The Lady Speaks

When the Death Penalty Isn’t Enough

I read this article earlier today at msnbc.com, and literally threw up. Ever since, my brain hasn’t been able to let go. I can’t stop thinking about this little boy who was sodomized and killed and who was just six goddamned years old. A baby.

I keep asking myself, if these are the details the police and DA are willing to release in the indictment, what aren’t they telling?

I keep thinking that these were convicted sexual predators. *I keep thinking that this baby was raped by a father and son, and that the wife of the former watched and masturbated.  I keep thinking (and hoping) that there is a special circle of hell – perhaps the 22nd or 50th – for people like this.*

I keep thinking that sexual abuse of every stripe is happening to children every day across this nation, and that our laws are not enough to protect them.*

How many times do we have to hear about children being sexually abused and murdered by sickos that never should have been allowed back on the streets? I’m sick and tired of hearing about this one or that one who was allowed to victimize more children because they’d been paroled after serving only a few short years.

Our laws should be very simple: Hurt a child, go to jail forever.

The laws we have aren’t designed to protect all children. Some, yes, but not all.

Here’s what I would do, if I were President – or King, as we seem to have nowadays:

Law #1: People who sexually abuse a child should receive an automatic sentence of life in prison. No special sentences for first-time offenders (because it sure as hell isn’t the first time they’ve done it, just the first time they were caught.) No parole. No early release.

Law #1a: People who physically or mentally abuse their children get ONE chance to rehabilitate themselves. Parenting classes, counseling, family therapy, etc. should be provided by the state, but a second offense results in life imprisonment under Law #1.

Law #2: People who kill their own children should receive an automatic sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole. They should be housed in a cell with every wall covered in pictures of their child, and the photos should be behind bullet-proof glass, so the killer parent(s) can’t remove or deface the pictures. Above each montage, there should be a painted caption that reads, “You destroyed this life.”

Law #2a: The only exemptions will be those who are mentally incompetent to stand trial. They’ll be sent to mental institutions for life, unless later found to be competent – then they’ll be sent to prison under Law #2.

Law #3: Anyone who kills a child after committing any type of sexual assault deserves a public castration with a rusty knife (and possibly a fork or other sharp, pointy utensil) by the parents of that child – unless and except if said parents are involved in the sexual abuse/assaults. (ie: A mother who allows her boyfriend to molest her child would not be allowed to castrate said boyfriend if he kills that child. Instead, she would be sentenced under law #2.)

After castration, the sick, disgusting pervert would be strapped to a post in front of the county courthouse and all residents of the county would be allowed to jab him/her/it with sharp objects. (Not in the eyes, though.) However, said sharp objects must not have the capability to kill said pervert. Just cause pain.

Then the pervert should be remanded to a state prison, and simply set amongst the population. Not only will that greatly decrease his/her term without allowing him/her to wander freely amongst decent human beings, but it will save the states money that could be spent on education.

-

* – Sentences between asterisks added on 3/23/07, 1:45am

March 22, 2007 Posted by | America, Children, Courts, Family, Government, Law Enforcement, Pedophiles | 2 Comments

Is It A Civil War Yet?

I decided to cut the last post in two. Going from my post-holiday trauma to the mess in Iraq was kind of a train of thought thing, and while most intelligent readers would know I wasn’t comparing them, I wouldn’t want the last remaining dregs of Bush supporters to become confused.

* * *

I read this morning that Chimpy McFlightSuit called 10 servicemembers to wish them a Happy Holiday. I guess the zookeepers decided it might just be a little dangerous to pull another ‘Eat and Run’ visit in Iraq this year.

Not that Chimpy’s aware of the danger going to Iraq might pose to his life. After all things are going great! Really. Democracy, freedom, blah blah 9/11 blah, win if we don’t quit, blah blah support the troops blah, we were attacked, blah blah hate our freedoms blah, terr’ists, blah blah blah, ……. ad nauseum.

It was a great day in Iraq. As we sat on our (over-sized) behinds watching football or “It’s a Wonderful Life” more than 215 Iraqis died in the worst violence since the start of the war.

From the Washington Post:

A barrage of car bombs, mortar attacks and missiles battered the Shiite Muslim slum of Sadr City on Thursday afternoon, killing around 200 people and injuring as many more in the single deadliest assault on Iraqi civilians since the start of the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

The highly orchestrated attacks on the stronghold of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr threatened to unleash yet another cycle of reprisal killings and push the country closer to all-out civil war. The attacks, targeting the heart of Baghdad’s Shiite community, seem designed to stoke the sectarian rage gripping Iraq.

Even as mourners gathered Friday for a heavily guarded funeral procession the attacks continued. Local authorities reported that 17 people died when a car bomb exploded near an auto dealership in Tal Afar, 260 miles northwest of Baghdad. The Associated Press reported that several mortar rounds exploded near the Abu Hanifa mosque, a site important to Sunni Muslims.

Following Thursday’s bombings, plumes of black smoke, and anguished screams, rose above a chaotic landscape of flames and charred cars, witnesses said. Bodies littered the streets and the smell of burned flesh filled the air. Relatives searched for loved ones as strangers helped the wounded reach hospitals overflowing with victims.

Meanwhile, angry Shiite residents and men from Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia, wielding guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, roamed the streets, hurling curses and vowing revenge against Sunni Arabs.

“Our bellies are full of blood,” declared Ibrahim Tabour, a resident. “We’re going to fight the terrorists until the last breath.”

[...]

Shiite and Sunni leaders delivered statements on state television Thursday night, with some urging Iraq’s two main sects to leash their fury.

[...]

The dead included women and children, witnesses said. “I saw a child who was totally burned,” Abu Mohammed said. “I saw another child who was carried by an old man.”

The carnage spoke of the deepening sectarian divide and the dread that has engulfed the capital. “No one believes that any Shiite would kill their Shiite brothers. It’s the Sunnis and the Americans who did this,” said Kareem Hendul Miyahem, 40, a driver.

Tabour, like so many other Shiites, was thinking about revenge.

“If I catch a terrorist, I will not kill him with a weapon. I will not turn him over to the government,” he said. “I’ll catch him and cut him to pieces and drink his blood until the last drop.” [emphasis mine]

Okay…so now the Sunni and Shia factions have picked up the “War on Terror” theme. Great. Can we call it a civil war yet?

Meanwhile, Bob Novak – *snort* – tells us Rummy’s firing indicates something being terribly wrong with Chimpy’s presidency:

Donald Rumsfeld, one week after his sacking as secretary of defense, was treated as a conquering hero, accorded one standing ovation after another at the conservative American Spectator magazine’s annual dinner in Washington. The enthusiasm may have indicated less total support for Rumsfeld’s six-year record at the Pentagon than resentment over the way President Bush fired him.

[...]

In the two weeks since the election, I have asked a wide assortment of Republican notables their opinion of the Rumsfeld sacking. Only one went on the record: Rep. Duncan Hunter, the House Armed Services Committee chairman. A rare undeviating supporter of Rumsfeld, Hunter told me that “it was a mistake for him to resign.” The others, less supportive of Rumsfeld, said they were “appalled” — the most common descriptive word — by the president’s performance.

The treatment of his war minister connotes something deeply wrong with George W. Bush’s presidency in its sixth year. Apart from Rumsfeld’s failures in personal relations, he never has been anything short of loyal in executing the president’s wishes. But loyalty appears to be a one-way street for Bush. His shrouded decision to sack Rumsfeld after declaring that he would serve out the second term fits the pattern of a president who is secretive and impersonal.

[...]

Bush is no malevolent tyrant who concocts unpleasant surprises for his Cabinet members. Rather, letting the terminated official be one of the last to know of his imminent removal derives from congenital phobia over White House leaks that I have seen exhibited by Republicans dating to President Dwight Eisenhower (and leading to President Richard Nixon’s fateful use of “plumbers” to plug leaks).

News flash, Bob: Bush being elected president was terribly wrong. Everything was downhill from there.

Personally, I think Rummy should go to the Hague and face charges. Not just for being part of the marching band that drummed us into this war, but for thinking it could be done on the cheap. For allowing the military – which he was responsible for – to be ill-equiped for the terrain, the insurgency, for failing to plan for an occupation.

And, let’s not forget this:

This photo has probably gone around the world a hundred million times, but it’s always worth another look.

Yep, that is Donald Rumsfeld and yep, that guy he’s shaking hands with is indeed Saddam Hussein at a meeting on December 20th, 1983. Which would have been around the time that Saddam was busy killing, maiming, and torturing people for whom he would later go on trial.

Back then, you see, we hated the Iranians. And following the ‘an enemy of my enemy is my friend” policy of diplomacy, the US became buddies with Iraq and helped them in their war against Iran. Helped them by giving them all kinds of money and weapons that were not only used in the Iran-Iraq war, but were used by Saddam to kill his own people.

In effect, the United States is an unindicted co-conspirator in the murders for which Saddam was charged, convicted, and sentenced to death.

Doesn’t that just give you the warm fuzzies?

November 24, 2006 Posted by | America, Bush, Conservatives, Courts, Crime, Government, Homeland Security, Iran, Iraq, Middle East, National Security, Pentagon, Politics, Republicans, Rumsfeld, US Military, War | Leave a comment

Disgusting

I was going to wait until tomorrow to start writing again, but this is just sickening!

From CNN:

In a deal that some media executives called revolting, O.J. Simpson plans a book and TV interview to discuss how, hypothetically, he could have killed his ex-wife and her friend — a story his publisher considers “his confession.”

Two weeks before the book, “If I Did It,” goes on sale, scorn was already being heaped Wednesday on Simpson, the publisher and Fox, which plans to air the Simpson interview in two parts November 27 and 29.

[...]

Judith Regan, whose ReganBooks imprint is publishing the book, declined to reveal further details of the book’s contents.

“This is an historic case, and I consider this his confession,” Regan told The Associated Press. She also refused to say what Simpson is being paid for the book but said he came to her with the idea.

Yeah, you read that right. He’s written a book called, “If I Did It, Here’s What Happened“. And Fox News – falling to a new low, even for them – is going to air a ‘special’ interview with him.

How nice – kill two people in a violent, frenzied attack, get away with it thanks to a helpful judge and a ‘Dream Team’ that muddied the waters so badly, and then write a book telling the world exactly how you did it.

More from CNN:

Meanwhile, other publishers and publishing industry observers practically fell over each other to criticize ReganBooks, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, and Simpson himself.

“This is not about being heard. This is about trying to cash in, in a pathetic way, on some notoriety,” said Sara Nelson, editor in chief of Publishers Weekly. “That a person keeps wanting to bring this up seems almost nutty to me.”

Patricia Schroeder, president and chief executive of the American Association of Publishers, described the developments as sickening.

“But I think it’s going to stir an awful lot of debate and make the culture take a real look at itself, and that may not be unhealthy,” she said.

[...]

At least one other network, NBC, said it had been approached to air the special but declined the offer.

[...]

Representatives for CBS and ABC did not immediately return calls for comment.

November 15, 2006 Posted by | America, Courts, Crime, Law, Television | Leave a comment

Obscene Gesture or Not?

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's gesture has been closely scrutinized by many. Was it obscene or not? (The Boston Herald has a photo taken at the time.)

Scalia, naturally, says no. (But would he admit it, if it were?) Others of Italian ancestry say it is, without a doubt, especially when taken in conjuction with the word he used to accompany it.

I didn't really know, so I called on a local expert – my step-dad, Glenn. Actually, he's the only real Italian I know.

Glenn spent his early years in New York City, before moving to Weehauken NJ. He was an Italian-Catholic who walked to elementary school with a bicycle chain and a knife for protection. Apparently, Catholic school kids in their uniforms were (perhaps still are) targets for the local toughs, especially in a heavily-Italian neighborhood in New York.

Glenn once commented that many of the kids he went to school with had "Family" connections – and are in the "Family" now….and he's not talking relatives. So, I decided I wasn't likely to find a better expert on short notice.

Not wanting to be offensive, especially to someone I like, but who also knows people in the Mafia, I made my sister call. (Yeah, bravery…not my strong suit. :) ) She, also not exactly sure how to approach this, took the easy way out and made our mom ask.

His take: You betcha! While the word used has a variety of spellings, the word combined with the gesture is equal to flipping someone the bird while saying, "F**k you!"

So – we have a supposedly-devout Supreme Court Justice who took Communion and then used an obscene gesture accompanied by a dirty word, while standing in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

Somehow, this doesn't surprise me, coming from a man who is an avowed friend of the same Vice-President who stood in the Capitol and told a senator to 'f**k himself".

Republicans and thugs….it's getting hard to tell the difference these days.

March 31, 2006 Posted by | Courts, Law, Religion, Scalia | Leave a comment

Censure Hearings

From Tim Curry, MSNBC:

As Sen. Russ Feingold urges the Senate to censure President Bush, the alleged misdeed that moved the Wisconsin Democrat to propose censure continues: the Bush administration keeps conducting surveillance of calls by suspected al Qaida operatives to and from people in the U.S.

[snip]

Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., has scheduled a Friday hearing on the censure proposal. Specter opposes censure, as does Judiciary Committee Democrat Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, who said at Tuesday’s hearing, with exasperation in his voice, “The idea of censuring the president — we don’t know what he did.”

[snip] 

Friday’s censure hearing sets up what both Feingold and Senate Majority leader Bill Frist want: a roll call vote on the Senate floor on censuring Bush.

This would force all 100 senators — and especially the potential Democratic presidential hopefuls — Sens. Biden, Evan Bayh, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton — to go in the spotlight and make their choice: either condemn Bush for taking an action which the president argues is necessary to defend the nation from al Qaida attacks — or give Feingold a potential weapon to use against them in the event that he too seeks the Democratic presidential nomination.

A “no” vote on censure would also incur the wrath of Democratic groups such as Moveon.org.

[snip] 

When Feingold was asked two weeks ago whether he would take action against the NSA program by cutting off funding for it, he replied, "Cutting off funding? How are you going to enforce that? If the president has inherent power, he'll just shift some money around. He'll just keep doing it. That's the problem with this doctrine. If the president isn't going to acknowledge that a law we passed such as FISA binds him, why should the cutting off of funding affect him?”

March 29, 2006 Posted by | Bush, Constitution, Courts, Government, Homeland Security, Intelligence, NSA, Politics, Senate | Leave a comment

Should Scalia Recuse Himself?

As my daughter would say: 'Ya think?!'

Did Justice Scalia miss the part of law school that tells you judges are supposed to remain open and impartial, especially before hearing arguments? (In public, at least.) Apparently so.

From Newsweek:

[...] Challenged by one audience member about whether the Gitmo detainees don't have protections under the Geneva or human-rights conventions, Scalia shot back: 'If he was captured by my army on a battlefield, that is where he belongs. I had a son on that battlefield and they were shooting at my son and I'm not about to give this man who was captured in a war a full jury trial. I mean it's crazy.' Scalia was apparently referring to his son Matthew, who served with the U.S. Army in Iraq.

[snip]

'This is clearly grounds for recusal,' said Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a human-rights group that has filed a brief in behalf of the Gitmo detainees. 'I can't recall an instance where I've heard a judge speak so openly about a case that's in front of him—without hearing the arguments.'

Other experts said it was a closer call. Scalia didn't refer directly to this week's case, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, though issues at stake hinge in part on whether the detainees deserve legal protections that make the military tribunals unfair.

 

March 27, 2006 Posted by | Courts, Crime, Iraq, Law, Politics, Terrorism, Uncategorized, War | 4 Comments

USSC: All occupants must okay searches w/o warrants

In a ruling that will have a chilling effect on women in abusive relationships, the Supreme Court ruled that all occupants of a dwelling (ie: house, dorm, etc) must give consent to a search of the premises. No one party has rights of consent over another.

From the Associated Press:

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police without a warrant cannot search a home when one resident says to come in but another tells them to go away, and the court’s new leader complained that the ruling could hamper investigations of domestic abuse.

Justices, in a 5-3 decision, said that police did not have the authority to enter and search the home of a small town Georgia lawyer even though the man’s wife invited them in.

The officers, who did not have a search warrant, found evidence of illegal drugs.

[...]

Georgia’s Supreme Court ruled for Scott Randolph, and the high court agreed.

‘This case has no bearing on the capacity of the police to protect domestic victims,’ Souter wrote. ‘No question has been raised, or reasonably could be, about the authority of the police to enter a dwelling to protect a resident from domestic violence; so long as they have good reason to believe such a threat exists.’ [emphasis mine]

Justice Anthony Kennedy was the swing voter, joining the court’s four more liberal members.

Roberts’ dissent was unusually long — almost as long as the main opinion. He predicted ‘severe’ consequences for women who invite police in only to be overruled by their husbands.

What, may I ask, is ‘good reason’? Does a woman need to be bleeding or bruised? Does she need to be unconcious? Does she need two witnesses? Do they need to have received two or more 911 calls from that residence.

You can see the future. Some woman is going to be killed by her significant other, and when the cops are asked why they did nothing to help, they’ll say, ‘We just didn’t have a good enough reason at the time to believe there was a threat.’

March 24, 2006 Posted by | Courts, Crime, War On Women | 2 Comments

Selenski acquitted

Some days, there’s justice. But not today.

Hugo Selenski of Wilkes-Barre PA was acquitted on one count of first-degree murder after the jury dead-locked. He was found guilty of two counts of ‘abuse of a corpse’. The judge in the case said Selenski cannot be retried.

From CNN.com:

Selenski’s relatives broke out in sobs as the verdict was read.

Prosecutors had accused Selenski of luring Frank James, 29, and Adeiye Keiler, 22, to his home north of Wilkes-Barre with the intention of robbing them of drugs and money.

Prosecutors said he shot both men, then tossed their bodies into a fire pit and burned the remains with the help of another man, Patrick Russin.

(snip)

Authorities were led to Selenski’s property while investigating the disappearance of Michael Kerkowski, a pharmacist linked to drug dealing who had been missing since 2002, and Kerkowski’s girlfriend Tammy Lynn Fassett. Their corpses were unearthed from a shallow grave near Selenski’s house.

Selenski has not been charged with those deaths but he is considered a suspect. In court papers, prosecutors have said they believe Selenski strangled and robbed them in 2002.

Other human remains found in the yard have yet to be identified. [...]

From the Citizen’s Voice:

BY ROBERT KALINOWSKI:

It all came down to whether to believe Patrick Russin. Ten didn’t.

(snip)

Despite being deadlocked whether Selenski committed first-degree — or premeditated — murder, all 12 jurors acquitted him of second- and third-degree murder, which legally cleared him of the entire charge. [...]

March 17, 2006 Posted by | Courts, Crime, Pennsylvania | Leave a comment

Dustin Briggs Formally Sentenced to Death

Yesterday, Bradford County Sheriff’s Deputy, Michael VanKuren, would have been 38 years old. Instead, his killer was formally sentenced to death for killing him and his partner, Deputy Christopher Burgert on March 31st, 2004.

From the Sayre PA Morning Times:

Dustin Briggs could leave the Bradford County Correctional Facility as soon as today on his way to death row. Briggs, 29, of Gillett was officially sentenced for classification at the state facility in Camp Hill Wednesday by specially presiding Judge Barry Feudale.

(snip)

The lack of emotion from Briggs was also cited by jury members after the trial as a reason they found it less difficult to impose the death sentence.

Feudale said he was struck by Briggs’ willingness to kill two law enforcement officers over a small amount of marijuana in his pocket and a collections warrant. The marijuana may have carried a penalty of 30 days in jail, the collections warrant a fine.

‘Rather than comply with being taken into custody you chose to act violently,” said the judge. “Mr. Briggs, you have a history of such violence against law enforcement and others.’

Davidson spoke directly to Briggs, telling him he not only took away her son, but her best friend.

‘Dustin Briggs I want you to know who you murdered – my son Christopher Michael Burgert. He was a quiet, unassuming man. As a child his father was in the Army and he started back then wanting to be a police officer,” said Davidson, clutching a photograph of Burgert with his brothers. “I want you to know he had a paper route. He and I did his paper route together. . . You took away a man who loved people, who loved life. Dustin, you took away a very good man. You took away my son. I’ll never see him again.’

Written victim impact statements were also provided to the judge from Michelle Keefe, Michael VanKuren’s sister; Andrew and Tiffany VanKuren, VanKuren’s children; Lori VanKuren, his mother; Kim Burgert, Burgert’s wife; and Davidson.

When imposing the sentence Feudale told Briggs he would remain in his cell 23 hours a day and be allowed only one hour of visitation a week. That visitation will be through a plexiglass window. Briggs will also be permitted one hour of exercise a week.

‘This will be your life until the sentence that was handed down has been imposed,’ said Feudale. [...]

Justice. Finally.

Read more here and here.

March 16, 2006 Posted by | Courts, Crime, Law Enforcement, Pennsylvania, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Gov’t f***s up Moussaoui case

The judge in the Moussaoui case, Leonie Brinkema, will allow the prosecution to continue it’s death penalty case, but she has barred their testimony on ‘aviation security measures’.

And there were even more problems.

From MSNBC online: ‘I don’t think in the annals of criminal law there has ever been a case with this many significant problems,’ Brinkema said. She ruled the trial could proceed after a daylong hearing into whether coming witnesses had been tainted by improper coaching by a federal lawyer.

Brinkema added, ‘More problems arose today that none of us knew about yesterday.’

(snip)
She also said she was troubled that one witness sought by defense lawyers was told by federal attorney Carla J. Martin that he could not speak to them and that Martin falsely Continue reading

March 15, 2006 Posted by | Courts, Government, Terrorism | Leave a comment

   

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