Tuesday, January 25, 2005

"Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled..."

Reading the prodigious efforts of a friend and fellow blogger, I've been shamed into making a puny effort of mine own.

The title of this post is thus both an inside joke and a tribute to Robert Burns, whose birthday is today. Have some usquebaugh! Have some haggis (or kishka, if that's your bag)! Also, blink and you miss it, but it's Tu B'Shvat today! Yay!

Anyway, something substantial: I picked up that "Sixty Days for Sixty Years" book in shul. Actually very nice effort from our brethren (soon to be literally so for me) in the UK. Anyway, it seems to me that while in the US and Israel we commemorate the Holocaust with Yom Hashoah (and, to a lesser extent here, on the anniversary of Kristallnacht), throughout Europe, the commemoration is on the anniversary (this week) of the liberation of Auschwitz. I don't know if that means anything- my suspicious mind sees glorification of the "glorious Red Army" at work, but probably not- but it's something to consider about Israel/Diaspora relations, US/Europe relations, and so on.

Anyway. It's as good a day as any to remember them, and learn in their memory. Of course, the usual suspects in Europe are using this as an opportunity for more Israel-bashing (and, basically, anti-Semitism).

One more question- I am a humble lawyer, and thus can't understand the intricacies of staying an execution to see if someone was competent to refuse a defense- after he confessed, was convicted, sentenced, and sat on death row through appeals for two decades? Let's say he wasn't competent- so what?

1 comment:

Liz said...

My sense of culture would surely be missing something if I didnt have you as a chum. As always, thanks!

As to your question of the day re: competency evaluation after-the-fact, so-to-speak, check out the American Psychological Association website on this topic. Its not so much that its a good website, cuz its not - rather the references at the bottom are impressive. Here is the part that pertains to your question:
WHEREAS death penalty prosecutions may involve persons with....Procedural problems, such as assessing competency, take on particular importance in cases where the death penalty is applied to such populations (Skeem, Golding, Berge & Cohn, 1998; Rosenfeld & Wall, 1988; Hoge, Poythress, Bonnie, Monahan, Eisenberg & Feucht-Haviar, 1997; Cooper & Grisso, 1997);

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Psychological Association:
Calls upon each jurisdiction in the United States that imposes capital punishment not to carry out the death penalty until the jurisdiction implements policies and procedures that can be shown through psychological and other social science research to ameliorate the deficiencies identified above.

In other words, at times we stumble over our own ground work of democracy at times, but its better that we still have enough moral fibre that forces us to question everything, rather than not.