Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Libby's Justice and Karla Faye Tucker's Demise

A number of publications like the Independent are carrying a spin on the Scooter Libby sentence commutation that has my ire.

It goes about like this: the President pardons his crony Scooter when back when Bush was the governor of Texas he wouldn't pardon Karla Faye Tucker, a woman on death row who'd experienced a religious conversion.

Parenthetically, the historical accuracy of the Independent's article is pathetically weak. Karla Faye Tucker was not 'the first woman executed since the civil war'. Far from it.

There actually have been fifty since 1900, including one in Texas in 2000, Betty Lou Beets and another in Texas in 2005, Frances Newton. You can read about it here.

Folks, Article 2 section 2 of the constitution gives the President the power to order reprieves and pardons. It's unfettered, unappealable, and rarely granted.

Libby did no more than have a semi convenient lapse of memory in front of a grand jury that hurt no one. As a first time, nonviolent offender with a good record of public service, the likely outcome of the case would have been probation and a suspended sentence, were it not for the federal sentencing guidelines, which more or less turned the federal judiciary into a vending machine.

I am not a Republican, I didn't vote for President Bush, and I do not like him or his crew.

But in this case, President Bush got it right. Libby is no great criminal genius or evil mastermind and he's going to pay through the nose like all convicted felons. A felony conviction is the gift that keeps on giving and he'll never be rid of the dishonor. All that happened is his sentence is going to be suspended. That's it. He'll report to a PO like all the other felons and his life will be an open book.

And Karla Faye Tucker? What sunk Karla Faye Tucker? Confessing to police that every time she swung the pickaxe into some poor fool's chest that she had an orgasm is what sunk her.

The person she killed with a pickaxe was the victim in a meth fueled riot of violence that started when she and her lover decided that the victim was too lame to own a Harley Davidson and ought to be punished for his impertinence.

That's what led her to the executioner.

Making any sort of comparison of the offenses of Karla Faye Tucker to the pecadilloes of Lewis Libby is a specious politically motivated crock.

Now. I'm not a religious man but I do study on it as it is sometimes informative about matters of great weight. There's a connection between mercy, justice and repentance that runs deep.

At the very least, the people of the state of Texas are entitled to determine the matters of law and punishment that fall within their borders.

Without justice being served mercy and forgiveness are irrelevant nonentities.

In Alma II, the judge asks his son: "What? Do you suppose mercy can rob justice? I say, nay. Not one whit."

It's worth pondering here in this winter of my discontent.


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