Saturday, December 15, 2012

Capital Punishment Laws Not Administered Fairly?

Yesterday we looked at the 18 crimes that qualify for capital punishment in Alabama and how they are hardly fair in themselves. Still such laws are necessary and will never be perfect. How about how they're administered?

Commit murder while in the process of raping your stepdaughter? Shaun Shapley got 25 years, agreed to it, and is now still contesting his plea bargain. Fair? Hardly.

Shoot into your estranged wife's vehicle as she's fleeing after a heated argument? Tony Woods wasn't convicted for Capital Murder but for only Felony Murder. Where's the logic?

Strangle your ex-sister-in-law during an argument, pull both pairs of pants down (we translate this as a rape attempt), and dismember her body? Ronald Weems was indicted for only Felony Murder--there just aren't words for this.

Now a man who may or may not have mental problems, one who's been the victim of several crimes, shoots into what he deems a suspicious car he's attempting to stop at 3:00 in the morning, accidentally kills an occupant, and he's indicted for Capital Murder. We're guessing it won't play in court, and we'll have some new information on this tomorrow.

So, to the point, what can we do to correct the problems with Alabama's capital murder laws? Short of completely starting over, it's not going to be easy...


Jerry Don Crowden? What can you say about this 40 year-old man who's been in trouble since before he was 10 years old? When he was about 10 his father was killed in a horrible car crash. I don't know anything else about Jerry Don's dad, but at least one Facebook commenter has posted he wasn't such a law abiding citizen himself.

When I first saw Jerry Don's name in the paper, the Law and Order section, many years ago, I hoped someone would get him some help. Over the years he's threatened to burn down his mother's house and to tie his truck to a teacher's house and pull it down, committed statutory rape (he was 30; she was 14), and been involved in as much crime as John Dillinger ever was. And he's just been arrested again.

I'm not sure there's any hope for Jerry Don now. I'm also not sure if he's been convicted of any violent crimes, so the best/worst he can get is a life sentence with the possibility of parole. It's what he deserves, but I still have to ask if anyone ever really tried to help him.


Congratulations to Valdosta State in their Division II championship victory today!


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