Friday, January 28, 2005

Why the death penalty must be outlawed

According to the N.Y.Times, they may seek the death penalty in the case of the suicidal person who allegedly caused the massive train wreck in California:

The charges include the special circumstances of using the train, which could make the man, Juan M. Alvarez, eligible for the death penalty. Mr. Alvarez may also face federal charges in the train derailment.


He was to stand in court Thursday afternoon and answer the charges, but his appearance was postponed until Friday, prosecutors said, because he was too weak from wounds he made to his wrists and chest before the wreck.

Steve Cooley, the Los Angeles County district attorney, said in an interview that he would not decide whether to seek the death penalty until the case was thoroughly reviewed by his office.

His voice firm with anger, Mr. Cooley called Mr. Alvarez a self-centered man whose aborted suicide attempt on the Glendale railroad crossing led to 11 deaths in the early morning darkness Wednesday. Two hundred people were injured. The body of one man was burned so badly that it had yet to be identified.

"Because this man was distressed, 11 people are dead from his selfishness," Mr. Cooley said. "They said he was not well enough to appear today. Hopefully, they will patch him up so we can get this case rolling."

Yes, I know, eleven deaths is a tragic thing. But Mr. Cooley seems to be motivated more by anger and hatred (or could it be politics?) than any rationality. The guy was trying to commit suicide. "Gee, let's help him! That'll scare the pants off him!"

To be sure, I'm not sure that they can even make a murder case stand here, I think the only person that Mr. Alvarez intended to kill was himself. And then he seems to have changed his mind even at that, and then tried to get the car off the train grade. At best he may be guilty of manslaughter, or negligent homicide, possibly, but I don't see a murder prosecution ... with a death penaly at stake ... unless someone's out playing politics here. And that, my friends, is the biggest "crime" here.

The part that really frosts me is this: "They said he was not well enough to appear today. Hopefully, they will patch him up so we can get this case rolling." Quick, patch him up so we can hang him. Whatta maroon. . . .

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