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Judge Fine’s ruling about the death penalty

I’m sure this will get a lot of attention.

A Houston judge on Thursday granted a pretrial motion declaring the death penalty unconstitutional, saying he believes innocent people have been executed.

“Based on the moratorium (on the death penalty) in Illinois, the Innocence Project and more than 200 people being exonerated nationwide, it can only be concluded that innocent people have been executed,” state District Judge Kevin Fine said. “It’s safe to assume we execute innocent people.”

Fine said trial level judges are gatekeepers of society’s standard for decency and fairness.

“Are you willing to have your brother, your father, your mother be the sacrificial lamb, to be the innocent person executed so that we can have a death penalty so that we can execute those who are deserving of the death penalty?” he said. “I don’t think society’s mindset is that way now.”

The motion was one of many submitted by defense attorneys Bob Loper and Casey Keirnan arguing Texas’ death penalty was unconstitutional for their client, John Edward Green Jr.

Loper said he and Keirnan were pleased by Fine’s ruling, which will be appealed and almost certainly reversed.

Here’s an updated story that’s a bit more clear about what this means. I’m not qualified to analyze this, but fortunately Mark Bennett is, so you should just go and read what he has to say; read this, too. It’s pretty complex and doesn’t translate well for general audiences; my eyes have glazed over, that’s for sure. But if you want to have some understanding of what actually happened, that’s your best bet.

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