Friday, May 20, 2011

People v. Vines (Cal. Supreme Court - May 19, 2011)

I'm reading this case, which is in the California Supreme Court, and I had an inkling that, since it was there, it was probably a death case.  Maybe even read a line that said so.  But when I'm reading the facts, I'm thinking:  "Wait, they sentenced this guy to death?  This looks identical to virtually every single murder that's ever been committed."  A reaction that was only reaffirmed when I read the evidence in aggravation, which was basically none.

Vines shot a guy while robbing a McDonald's.  He was a 21-year old African-American in Watts.  He was previously convicted of burglary.  No torture.  No sadism.  No nothing, except (obviously) a murder.

Apparently that's good enough to distinguish you from everyone else who only gets life in prison.

(Again, I know there are those who say that virtually every murderer deserves death, and I get that.  But it's not the law.  How we differentiate those who live from those who die seems to me a continuing problem.)