The death penalty is not different–at least when it comes to the sequester

I took the week off to visit with the kids and grand kids from China.  I thought nothing could fuck up my mood.  I was wrong.

After the first judge who had the case died, I accepted an assignment of a habeas death penalty case in another district. The guy is facing the death penalty for the murder of a child. It is undisputed that the petitioner suffered serious physical damage to the brain when he was about 12 years old after being hit by a truck. An MRI of the brain shows atrophy of a significant portion of the frontal lobe.  The Federal Public Defender and its excellent Death Penalty Habeas Unit has been appointed to represent the guy.  For all involved, the case is a hard one, both legally and emotionally. It has been dragging on forever. Today, I learned that one of those fine defense lawyers has lost her job because there is no money to pay her, and she must move to withdraw. That’s the real face of sequester and it enrages me.


5 responses

  1. The worst part to me, even worse than the fact that she must withdrew due to the forced penury of the Federal Public Defender’s office, is that so MANY pork projects and so MANY completely worthless departments get the money instead. There are so many truly vital public goods that a government can provide. You mentioned the Klingons in another post, so perhaps it is fitting that Edith Keeler and James T. Kirk should have the last words here:

    KEELER: I think that one day [The Government] will take all the money they spend now on war and death–
    KIRK: And make them spend it on life?

  2. Demosthenes,

    Even though I prefer the Klingons’ bad ass behaviors, Kirk, as always, had a point! All the best.


  3. Pingback: What if we focused on things that really mattered? | a public defender

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