Mississippi Supreme Court Presiding Justice Michael K. Randolph wanted to speak his mind, and he wanted to speak his mind right the hell now, in the first medium available to him.
As it turned out, that was not in a letter to the editor or a tweet or a LiveJournal post or in a screed made up of letters ill-cut from discarded magazines. It was in an order stopping the State of Mississippi — temporarily at least — from killing Willy Manning.
Willy Manning came so close to death he could smell the alcohol swab. But finally — with the Federal Bureau of Investigation questioning the reliability of its own forensic analysis and testimony in the case, with other elements of the case plagued by doubt, and with untested DNA samples available, the Mississippi Supreme Court was moved to stay his execution pending further proceedings, which will probably include the DNA tests he has been fighting for.
Presiding Justice Michael K. Randolph, by contrast, was moved to use his dissent from the stay to tell America what he thinks of the FBI. In addition to saying all of Manning's arguments should have been raised before — a familiar and unremarkable argument — and apparently having no other outlet, he let fly with this:
The letter also states that the Department of Justice is "assist[ing] [the Innocence Project and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers] in their evaluations." "The Innocence Project supports a moratorium on capital punishment." The "NACDL has been an outspoken critic of the death penalty system. Of critical concern is the language contained in the first FBI report stating that, "[g]iven the abbreviated time frame for review, the FBI requests the Innocence Project (IP) to advise as to whether or not they agree with the FBI's conclusions as soon as possible." Although the connectivity and expediency by which this review was accomplished is mind boggling, I should not be surprised, given that the families of the victims of the clandestine "Fast and Furious" gun running operation can't get the Department of Justice to identify the decision makers (whose actions resulted in the death of a border agent and many others) after years of inquiry, and that this is the same Department of Justice that grants and enforces Miranda warnings to foreign enemy combatants." [emphasis in original]
Mississippi has chosen this man to help decide whether inmates should live or die or spend the rest of their lives in dank holes. This should not cause you any concern, or weaken your faith in our criminal justice system. I'm sure his judgment is sound, his temperament ideal, and all of his faculties equal to the task.
Hat tip to Brian Tannebaum.
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