons.  First, it is used disproportionately against poor people and racial minorities, and to me, that is totally unacceptable.  It is also used disproportionately against men, and god help poor black men up on capital charges.  They are fucked.

Black defendants who murder white victims continue to receive the highest rate of death sentences across the board; whites who murder whites receive the second highest; whites who murder blacks receive the third highest; and blacks who murder blacks receive the lowest rate.

http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2004/02/surprising-findings-death-row-race-and-states

The authors of the Cornell study use the word “defendants”, but they may as well just say “men”, because it’s mostly men who get to pay for their crimes with their lives.

Female offenders are unlikely to be arrested for murder, only very rarely sentenced to death, and almost never executed.

Males who commit homicide are nearly seven times as likely to be sentenced to death as are females who commit homicide.

This aggressive diversion of females who commit murder away from actual execution is nothing new. Of the over 8,000 persons lawfully executed in United States since 1900, only forty-six (0.6%) were female offenders.

http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/students/groups/oslj/files/2012/03/63.1.streib.pdf

Just based on that, I call bullshit.  If we are not going to execute women, then we aren’t going to execute men, either.

firing squad

My second big objection to the death penalty is that if you get it wrong, oh oops.  Sorry.  It can’t be undone.

irk

Kirk Bloodsworth served eight years in Maryland prison – including two years on death row – for a murder and rape he didn’t commit, before he was exonerated in 1993.

HernandezAlejandroPC

Rolando Cruz, and his co-defendant Alejandro Hernandez, served more than 10 years on Illinois death row for a murder they didn’t commit before DNA testing proved both men innocent in 1995.

verneal

Verneal Jimerson and Dennis Williams were sentenced to death in the infamous Ford Heights Four case in Illinois for a pair of 1978 murders they didn’t commit. Jimerson was cleared in 1995 after a decade on death row and Williams served more than 17 years on death row before he was freed in 1996.

chair

Robert Miller spent nine years on Oklahoma’s death row for a murder and rape he didn’t commit before he was cleared by DNA testing in 1998.

Ronwilliamson

Ron Williamson spent a decade on Oklahoma’s death row for a murder he didn’t commit before DNA testing secured by the Innocence Project proved him innocent in 1999. His co-defendant, Dennis Fritz, was sentenced to life and spent 11 years in prison before DNA cleared him as well.

ronald jones

Ronald Jones, an Innocence Project client, served a decade on Illinois death row for a murder and rape he didn’t commit before DNA testing proved his innocence and led to his release in 1999.

EarlWashington

Earl Washington, a Virginia man with limited mental capacity, was sentenced to death after he allegedly confessed to committing a 1982 murder he didn’t commit. He served a decade on death row, once coming within nine days of execution before receiving a stay. He would serve a total of 17 years behind bars before DNA testing obtained by the Innocence Project cleared him in 2000.

SmithFrankPC

Frank Lee Smith died of cancer on Florida’s death row after serving 14 years for a murder and rape he didn’t commit. He was cleared by DNA testing obtained by the Innocence Project 11 months after his death.

Fain

Charles Irvin Fain served more than 17 years on death row in Idaho for a murder and rape he didn’t commit before DNA testing proved his innocence in 2001.

Krone_R

Ray Krone served a decade in Arizona prison – including four years on death row – for a murder and rape he didn’t commit before DNA testing proved his innocence in 2002.

Yarris_N

Nicholas Yarris served more than 21 years on Pennsylvania’s death row before DNA testing proved his innocence and led to his release in 2003.

Matthews_Ryan

Ryan Matthews served five years on Louisiana’s death row for a murder he didn’t commit before he was exonerated by DNA testing in 2004. His co-defendant, Travis Hayes, was sentenced to life in prison and served eight years before he was cleared in 2007.

mccarty_c

Curtis McCarty served 21 years in Oklahoma prison – including nearly 18 years on death row – for a murder he didn’t commit before DNA tests secured by the Innocence Project led to his exoneration in 2007. He was convicted twice and sentenced to death three times based on forensic misconduct.

Brewer

Kennedy Brewer, an Innocence Project client, served 15 years behind bars – including seven years on death row – for a murder and sexual assault he didn’t commit before DNA testing from 2001 finally led to his exoneration in 2008.

Blair

Michael Blair served 13 years on death row for a murder he didn’t commit before DNA testing obtained by his lawyers at the Innocence Project proved his innocence and led to his exoneration in 2008.

damon

Damon Thibodeaux spent 15 years on death row in Louisiana before he was exonerated in 2012. A prosecution expert who aided in the reinvestigation of his case concluded that the threat of the death penalty contributed to why he falsely confessed to the murder of his cousin.

If it were not for the Innocence Project, all these men would be dead.  For crimes they did not commit.

http://www.innocenceproject.org/

How many more are there?  These men make it crystal clear, to me anyways, that the death penalty is not a reasonable punishment.

OK, so I object to the death penalty on rational grounds, but emotionally I would like to see Ariel Castro fry.  I guess he gets the lethal injection in Ohio.  A special one-drug trip to Tombstone Alley.

lethal

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/09/us/09ohio.html?_r=0

I’d happily press the plunger myself.  Without hesitation.  Unfortunately, in Ohio the only offence for which you can be sentenced to death is aggravated murder with at least 1 of 7 aggravating circumstances.

(1)The defendant knowingly created a grave risk of death for one or more persons in addition to the victim of the offense

(2) The murder was committed for pecuniary gain or pursuant to an agreement that the defendant would receive something of value

(3) The capital offense was committed by a person who is incarcerated, has escaped, is on probation, is in jail, or is under a sentence of imprisonment

(4)The offender in the commission of the offense, purposefully caused the death of another who was under thirteen years of age at the time of the commission of the offense and the defendant committed the offense with prior calculation and design

(5)The offense was the assassination of the president of the United States or person in line of succession to the presidency, or of the governor or lieutenant governor of this state, or of the president-elect or vice president-elect of the United States, or of the governor-elect of this state, or of a candidate for any of the foregoing offices

(6)The murder was committed against a witness in a criminal proceeding to prevent the witness from appearing, or for revenge

(7)The offense was committed while the offender was committing, attempting to commit, or fleeing immediately after committing or attempting to commit terrorism

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/aggravating-factors-capital-punishment-state

I’ll draw your attention to aggravating factors one and four.  Risking the death of someone else, and killing someone under the age of thirteen.

Fortunately, all three of the young women survived.  So whom did Castro murder?

pregnant

One of the women became pregnant.  Five times.  The woman in question, and the other two women, allege that Castro starved and beat the pregnant woman so that she miscarried.  Four times.  The fifth child was born and survives.

 

[EDITED TO ADD:  One of the victims became pregnant five times and miscarried after being abused and starved all five times.  The child who lived was born to a different victim.  Sorry for the confusion.]

 

http://myfox8.com/2013/05/09/cleveland-woman-who-was-held-captive-suspect-punched-me-until-i-miscarried/

The persons Castro is being charged with murdering are the unborn babies.

fetus

Well now.  That’s pretty interesting.  Fetal homicide is a punishable crime in some states, and people can be charged with causing the death of a baby a woman intended to have.

http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/fetal-homicide-state-laws.aspx

Here’s an example of the charge being used:  the accused killed a runner, who happened to be pregnant at the time.

http://www.wlky.com/Fetal-homicide-charge-added-in-slain-runner-case/-/9366718/15224012/-/12syn73z/-/index.html

The Castro case is interesting because the woman’s pregnancy is complicated by the fact that she became pregnant as the result of being raped by her kidnapper.  Whether or not she intended to bear the children is deeply complicated by the circumstances under which they were conceived.

The normal argument that the woman intended to have the baby, and therefore the baby IS a baby (a person, under the law) is absent in this case.

Castro is being charged with murdering unborn babies full stop.

worms

That opens a can of worms, doesn’t it?

In order to kill Castro, we are going to have to agree that unborn babies are persons, and can themselves be killed.

Not surprisingly, that is making the feminist crowd a wee bit nervous.  If babies are persons that can be murdered, what does that make abortion?

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2013/05/ariel_castro_fetal_homicide_should_the_alleged_cleveland_kidnapper_be_prosecuted.html

In order to allow women to have abortions, but still make room for the ability to prosecute people like Castro who deliberately kill unborn babies, we are going to have to agree on a very uncomfortable truth:

Babies are only people when the mother says they are. 

If a baby dies because someone deliberately caused that death, it’s murder.  If a baby dies because the mother deliberately caused that death, it’s a medical procedure.

clinic

The power to determine who counts as a person.  A power that belongs only to women. There’s no call for equality here.  A father who wants his child to be born and considers it a person has no authority to prosecute the woman who aborts that child.  That’s not the kind of fairness women are interested in. Nothing chilling about that, right?

Women, and only women, decide who lives.

Well, what can go wrong with that?

Oh, and Happy Mother’s Day.

Lots of love,

JB

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