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Back in August 2012 Marvin Wilson was executed in Texas for murdering a single person.  He had an IQ below the legal level of metal retardation, so it is arguable that he could not form the 'intent' that is generally considered a necessity for murder.  The prosecution said Wilson was the mastermind of drug ring.  His accomplice, Terry Lewis, was given life in prison.

Compare this to < href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/12/12/ethan_couch_affluenza_texas_teen_spared_prison_time_in_deadly_drunk_driving.html?wpisrc=burger_bar">Ethan Couch who is responsible for killing four people and injuring 11 others.  He was previously found at 15 with a passed out naked fourteen year old girl and the police simply gave him a ticket.  In this incident, at 16, he was drunk, with a blood alcohol level of 0.24, and high on Valium.

His punishment for getting drunk illegally, driving a car illegally, and killing four people?  Ten years probation, and rehab at a half million dollar in patient facility.

Oh yeah, this is a rich white kid with rich parents.  His defense is that he a rich kid who parents never disciplined him.  Given that the cops found him with a naked passed out underage girl.  Now, it is an affirmative defense that he was not three years older than her, but that assumes there was no duress, which if the girl is passed out one has to question.  Yet he apparently received a ticket and was told to go on his way.

So, he received probation.  Why this light sentence?  Because he was rich, never was taught right from wrong, so could not make the common sense decision not to get drunk, not to drive at almost twice the posted speed limit, and not to kill other.  

Now we could just  attribute this to the fact that death penalty is overwhelming given to minorities, and one has to do something truly gruesome to receive it if you are white.  But I think that is missing the point.  This is representative of a fundamental divide between rich and poor.  Like the fact that crack is still punished much greater than cocaine.  Or that the Bush girls, who were guilty of identity theft an attempting to buy alcohol at 19, were given a slap on the wrist.  The driver license, which all alcohol establishment warns kids will be suspended, by all reports was not.

What we have here is a situation where people of certain social standing, or people of certain races, will do whatever is needed to defend their right to kill other people.  We see this in Treyvon Martin case where George Zimmerman was set free because some people consider it their right to carry loaded weopons a look for opportunities to kill other people.  What would happen in a person was actually convicted of murder for killing a single black boy?  Chaos would ensure.  Rich people would be put in jail left and right.  Likewise, what would happen if a rich boy were to be put in jail for killing a commoner.  Parent's would not be able to sleep at night thinking that their privileged kid live might be ruined because the totally by accident killed a family of four.

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Comment Preferences

  •  These aren't equivalent cases. (6+ / 0-)

    The 16 year old was a minor with no criminal record who appears to have no intent to kill the people he did.

    Marvin Wilson was a career criminal who committed first-degree murder as an adult.

    •  My thought exactly. (3+ / 0-)

      Really, this comparison is just silly.

    •  it wasn't exactly an "accident" (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnosahon, sturunner, a2nite, Old Sailor

      .24 BAC and Valium in his system. The Prosecution was asking for 20 years.

    •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Flying Goat

      While I think the result is outrageous, you don't get the death penalty for vehicular manslaugter, not even in Texas.

    •  so your legal theory is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Old Sailor, tommymet

      Is if there is no record, then one gets one free murder.  I see where you are going, if a kid has not been in trouble before, then why ruin his life for one mistake.  I mean one rape, or one mass murder(which for shootings is defined as four or more people), or one torched building should not mean time in jail.

      16 year old was a minor with no criminal record
      However, this again misses the impact of race and wealth.  My friends who were wealthy routinely got out of traffic tickets and minor offenses because they had good lawyers.  They had no record.  On the other hand another friend was walking to school and got stopped because someone had reported a black boy had stolen some tires.  He went all the way to court and fortunately there was no evidence, and he did not do it, he had no reason to steal tires, but he could have easily had a record.  The argument being promoted is that my wealthy friends who regularly did drugs and stole stuff should be allowed a mass murder(for guns defined as four or more killed), but not the one guilty of only walking while black.
      appears to have no intent to kill the people he did.
      And this is where the two cases are equal.  Intent to kill.  What is it, and what makes intent to a legal standard?  Suppose I was mad at my friend and disable his car tail lights hoping he would get caught by the police and given a ticket.  I have intent of hurting anyone, because he is the only one who drives it, so there is no danger.  Lets say that, unfortunately, his family decides to take his car because the other one has insufficient gas(has happened to me).  Suppose that they get into an accident because the other drivers cannot see the car, and the kids in the back end up dying and the parents are paralyzed.  As I have no record, and I did not mean for anyone to get hurt, it was just a prank, should there any punishment beyond paying for the car and probation.  I mean I cannot be sent to rehab, and should be in jail as I am a minor with no record and it was just a prank, it would be unfair, right?
  •  It is well known that DUI lawyers have (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hayate Yagami, sturunner, Old Sailor

    a nice racket going wrt to clients who can pay well.

    For example, I once didn't believe that and was urged to attend the local county court proceedings on a random day to get clued in, with a lawyer acquaintance who wasn't all that far up on the totem pole, but knew enough to explain what was going on.

    So I obliged, and spent a couple of hours doing so, and a noteworthy case was some guy who was up for his 9th (yes 9th!) DUI and got off with probation and some "attend 90 meetings (e.g. AA or MADD type productions) in 90 days" schick).  Basically, a slap on the wrist.  

    But before any of this went down, my lawyer acquaintance had whispered to me "that guy's lawyer costs $25,000 a shot, don't be surprised at anything that happens from here on in").

    He nailed that one!  In retrospect in as "well duh" type of way considering the fees involved.

    •  America's "Justice" system in action. nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy, Old Sailor

      "He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

      by Hayate Yagami on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 11:35:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  A tangent to that anecdote is that you can (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hayate Yagami, sturunner, Old Sailor

        learn a lot just sitting quietly off to the side.

        For example, a conversation between 2 DA's who mentioned that one offender had hired [some attorney] showing that he was taking the situation seriously, so they'd recommend probation to the judge.

        Whereas some other offender, who had done pretty much the same thing, but hadn't hired an attorney, apparently wasn't taking the situation "seriously" and therefore they were going to recommend jail time to the judge.

        It was all I could do to just sit there quietly (as opposed to saying "WHAT THE FUCK?? DID YOU EVER THINK THAT ONE OF THESE PEOPLE COULD AFFORD TO HIRE A LAWYER AND THE OTHER ONE SIMPLY COULD NOT!!!).

        But yeah, that's the American "Justice" System in action.

        •  Prosecutors try to roll pro se defendants (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Old Sailor

          I  represented a kid who's crime was tresspassing. He and others were smoking cigarettes in an abandoned house. They didn't evn break in as the boards have come off the door. He went with his mom to the first court appearance and they threated him with jail time. This is accurate in that you can get jail time for tresspassing, but a kid with a clean record, who harmed no one and committed no property damage was not going go get jail time. Then they hired my firm and we got him off pretty light: he had to do ten hours of community service and write a report to the court on what he did and the charges were dismissed.

  •  Regarding your question: "What would happen if... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Swig Mcjigger

    a person was actually convicted of murder for killing a single black boy? "

    A recent case:

    John H. Spooner Gets Life Term For Killing Darius Simmons

    The fact that this happened doesn't negate your point, but it is not as absolute as you depict.

  •  This part isn't true at all (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Be Skeptical
    Now we could just  attribute this to the fact that death penalty is overwhelming given to minorities, and one has to do something truly gruesome to receive it if you are white.
    In fact, the majority of people executed are white.
    http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/...
    •  You're both wrong (0+ / 0-)

      lol, just kidding. A more useful stat would be what percentage of blacks convicted of capital offenses are executed as compared to whites. Or what percentage of blacks that commit crimes that may be prosecuted as capitol offenses are charged as such, as opposed to the prosecution opting for other non-capital charges or a plea bargain; as compared to whites.

    •  Well...ok...but the ratios are not even close (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Old Sailor

      Your assertion that "majority of people executed are white" and the stats listed there, doesn't address that whites are about 75% of the population total and blacks are 13% and thus, you would expect that more whites are executed than blacks since there are simply more whites than blacks in the US. In fact, while there are 6 times more white people overall than blacks, assuming the incidents of crime is about the same in both populations(and it is) the numbers of whites executed are far less than that ratio. It is 1.6 white to 1 black executed since 1976, per your source.  

      What was far more telling about the racial disparity in our justice system on your source page was this:
      White Defendant / Black Victim (20)
      Black Defendant / White Victim (263)

      When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.-Mark Twain

      by Havoth on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 12:16:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  current population (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tommymet, Old Sailor

      According to you page, the current population of death row inmates, i.e.those that the death penalty has been given to, though not carried out, is only about 43% white in a population that is about 63% white.  In Texas the death row population is less than 30% white in a population where whites are about 45%.  While this may not be overwhelming, it is significant.  On is about 1/3 less likely to be on death row if white, and about while about 50% more likley if not white.

      As usual, those that live a post racial world want read the data in such a way that all the ills have been transformed.

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