Friday, March 11, 2005

Why we have the Death Penalty

Rape defendant seizes gun from courtroom deputy, kills judge, ct. reporter and a deputy in the courtroom.

I worked as a misdemeanor trial intern in Charlotte, NC in 1994 and tried more than 30 cases. The courthouse had no central metal detector, the deputies were decent folks but they tended to be older sheriff's department employees, out-of-shape and of dubious deterrent effect for a defendant who could hide his intentions (the more known dangerous accuseds were led into the courtroom in handcuffs and leg irons). Not confidence-inspiring.

This attack is an outrage and comes just days after the shooting of a federal judge's husband and mother because she ruled against the killer in a previous civil case. These killings need to be stopped. Almost no defendants want to be put to death. A guarantee that such penalty will ensue for killing judges and their families, with no downward plea bargaining, will help.

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