Thursday, April 09, 2015


Quick note today...

Emotional day around here yesterday, as the surviving marathon bomber was convicted of all 30 charges against him, including all of the Federal charges that carry the potential of the death penalty. I have somewhat mixed feelings about this...not about his guilt, but about the trial and the penalty phase.

To recap: he admitted to placing the bombs. He admitted to shooting the MIT cop. His lawyers acknowledged in their opening remarks that he was unquestionably guilty of murdering four people. Those charges, taken alone, would have led to his four-times-over guilt of the single worst charges under State law. In other words, four times the maximum penalty. And by most accounts, he was willing to plead guilty to those murders.

The only charges in dispute were the Federal charges, which basically amounted to "Terrorism". There was only one reason to charge him with this: the death penalty. Murder charges are State charges, and Massachusetts does not allow for the death penalty. Terrorism charges are Federal, and carry that potential. The purpose of trying him at all was to convict him of a charge that he was not willing to plead guilty to: the Federal terrorism charges.

I guess I just don't see the point of the trial. Not that it was a huge circus, but it kept this animal in the public eye for two months, it allowed for this bizarre pop-star style fetishization of him, tied up enormous law enforcement and legal system resources and forced the re-living of all of the raw emotions of that day.

And for what? So we can execute him...after we exhaust 10+ years of extraordinarily expensive appeals? After we let that ridiculous fucking Rolling Stone cover be plastered on the news 100 more times every time he is in court for some minor hearing? (Side note: someone needs to put that fourth-rate rag out of its misery already.) So that we can make him a martyr for a cause that he just spent two months claiming he didn't really care that much about..?

The death penalty is super expensive. And it's irreversible. And it doesn't deter crime or, obviously, rehabilitate criminals. The only real argument for it is that some people are just so incredibly horrible that this is the only punishment of appropriate severity. By that benchmark, clearly, if anyone deserves it, this shit does...

But, I dunno...I'm just not feeling like we get much out of this other than a little bit of vengeance. Frankly, sending him to Florence ADX seems a much worse fate.

1 comment:

Robbie said...

I agree! Send him to Florence. That is a death penalty in itself. I think the media having to have the scoop and having to win the ratings war had a lot to do with why there was a trial- I am just glad it wasn't done like OJ's was, where it took over the tv for 6 months.