Thursday, September 3, 2009


According to Jane Kramer writing on Michael de Montaigne, in the Sept. 7th New Yorker, Montaigne also doubted the nature of Justice, concluding that there may be "no truths, only moments of clarity passing for answers." I know, pretty high-toned for a Bad Lawyer--but, the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham, an innocent man in Texas leaves me feeling aghast. The Willingham news comes on the heels of Justice Scalia (see: contending in writing what we already knew, innocence is no defense to a constitutionally rendered death sentence. Ah, the human comedy.

I've been struggling with the feeling of impending doom and arguing with the past. Re-arguing debates and cases long lost to history--like the failure of the laws in this Your State to understand that children raped by their parish priest, or by a relative might be incapable of bringing a timely criminal or civil action. You see we get all absorbed with idiocy, spectacular, video-ready stories that narrate what we do or do not know; and, as a result we distract ourselves from the rape up the road. The child up the road doesn't count because to dealing with that would implicate our faith, our family status quo, our personal feelings and sense of security.

Today, a former client called me to tell me that a particularly vile Priest had lost his Canon Law Court case and had been defrocked for molesting lots of little boys in his care over a 40 year career. When I originally reported this vile priest to the Catholic authorities there was a parish meeting that made the Health Care Town Halls seem like prayer meetings. One parent asked me how I "slept at night." Back then I slept blissfully, thinking that I was on the margin of justice. Sometime later NPR did a piece on "falsely accused" priests and this clown and his supportive parish was the example. I do not feel vindication learning as I did to day that this priest was defrocked after a full examination of the evidence--he should be in prison--instead one of his victims sits in prison, an alcoholic wet-brained former fire-fighter now a violent felon.

Justice, no not even a moment of clarity.

1 comment:

  1. If you are shocked that Texas executed a person who was innocent of the crime for which he was executed, then join us in Austin at the Texas Capitol on October 24, 2009 for the 10th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty.

    At the 7th Annual March in 2006, the family of Todd Willingham attended and delivered a letter to Governor Perry that said in part:

    “We are the family of Cameron Todd Willingham. Our names are Eugenia Willingham, Trina Willingham Quinton and Joshua Easley. Todd was an innocent person executed by Texas on February 17, 2004. We have come to Austin today from Ardmore, Oklahoma to stand outside the Texas Governor’s Mansion and attempt to deliver this letter to you in person, because we want to make sure that you know about Todd’s innocence and to urge you to stop executions in Texas and determine why innocent people are being executed in Texas.”

    “Please ensure that no other family suffers the tragedy of seeing one of their loved ones wrongfully executed. Please enact a moratorium on executions and create a special blue ribbon commission to study the administration of the death penalty in Texas. A moratorium will ensure that no other innocent people are executed while the system is being studied and reforms implemented.”