Sunday, March 11, 2007

Speech Smart

The text of the First Amendment reads as follows:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances".

It may seemed heavy handed to Richard Kimball, Presidnet of "Vote Smart"

what the folks he mentioned in the above guest editorial were doing but in fact they have a Constitutional right to
“peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”.

All those Americans were doing was petitioning a candidate for office (him) their grievances. They were probably business men and women who work very hard at their jobs who are just really ticked off the government takes so much of what they earn and throws it down a rat hole.

No one pointed a gun to this candidate's head. If this person didn’t like what these citizens wanted him to do with their money than he could have told them to “stick it”.

Contrary to what liberals would have you believe, money is not evil. Money belongs in politics because money equals speech. If you don't have money than you don't have speech. If you have no speech you are not going to move votes in your direction.

They don’t deliver the mail for nothing.

You can’t buy a TV ad with your good looks.

If you can’t get on TV or at least have a few mass mailings than you are going to lose to the incumbent.
You have no chance.
-- And people like Richard Kimball like it that way. This “Vote Smart” outfit really wants to make elections less -- not more -- competitive.

I see this sort of befuddled analysis all the time. Liberals want to take away our First Amendment Rights using populist drivel defining money as evil.

“Money is evil so let’s ban money and stifle speech so Republicans lose”.

That’s what they are really saying.

Liberals want to regulate speech TO DEATH. Ann Coulter is right. Consider that you can dance around naked in a nightclub and that’s speech according to the courts.

But if you want to talk about issues in an election that must be tightly regulated with fines and speech codes and millions of forms to be filled out and filed with the Secretary of State.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Joette Katz is a Heartless Bitch

That’s her on the FAR LEFT. I generally try to keep emotion out of my politics. I don’t believe in enemy lists because on one issue you might oppose one official and then on the next issue you will find yourself allied with them. We are all grownups here.

But I am only human and I can’t help but hate Justice Joette Katz. When she dies I hope she goes to Hell and is forced to relive the horrifying crimes she excused so cavalierly as a Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court over and over again.

What bothers me most is how meekly my fellow citizens have accepted her verdicts without question or even a whimper. We should be demanding her impeachment. Or at the very least that she not be re-appointed to another 10 year term which she was last year. Why the anger? Because when a protector himself is killed protecting us that commands action.

And we have cowardly let Trooper Russell Bagshaw down.

This hero was shot and killed because he interrupted a felony in progress. I was furious when Duane Johnson escaped a death sentence. But I my soul screamed in pain when Katz set aside Terry Johnson’s jury-awarded death sentence and a clear unmistakable state statute along with it. Katz’s rationalizations were not only heartless but lawless. She arrogantly considers herself a Super-Legislator. With a sweep of her robed hand she can erase the carefully written legislation of our elected leaders. It’s a power she isn’t afraid to use and I hate her for it. Why bother having elections if our legislation is so easily circumvented?

Katz has earned my undying contempt. Read the monster’s own words for yourself and if you don't agree with me than surely you have no heart in your chest:

the phrase "in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner" …contains an arguably subjective standard that runs the risk of being unconstitutionally vague. Therefore, to avoid constitutional jeopardy for this aggravating factor, we adopted a limiting construction of that statutory language. Focusing on the meaning of "especially cruel," we concluded that an acceptable core construction of this term "must include the intentional infliction of extreme pain or torture above and beyond that necessarily accompanying the underlying killing." …. The Breton decision did not address, however, two additional issues concerning the proper construction of …whether the "extreme pain or torture" that is at the core of "especially cruel" includes the infliction of psychological anguish as well as physical pain; and whether s 53a-46a (h)(4) envisages three separate aggravating factors, so that an independent core meaning must be assigned to "depraved" and "heinous," or whether these terms are to be read conjointly with "cruel" to describe a single aggravating factor.
…Thereafter, in State v. Cobb, 251 Conn. 285, 445, 743 A.2d 1 (1999), we held that reading Breton and Ross together, "they hold that, with respect to the requisite state of mind and consequences thereof, either of the following will suffice for the aggravating factor in question: (1) the defendant intended to, and in fact did, inflict extreme physical or psychological pain, suffering or torture on the victim; or (2) the defendant was callous or indifferent to the extreme physical or psychological pain, suffering or torture that his intentional conduct in fact inflicted on the victim." [FN59] "Evidence of the defendant's callousness or indifference to his victims' suffering would substantiate such a finding, but it would not suffice without some showing of the infliction of extreme pain, suffering or torture on the victims." State v. Ross, supra, 262. [FN60] D Finally, before we determine whether the evidence in this case was sufficient to satisfy this burden, brief comment on the death penalty scheme established by the legislature is warranted. As distinct from those jurisdictions where the murder of a law enforcement officer is, in itself, a statutorily enumerated aggravating circumstance, [FN61] our legislature has enacted "a three-tiered pyramid, in which each tier narrows the class of defendants that may be found eligible for the death penalty." Id., 236-37. The victim's status as an on-duty police officer qualifies his homicide as a capital felony, separate from other homicides, but does not satisfy the requirement that the state prove "the existence of at least one statutorily delineated aggravating factor." Id., 237. [FN62] The victim's status as an on-duty officer at the time of the killing is, as a matter of law, insufficient to establish the aggravating circumstance. See Brown v. State, 526 So.2d 903, 906-907 (Fla.), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 944, 109 S.Ct. 371, 102 L.Ed.2d 361 (1988).
That is not to say that, although all murders are repugnant and shock the conscience, the murder of a police officer in the performance of his duties is not particularly offensive. We agree that it is. That agreement, however, cannot displace our duty to determine whether the manner in which the murder was committed meets the aggravating factor defined by the capital felony death penalty statutory scheme.
The defendant fired seventeen hollow point bullets at Trooper Bagshaw in a period of 6.6 seconds. Based on the forensic evidence, it was determined that the fatal shot was fired in the final nine shots. Bagshaw remained conscious for five to ninety seconds after sustaining the fatal bullet wound, during which time he experienced the physical pain associated with the injury and the psychological pain associated with the knowledge that he had been shot. Although, fortunately, he was conscious only briefly, he lived anywhere from one to fifteen minutes. The state theorized that the homicide was especially cruel in that Bagshaw suffered extreme pain in addition to the pain caused by the fatal shot. According to the state, this extreme pain was evidenced in two forms. First, that Bagshaw uttered "Oh, my God," and lived long enough to turn on the switch to activate the strobe light indicated that he suffered mental pain and anguish during the short period of time in which he remained conscious. Second, the state claims that he suffered pain caused by the shrapnel in his arm that was over and above the pain associated with the fatal shot. [FN63] In support of its assertion that the killing was especially heinous, the state noted the senselessness of the crime, the helplessness of the victim and the satisfaction, after the fact, that the defendant seemed to take in the homicide. [FN64] The defendant contends that the state failed to sustain its burden.
The requisite physical or psychological pain above and beyond that necessarily accompanying the underlying killing must be extreme….
"Extreme" has also been defined as "[b]eing in or attaining the greatest or highest degree ... extending far beyond the norm ... [o]f the greatest severity...." American Heritage Dictionary (2d College Ed.1992). In this case, the absence of "extreme pain or torture above and beyond that necessarily accompanying the killing.. is attributable both to the instrument of death and the rapidity with which unconsciousness and death ensued.
Although the s 53a-46a (h)(4) aggravating factor can be satisfied in a case in which death has been inflicted by a gunshot wound, in order to establish the cruelty there must be something more about the killing than the pain associated with the death resulting from the gunshot.
……Given the manner in which Bagshaw was murdered and the speed with which he died, as reprehensible as the attack was, there is no principled way to distinguish this case from the "ordinary" gunshot death or to differentiate it from the norm of capital felonies. See Kearse v. State, 662 So.2d 677, 686 (Fla.1995) (where defendant grabbed police officer's weapon and fired nine shots into officer's body and four shots into his bulletproof vest, killing did not satisfy heinous, atrocious or cruel aggravating circumstances)… The state theorizes that Bagshaw's last utterance, namely, "Oh, my God," and his last act of activating his cruiser's lights, prove that he was suffering mental pain and anguish from the first moment of gunfire until he lost consciousness. Although Bagshaw's last words certainly evoke great sympathy, such words do not demonstrate extreme psychological pain above and beyond that necessarily accompanying any killing that is not absolutely instantaneous. Moreover, the ability to activate the lights merely demonstrates that the trooper was conscious. Even if these combined factors show an awareness of his situation, we cannot conclude that "the mere apprehension of death, immediately before [or after] the fatal wounds are inflicted, amounts to serious psychological abuse prior to death."
… We conclude that there is no evidence that the defendant in the present case inflicted mental suffering upon Bagshaw "beyond that ordinarily suffered by anyone who is shot to death."
Finally, the state claims that the homicide was especially heinous because it was senseless, [FN68] the victim was helpless and the defendant later expressed satisfaction in his accomplishment. These factors do no more than prove the defendant's intent to kill, something he had already admitted as part of his guilty plea. We have carefully considered all of the evidence supporting the jury's determination that the aggravating factors defined by s 53a-46a (h)(4) were proven. We are constrained to conclude, however, that the evidence was insufficient to meet the state's burden of proof.
...The vile nature of the crime committed by the defendant in this case cannot be overstated, either from the standpoint of Bagshaw's family, friends and colleagues or from the perspective of the community at large. When a peace officer is murdered in the course of his or her duties, the community rightly demands that the perpetrator of that atrocious deed be dealt with in the most severe terms permitted by law. It therefore is understandable that our statutory scheme defines the murder of a police officer as a capital felony, which carries, at a minimum, a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of release.
That same statutory scheme, however, authorizes a sentence of death only when the state has proven beyond a reasonable doubt one of the statutorily defined aggravating circumstances, which, in this case, was alleged to be that the murder was committed in an especially cruel, heinous and depraved manner. As judges, it is our sworn responsibility to apply the law in an objective, reasoned and dispassionate manner. We bear this responsibility equally in all cases, whoever the parties and however unpopular the result. Thus, we are obligated to determine whether there was sufficient evidence that the defendant in fact caused the victim extreme pain and torture above and beyond that necessary to cause his death. In this case, there was not sufficient evidence to support those facts. Therefore, the discharge of our judicial duty in this case compels the conclusion that, under our law, the sentence of death imposed on the defendant cannot stand. The judgment is REVERSED with respect to the imposition of the sentence of death and the case is remanded to the trial court with direction, pursuant to s 53a-46a (g), to impose a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of release; the judgment is affirmed in all other respects.

In this opinion
David M. Borden, Richard N. Palmer and Robert J. Callahan, concurred.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Best Of Ann Coulter

State Democrats Attack First Amendment Rights

To The Editor Of The Day

Now that Democrats have a veto-proof majority in the state legislature, they are moving in for the kill. Democrats not only want to raise taxes and give towns unprecedented power to levy income taxes, they are attacking our First Amendment rights.

State Senate President Pro Tempore Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, wants to use the constitutionally questionable public-financing laws to coerce candidates into accepting speech codes and submission to a new state censorship committee.

Sen. Williams seems to think it's too exasperating running for re-election with these pesky challengers throwing his and his colleagues' voting record in their faces. Sen. Williams complains some candidates are “misleading” voters. Under Sen. Williams' bill, S.B. No. 547, candidates will have to be careful what they say. Sen. Williams' censorship committee will take claims they make and analyze them for “accuracy.” That is, accuracy according to them.

Candidates, predictably Republican challengers, who run afoul of Sen. Williams' speech code, will be fined. Offenders would see their opponents given extra helpings of public (taxpayer) financing to offset this so-called misleading speech.

Connecticut's newspaper reporters have failed to ask Sen. Williams tough questions about his legislation: How can the committee be objective, for example, given the obvious indebtedness these members would have for the incumbents who appointed them? Wouldn't this committee be naturally inclined to support the incumbent majority and defend its policies? Nor has the liberal media asked Sen. Williams why his censorship committee is needed.

Can't voters separate the lies from the truth on their own, as they have been doing? Nobody likes negative campaigning, but putting up with speech we don't agree with is the price of living in a free society. If Sen. Williams has forgotten that, he has been in office too long.

John R. McCommas

Published on 2/26/2007
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