Speaking of jury duty

So I got my service deferred today, mainly because the case I might have been a juror on was a 3-4 week affair and I'm ditching San Francisco soon for south Florida to see my girlfriend during Stanford's spring break. Not that I'd have been on the jury anyway--it was a mesothelioma lawsuit and the defense certainly wouldn't want someone as, ummmm, cavalier toward the rights of corporations to make hazardous materials as I am to sit in judgment. But I couldn't take the chance that I'd wind up on the jury and out of Florida, and so I am to return in just over a month to take another shot.

But on a far more serious note, the Supreme Court overturned a Texas death sentence yesterday. They gave it the double whammy, finding 7-2

that prosecutors violated the constitutional rights of Delma Banks Jr. by withholding information that his defense lawyers could have used to discredit a key prosecution witness during his 1980 sentencing hearing.

By a vote of 9 to 0, the court also ruled that Banks should be allowed to appeal his murder conviction because prosecutors may have improperly withheld information during the phase of the trial in which jurors found him guilty of killing 16-year-old Richard Whitehead -- a crime he denies committing. Banks is black; Whitehead was white, as were all 12 jurors.

Now before ripping into now-President-formerly-Governor-of-the-Sovereign-State-of-Texas Bush, as I would otherwise be tempted to do, the article does say that he had no role in the case. Just wanted to clear that up, because I'm not one to take cheap shots unless they're accurate cheap shots.

But there are two sets folks who do deserve a sharp kick to the groin over this matter--the Texas prosecutors who knowingly allowed false testimony by two of their witnesses to go unchallenged, and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals which has now had 2 Texas death penalty cases sent back by the Supreme Court--a court, I might remind you, hasn't exactly been chomping at the bit to stop executions.

Note to the 5th Circuit--if this Supreme Court has reversed you on two death penalty cases in two years, you might want to tighten up your act a little. I know it's easy to get distracted in The City that Care Forgot, but these are real people you're allowing to be sentenced to death. The least you could do is put down the Hurricane for a minute and notice the irregularities. Just a thought.

Oh, and just to keep the google-bombing fun and alive, I'd like to wish Senator Rick Santorum a happy same-sex wedding/belated Mardi Gras boob-flashing/general bacchanalia kind of day.

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