The GOP continues to show its contempt for the Constitution and other thoughts on the criminal justice system.

The GOP in 2010 ran on a massive campaign about how the country need to return tp constitutional government. ObamaCare—according to the GOP—was unconstitutional, along with 99% of whatever else the federal government does. They demanded that bills introduced into Congress contain a provision that stated its constitutional authorization. And so on and so on ad nauseam.

What has happened since then? The GOP has done nothing to stop the military invention in Libya, yet another war for the United States, and this one started without any kind of Congressional authorization and in violation of applicable federal law (the “War Powers Act”).

And when they’re not doing that, you have folks like Virginia Representative Rob Wittman (R-1st) introducing a federal fisheries bill that cites Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution as the bill’s authorization. I have looked and looked and I do not see a provision in Art. I, § 8 that grants Congress the power to pass a federal fisheries bill, but hey, what do I know?

But let us get to the point of this post, the recent execution of Mexican national Humberto Leal Garcia Jr., who was arrested and confessed to the rape and murder of a teenager girl. Despite being a foreign national, he was not informed of his rights to contact a consular as required by Article 36 of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which states:

(b) if he so requests, the competent authorities of the receiving State shall, without delay, inform the consular post of the sending State if, within its consular district, a national of that State is arrested or committed to prison or to custody pending trial or is detained in any other manner. Any communication addressed to the consular post by the person arrested, in prison, custody or detention shall be forwarded by the said authorities without delay. The said authorities shall inform the person concerned without delay of his rights under this subparagraph;

What does this have to do with the Constitution? The Vienna Convention was a treaty which was sign by the President and ratified by the United States Senate. And what does the United States Constitution say about treaties?

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. (Art. VI, cl. 2)

But instead of condemnation of the violation of a person’s due process rights and his resulting execution, what did I awake to find on Twitter and blogs yesterday morning? A chorus of comments that can be best summed as “So what if his due process rights were violated? He was guilty anyway.”

So what’s the point of trials then? How about we just get Nancy Grace to do briefs on court cases and then you can call in for guilty and not guilty? Fox can put the show in prime-time after American Idol. They can do a special two-hour program when it comes time to execute someone.

And while I support the death-penalty, this case provides a perfect example of its politicization. Rick Perry is definitely running for President at this point and does anyone remember what Bill Clinton did as Governor of Arkansas while running for President in 1992?

After falling behind in the New Hampshire primary in 1992, and after being caught lying about the affair with Gennifer Flowers to which he later confessed under oath, Clinton left the campaign trail and flew home to Arkansas to give the maximum publicity to his decision to sign a death warrant for Ricky Ray Rector. Rector was a black inmate on death row who had shot himself in the head after committing a double murder and, instead of dying as a result, had achieved the same effect as a lobotomy would have done. He never understood the charge against him or the sentence. After being served his last meal, he left the pecan pie on the side of the tray, as he told the guards who came to take him to the execution chamber, “for later.” Several police and prison-officer witnesses expressed extreme queasiness at this execution of a gravely impaired man, and the prison chaplain, Dennis Pigman, later resigned from the prison service. The whole dismal and cruel and pathetic story was told by Marshall Frady in a long essay in The New Yorker in 1993 and is also recounted in a chapter titled “Chameleon in Black and White” by your humble servant in his book No One Left To Lie To.

And since I brought up Nancy Grace a couple paragraphs ago, was I the only person that was about to have an aneurysm after seeing the reaction to the Casey Anthony verdict? People on Twitter were issuing fatwas against defense attorneys for crying out loud.

It’s amazing that in this day in age, after our founding fathers fought and died to ensure that their rights, amongst others, to a speedy and public trial by jury and a right to have counsel, and people openly have the gall to complain about someone having a defense attorney?

What the heck is wrong with this country?

1 Comment

  1. To me the key to understanding it is balance. The founders went to great lengths to balance institutions against each other—balancing powers among the three branches: Congress, the president, and the Supreme Court; between the House of Representatives and the Senate; between the federal government and the states; among states of different sizes and regions with different interests; between the powers of government and the rights of citizens, as spelled out in the Bill of Rights … No one part of government dominates the other.

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