Legal Stuff

A lady dumps her newborn child in a dumpster in Jefferson County, Texas with his "arms . . . secured across his chest with duct tape." The child dies. A jury convicts her of capital murder and sentences her to death. In order to impose the death sentence, the jury had to find, as they did, that in the future she would "commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society." She had no criminal record.

Today, the highest Texas court reversed the punishment and held that she should instead be assessed life in prison. The reason: There was simply insufficient evidence that she would be a continuing threat. Or, put another way, any rational juror would have had a reasonable doubt about that issue.

Wow. That's a 5-4 decision by an all Republican court that had been as pro-State as the Third Reich for the last 15 years. I have no idea what is going on other than perhaps even the hard-liners are beginning to question the way we impose the death penalty in this country.

(Opinion is here. News story is here. )