Thursday, September 22, 2011

Poster Of The Day

Someone has finally encapsulated the fallacy of corporate personhood in a bumper sticker:

I don't know where this one got started. I found it at Comrade Earthbound Misfit's blog. She found it somewhere else, and so on.

Pass it on, at least until the original artist complains...

Afterword: Along the trail of trying to find the origin of this poster, I ran into this:
"I have yet to see a death case among the dozens coming to the Supreme Court on eve-of-execution stay applications in which the defendant was well represented at trial?People who are well represented at trial do not get the death penalty."

- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, April 9, 2001

Inadequate Representation
OK, let's stipulate, as they say in television courtroom dramas, that maybe, somewhere in Justice Ginsburg's lengthy career that someone actually was sentenced to death despite being able to afford competent lawyers. It's not the norm, though, as that American Civil Liberites Union (ACLU) article says:
Harsh reports about the abysmal quality of state-appointed legal representation for people accused of murder are common. A recent report on indigent defense by the Texas Defender Service found that judges often appointed defense attorneys not based on their competence or experience, but based on their reputation for rapidly moving cases through the system. The study concluded that death row prisoners "face a one-in-three chance of being executed without having the case properly investigated by a competent attorney or without having any claims of innocence or unfairness heard."

Inadequate Representation
That seems to be the norm in many places - a capital defendant is represented by lawyers who are overwhelmed, if not incompetent or feckless. The defendants are overwhelmingly poor and minorities. Their lawyers seem to be the ones unlucky or unwise enough to be in the vicinity when the court needs to appoint a lawyer.

Capital punishment is a travesty under any circumstances, but it is particularly so when it is dispensed so capriciously. It's hard to imagine why a truly civilized society would use it in any but the direst of circumstances.


Anonymous said...

Only two conditions require the death penalty. First are convictions for treason. Second are convictions for the abuse or misuse of power. Poor people are almost never involved in either, only those seeking power which must have a deterrent price attached.

Cujo359 said...

My own exceptions are a bit different. One is for murdering someone who is, or was, involved in a trial. Murdering officers of the court messes with the judicial process, making it harder to convict or free people when the situation warrants. The other is for murders committed in the outside world from prison.

I'm uncomfortable with execution for treason, because there can be political aspects to treason. Misuse of power, if it's at a sufficiently high level and has actually caused deaths, yes, I can see that one.

In today's two-tiered justice system, it's a rare thing for the powerful to see any justice at all.

In any case, the exceptions should be rare, and at least have the additional condition that the people being executed are still dangerous, even if they're in jail.

Anonymous said...

Treason is a political crime, it is the betrayal of trust from a position of responsibility whilst feigning allegiance to some political group. Deceit and deception are the operative crimes. It is the only specific crime mentioned in the constitution. Go figure!

In todays absence of a judicial system, the powerful will never see justice. Justice requires balance and consideration, two "birds" extinct for all intents and purpose and fading from living memory, and a will to enforce law without fear or favour, another extinct fowl, devoured long ago by propaganda.

When there is no cost to obtaining and abusing public power or deceit or deception (treason), what the world is witnessing today, will happen. The antidote is to have a certain and definite cost for malfeasance, one ignores the human character at great cost.

Cujo359 said...

By "political aspects", I mean that too often there are purely political motivations for charging someone with treason. It can come to mean any form of resistance to the government's policies.

I don't ignore human nature here. I'm aware that injustice is all too often associated with that word.

(BTW, is that you, Expat? Been a while.)

Expat said...

Thanks, caught out I am, misplaced the nom-de-blog I had here. ;-)

Think the difference twixt is that of political accusation as opposed to legally convicted; two different species altogether, poorly defined, inexactly applied, universally abused.

Have been reading here without commenting much. Your offerings deserve much greater response than they get.