The Supreme Court Giveth and the Supreme Court Screweth Up…

On the same day the US Supreme Court handed down the perfectly reasonable decision in Graham v. Florida, discussed here on this blog, they chose to trash the entire concept on which the American justice system is based.

While this wasn't a Texas case, it is still important as long as we live in a state which has an express lane for the death chamber and is more than willing to do everything it can to imprison people for as long as possible.

The ABC News story is here, but basically what the SCOTUS did was allow federal officials to continue to detain prisoners past their sentence, if they were considered by the officials to be "sexually dangerous" after their prison terms are complete. The prisoners in that case were a group of 4 men who had been charged with possession of child pornography or sexual abuse of a minor.

Now folks, I find pedophilia as repugnant as any of you do but the issue here is that a judge or jury looked at these men, their crime, and determined a sentence for them based on the facts. The men then served that sentence but a government official decided it wasn't enough. The appeal was based on a law that gave federal officials the power to decide this on their own, ignoring what occurred during the trial.

What is the long term effect? How many people are in prison right now for multiple DWIs?

Could our Texas politicians, seeking to curry favor with voters, run to the legislature next years and pass a law allowing our prison officials to make these decisions? And could they word it broadly enough to cover other crimes? Would they ?

Too much power. We have a justice system, we have juries to make these decisions, not politicians or toadies.

Shame on you SCOTUS! Shame on you!


About the Author

Lawyer X
Lawyer X is the pen name of a former attorney who now spends all of his time writing and consulting. While in practice he was involved in both criminal and civil trials across the United States, including picking or helping to pick juries in hundreds of civil and criminal cases. In addition to his work as a trial lawyer, Lawyer X wrote articles, lectured at continuing legal education seminars, and was active in the legal community in many ways. He maintains anonymity now so that he can provide knowledge from inside and express honest opinions and viewpoints that other members of the legal community would just as soon weren't shared.