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by Peter Moskos

April 12, 2008

Waiting for execution

There's a lot of pathos in this video. And a hell of a Baltimore accent.

A visit to Maryland's supermax. And quite an indictment of the criminal justice system.


Anonymous said...

What's the indictment that you see? That it's taken 25 years for his appeals to be exhausted? I can see something of a vindication that three juries convicted the guy--but if you're concerned that it took three trials, and that there must have been at least two major errors for that to happen, then I understand.

PCM said...

There's no vindication in having your parent murdered and then having to deal with the criminal justice for 3 trials and 25 years.

It’s the thought that this poor woman has had to deal with this for so long that bothers me.

The problem with the criminal justice system and that nobody who deals with it benefits. Nobody wins. Nobody. Except lawyers and cops making overtime.

It's broken, and I don't know how to fix it.

ppatin said...


John Booth (the death row inmate in question) was not tried three times, he was sentenced three times. The guilty verdict against him was never overturned, however two death sentences were tossed because of technicalities (NOT "major errors"). In fact, one of his sentences was thrown out because of a Supreme Court case that was so flawed (Booth v. Maryland) that the court ended up overruling its own decision within a few years. Death penalty appeals have nothing to do with truth or justice, they're pure legal gamesmanship.

PCM said...

I would argue the entire court system is more legal gamesmanship than any quest for truth or justice.