A Case Against the Death Penalty
April 25, 2009

If Death Penalty Advocates Had Their Way, This Innocent Man Would be Dead

If Death Penalty Advocates Had Their Way, This Innocent Man Would be Dead

On This Date In History:  Here’s an example of why I am against the death penalty.  Before you get too riled up, it’s mainly because it assumes a perfect system and the release of James Richardson from 21 years on Florida’s death row on this date in 1989 illustrates my point.  In 1967, his seven children were poisoned to death after his neighbor came over and heated up a meal for the seven Richardson children while Richardson and his wife were out picking fruit in the fields.  The kids all began foaming at the mouth and subsequently died.  The prosecutor told the jury how Richardson had met with a life insurance salesman just the day before about insuring his whole family.  They had found the poisoned food in the home and the poison behind in the family’s shed.  That’s it…guilty!!  Well, the prosecutor didn’t tell the jury that the insurance salesman came by unsolicited and that Richardson never bought any insurance because he couldn’t afford it.  The jury also was never told that…the neighbor was on parole for…poisoning her first husband to death!!! She was suspected of killing her second husband as well. 

Are All of These Men Guilty? Would You Bet Your Life on It?

Are All of These Men Guilty? Would You Bet Your Life on It?

Fortunately the truth came out and the Richardson got out of jail after 21 years but the man was supposed to go to the electric chair.  There was a mistake.  The prosecutor was a bum, the guy had a crummy defense attorney and the jury was wrong.  It happens in an imperfect system but the death penalty is irrevocable.  If this guy had been killed, what do you tell the family “whoops?”  Where does his wife go for justice?  If the guy was executed, why would a case like that not be negligent homicide for the jury and judge and murder for the prosecutor?  See…that is my point. It’s an imperfect system yet there is an ultimate penalty.  Before you get really really bent out of shape, consider the real problem with this story…the parole of a murderer.  Had that neighbor woman been left in jail to serve her sentence instead of being paroled, it wouldn’t have happened.

Capital punishment is perfect but the system is not.  One mistake is not worth it.  If judges, juries and prosecutors were told they would be held responsible for a mistake in a capital case, do you really think there would be many death sentences?  Life in prison is a greater punishment in my opinion and it at least leaves open a potential remedy in the case of a mistake or like this case, injustice by a wayward prosecutor.  Here’s something else that I find ironic regarding the capital punishment…ever notice the number of people who proclaim themselves as pro-life, yet support the death penalty?  If you say that all life is precious, then how can one be for the death penalty? 

Beautiful Story with Sad Ending

Beautiful Story with Sad Ending

 Samantha Smith became an international celebrity on this date in 1982 as a 10 year old when the Soviet Union published a written response to her letter to Soviet Premier Yuri Andropov in which she asked if the USSR was going to start a nuclear war.  This is a cute, feel good, reflective story until you reach the end.  Samantha Smith died in a plane crash at the age of 13.  Try this link for more:

http://www.samanthasmith.info/

Crockett Tells a Bear Tale

Crockett Tells a Bear Tale

Davy Crockett became famous on this date in 1831 when a play called The Lion of the West opened in New York. He was played by an actor who was famous at the time named Hackett.  Later on books and stuff came out and the mythology of Crockett was born, especially after he was killed at the Alamo.  But, one thing is for certain, PETA would not have been a fan.  Myths that are based on real people usually have a measure of truth.  In Crockett’s case, the references to him “skinning a bahr” (bear) perhaps came from the fact that he once killed 105 bears in Tennessee in one season.  If this is indeed a fact, then its no wonder we don’t see too many bears in Tennessee these days. 

Nice Shirt, Dick.

Nice Shirt, Dick.

No Bowling Shoes!

No Bowling Shoes!

President Truman put in a bowling alley at the White House on this date in 1947.  If you recall, during the election, then Senator Obama went bowling.  Perhaps he knew of the White House bowling alley and thought that practicing on the lanes was part of the audition.    If so, he needs a little help. I think he bowled something like a 37.  Turns out, Truman didn’t like bowling too much either but he had it installed so that staffers could recreate and start a league.  In 1955, the lanes were moved to the Executive Office Building but in 1969, President Nixon had a single lane put back in.  Before he took office, President Obama said he was going to give up on bowling and replace the lane with a basketball court.   Not sure if he’s gotten around to it yet.

Edward R. Murrow might be celebrating his 101st birthday today if he hadn’t smoked so much.

sat

Weather Bottom Line:  If you look at the channel shown above with the slight risk and moderate risk in the middle in the plains, then you  get a fair idea of where the action should be for the next several days.  We’ve got a ridge over the Southeast and the weakness and the jetstream will be oriented from the Southwest through the plains toward the Great Lakes.  Impulses of energy will be ejected from time to time through the region and severe weather will probably break out in that area at varying times.  On Tuesday, we get a front coming through as the ridge breaks down a bit.   Until then, we will see lots of sunshine with highs in the low to mid 80’s.  Snow White and I went to the Reds and the Braves last night.  It was a wonderful night.  The weather for a baseball game in Cincinnati will be outstanding through Monday, when the Astros show up…they better hope for rain because the Astros suck right now.

http://alphainventions.com/

alphainventions

Justice System Perfect? 35 Years for 5 Dollars!
March 16, 2009

What if You Were in Jail for 35 Years Over a $5 Theft? Justice Served?

What if You Were in Jail for 35 Years Over a $5 Theft? Justice Served?

On This Date in History:  In recent years, there have been legal cases in the news in which an person accused of a crime have been cleared following DNA testing.  Just a week or so ago, a tv news magazine show had a story about a man who was in prison for rape for 11 years.  The victim was absolutely sure that he was the attacker.  But, DNA evidence pointed to another man.  While people claim that we have the best legal system in the world, cases of the wrong person being put in jail have been a part of legal history since the inception of the country.  It is for this reason that I am against the death penalty.  It assumes a perfect system, which it is not.  While there is no evidence that a convicted and executed person was later exonerated, it is possible.  In non capital cases, at least you can release the wrongly convicted.

clarencegideonfonda

The Real Clarence Gideon

The Real Clarence Gideon

When someone is released from prison after he has been found to be guilt free of a crime, the state often compensates the person for their incarceration…which is tough because it is difficult to ascertain the worth of a portion of someone’s life.  Sometimes, compensation is given to people who may have been guilty but whose time did not fit the time.    That is exactly what happened on this date in 1966 when Stephen Dennison was awarded $115,000 after being imprisoned for 34 years after being convicted of stealing a $5 box of candy.  This case may have had some connection with the 1963 Supreme Court Case of Gideon v Wainwright.  That case was turned into a made for TV movie called Gideon’s Trumpet starring Henry Fonda.

Elimira Reformatory

Elimira Reformatory

Dennison was 16 years old when he plead guilty in a New York court in 1925 for stealing a box of candy worth about five dollars.  He was given a 10 year suspended sentence.  That seems pretty fair.  But, he failed to make a monthly report to a local minister which was part of the deal.  So, Stephen was shipped off to the Elmira Reformatory in 1926.  The following year, he was given a rather interesting classification.  He was designated as a “low grade moron” and sent to the Institution for Male Defective Delinquents(Dannemora).  There he stayed for nearly the remainder of the 10 year sentence.  Just 6 months before the sentence was completed, he was sent to the state hospital for the criminally insane.  There was no judicial review or court hearing.  He was simply given a certificate of lunacy.  I’m not sure if that is the same of getting a certficate of broadcast meteorology or not.

Guards at Dannemora

Guards at Dannemora

Anyway, Stephen had a half brother named George who fought for his release for 24 years.  Finally, in 1960 George gained Stephen’s release on a writ of habeas corpus.  Stephen was 51 years old.  Now, Stephen was deemed a “low grade moron” and a lunatic by the state but he wasn’t stupid.  He sued the state for illegal incarceration and he was awarded $115,000 on this date in 1966.  But, the judge in the case said “No sum of money would be adequate to compensate the claimant…”  Which brings me back to my original point….had this been a capital case…who would or what would be paid in the case of a wrongful execution?

 Weather Bottom Line: Forecast still looks on track.  Cloudy today with highs pushing 60 or so.  Tuesday, more in the way of sunshine with highs in upper 60’s to near 70.  Wednesday, low 70’s.  Cold front approaching will help pick up winds from the south and southwest.  As front moves through, we will see rain chances increase Wednesday night.  Severe threat is minimal…just not enough time for stuff to come together and the timing is no good.  Then we cool down to near seasonal levels for the remainder of the week.

DAY 3 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK 
   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
   0221 AM CDT MON MAR 16 2009
  
   VALID 181200Z – 191200Z
  
   …NO SVR TSTM AREAS FORECAST…
  
   …SYNOPSIS…
   SOME AMPLIFICATION OF THE UPPER PATTERN IS FORECAST THIS PERIOD…AS
   THE FLAT TROUGH CROSSING THE N CENTRAL CONUS EXPANDS AS IT MOVES
   INTO ERN CANADA/ACROSS THE GREAT LAKES REGION. 
  
   AT THE SURFACE…A COLD FRONT WILL CONTINUE MOVING EWD ACROSS ERN
   CANADA/THE NERN CONUS…AND SEWD ACROSS THE MIDWEST/OH
   VALLEY/CENTRAL U.S. THROUGH THE PERIOD.
  
   …MID MS/LOWER OH VALLEYS INTO THE OZARKS…
   RETURN FLOW MOISTURE IS FORECAST TO BE LIMITED ACROSS THE S CENTRAL
   CONUS AHEAD OF THE SAGGING SURFACE FRONT…AS A SURFACE RIDGE
   PERSISTS ACROSS THE NRN GULF/GULF COAST REGION RESULTING IN
   ELY/ENELY LOW-LEVEL FLOW ACROSS THE GULF OF MEXICO.
  
   WHILE THE MARGINAL MOISTURE COMBINED WITH RELATIVELY COLD MID-LEVEL
   TEMPERATURES /AROUND -18 C AT H5/ SHOULD YIELD AMPLE AFTERNOON CAPE
   FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS INVOF THE
   FRONT…CAPE SHOULD PROVE INSUFFICIENT FOR WIDESPREAD SEVERE
   POTENTIAL.  ATTM…IT APPEARS THAT A FEW STRONGER CELLS — AIDED BY
   MODEST SHEAR FORECAST ACROSS THIS REGION — COULD REACH SEVERE
   LEVELS DURING THE AFTERNOON/EARLY EVENING.  THUS — WILL INTRODUCE A
   LOW PROBABILITY THREAT FOR HAIL/WIND…WHICH SHOULD DIMINISH RAPIDLY
   AFTER PEAK HEATING.
  
   ..GOSS.. 03/16/2009

Cold Front Tonight, Why There are No Bears and A Case Against “Old Sparky”
April 25, 2008

The front is approaching.  Friday will be good though.  The Balloon Glow may be in question as I suspect it will be windy.  The front will have some kick to it but it will be weakening.  It does not appear that there is much potential energy to work with though it will have some dyanmic energy and the thing is coming through at night…the sun might have given it some potential.  Hence, the SPC slight risk is to our west.  Rain should be out of here by mid to late morning.  The clouds may just disappear in a hurry and Saturday afternoon will be great.  Most of Sunday looks good but another front will be coming and rain chances may increase late in the day.  It too is missing something.  It will be difficult for the atmosphere around here to load up following the Saturday morning front, so I wouldn’t get too worked up over it. But, do be prepared for unseasonably cold conditions for the first part of next week…you know…the kind that makes you turn on your heater after you thought that  you wouldn’t need it any more.

On This Date In History:  All sorts of stuff on this date that I’d like to write about but Snow White says that these things are becoming too long.  And what Snow White Says has more power than what Symon Sez.  So, I’ll just tell you one that is a show stopper.  President Truman put in a bowling alley at the White House on this date in 1947. Maybe that’s why Senator Obama went bowling as he thinks that’s part of the preparation.  If so, he needs a little help. I think he bowled something like a 37.

Samantha Smith became an international celebrity on this date in 1982 as a 10 year old when the Soviet Union published a written response to her letter to Soviet Premier Yuri Andropov in which she asked if the USSR was going to start a nuclear war.  This is a cute, feel good, reflective story until you reach the end.  Samantha Smith died in a plane crash at the age of 13.  Try this link for more:

http://www.samanthasmith.info/

Davy Crockett became famous on this date in 1831 when a play called The Lion of the West opened in New York. He was played by an actor who was famous at the time named Hackett.  Later on books and stuff came out and the mythology of Crockett was born, especially after he was killed at the Alamo.  But, one thing is for certain, PETA would not have been a fan.  Myths that are based on real people usually have a measure of truth.  In Crockett’s case, the references to him “skinning a bahr” (bear) perhaps came from the fact that he once killed 105 bears in Tennessee in one season.  If this is indeed a fact, then its no wonder we don’t see too many bears in Tennessee these days. 

Edward R. Murrow might be celebrating his 100th birthday today if he hadn’t smoked so much.

Here’s an example of why I am against the death penalty.  Before you get too riled up, it’s mainly because it assumes a perfect system and the release of James Richardson from 21 years on Florida’s death row on this date in 1989 illustrates my point.  In 1967, his seven children were poisoned to death after his neighbor came over and heated up a meal for the seven Richardson children while he and his wife were out picking fruit in the fields.  The kids all began foaming at the mouth and subsequently died.  The prosecutor told the jury how Richardson had met with a life insurance salesman just the day before about insuring his whole family.  They had found the poisoned food in the home and the poison behind in the family’s shed.  That’s it…guilty!!  Well, the prosecutor didn’t tell the jury that the insurance salesman came by unsolicited and that Richardson never bought any insurance because he couldn’t afford it.  The jury also was never told that…the neighbor was on parole for…poisoning to death her first husband!!! She was suspected of killing her second one as well. 

Fortunately the truth came out and the guy got out of jail after 21 years but the man was supposed to go to the electric chair.  There was a mistake.  The prosecutor was a bum, the guy had a crummy defense attorney and the jury was wrong.  It happens in an imperfect system but the death penalty is irrevocable.  If this guy had been killed, what do you tell the family “whoops?”  Where does his wife go for justice?  If the guy was executed, why would a case like that not be negligent homicide for the jury and judge and murder for the prosecutor?  See…that is my point. It’s an imperfect system yet there is an ultimate penalty.  Before you get really really bent out of shape, consider the real problem with this story…the parole of a murderer.  Had that neighbor woman been left in jail to serve her sentence instead of being paroled, it wouldn’t have happened.

Capital punishment is perfect but the system is not.  One mistake is not worth it.  If judges, juries and prosecutors were told they would be held responsible for a mistake in a capital case, do you really think there would be many death sentences?  Life in prison is a greater punishment in my opinion and it at least leaves open a potential remedy in the case of a mistake or like this case, injustice by a wayward prosecutor.