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.


The real face of sequester


I took Tim’s photo today.  It is appended to this post.  He is the most experienced and senior investigator for the Nebraska Federal Public Defender’s office.

After 18 years of serving the impoverished clients of the FPD (and years of experience before that as a Lieutenant in a metropolitan police force), Tim’s last day is April 30, 2013. Out he goes.  Tim takes with him, and thus deprives the FPD’s clients of, the highest level of skill, wisdom, integrity and common decency that one can imagine.

This is the real face of the sequester, and it is a tragic one.


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