Thursday, October 17, 2013

Not A Big Fan Of The Death Penalty, But Articles Like This Make Me Reconsider...

A Florida prison accidentally released two inmates from a Panhandle prison who are convicted murderers, according to published reports.
An employee who answered the phone early Thursday at the Franklin Correctional Institution in Carrabelle, Fla., said she was not allowed to comment on the situation.
Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins, both 34, apparently walked out of the facility separately "in accordance with Department of Corrections policy and procedure," CNN quotes Department of Corrections secretary Michael Crews as saying. "However, both of their releases were based on fraudulent modifications that had been made to court orders," Crews said.
Dead people seldom escape.


  1. The problem with the death penalty is that most of the time it only goes to people who are convicted on circumstantial evidence. The guys who get caught red-handed with lots of witnesses plea bargain and get 60 years or whatever.

    And whoever decided that imprisonment is a proper punishment in the first place? There's no imprisonment in Leviticus or Deuteronomy.

  2. The bureaucracy is always the weak link in the chain. Court documentation is not difficult to forge. The difficult part is to get it to be passed through official channels. Either someone in the Clerk of the Court's Office was in on the con, or someone working in the Records section pulled it off.

  3. On the one hand, this story highlights how systems managed by people can fail.

    Fraudulent modifications to court orders? Or just mistakes?

    Either way, a system designed to contain murderers has failed.

    On the reverse side, all sorts of systemic failures can attend the system of generating death sentences.

    And as RobK comments, the easy-to-convict cases have all the incentive they need to plead down to a life-without-parole sentence.

    Prisons aren't mentioned in Leviticus or Deuteronomy. But avengers-of-blood are mentioned...families would send an avenger because very little legal structure larger than family/tribal elders existed. Cities of refuge are also mentioned.

    So is the demand for multiple witnesses in a capital-punishment case.

    American law has some relation to the moral law found in the Pentateuch, but a larger structural similarity to the old Roman system, and the Courts of Common Law established by the Kings of England.

  4. Willie Horton was serving life without parole for murder when he was allowed out of prison on an unsupervised furlough.

    Roger Humphreys was serving 20 to 40 years for a double murder when he was pardoned (his father being a crony of the governor).

    Winston Mosele was serving life for the murders of Kitty Genovese and two other women when he broke prison. (He was sentenced to death; capital punishment was abolished in New York, and he became eligible for parole.)

    Jack Henry Abbott was serving 3 to 22 years for killing a fellow inmate when he broke prison, robbed a bank, and got a 19-year additional sentence. He was serving that sentence when his "literary abilities" got him paroled with the assistance of Norman Mailer.

    No executed murderer has ever escaped or committed another crime.