Hey Doc Copper!

Another LEO Makes the Ultimate Sacrifice

8-3-15

Hey Doc Copper!

I see yet another brother officer was murdered in cold blood recently in Tennessee. Any thought on what we can do to better protect officer safety?

“Sad Sam”

Hey Sam,

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National Security issue?

First of all, please don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting the death penalty is a panacea. Those who work in criminal justice system must be ever vigilant that innocent people are not prosecuted, let alone executed. That’s precisely why there are so many layers of review.

A defense attorney’s ethical duty is to zealously represent their client. This includes a mandate counsel does anything and everything they can, short of suborning perjury or perpetrating a fraud on the court, to acquit their client of any charge they face.

If that means falsely portraying a police officer as a fool or a liar to an unsuspecting jury, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Perhaps it’s better for defense counsel to be required to get away with such shenanigans, if that means it helps better insure innocent defendants don’t have their lives disrupted.

Prosecutors, on the other hand, are duty bound to always acquit the innocent, to convict only the guilty, and to seek a fair disposition in every case they handle. This not only is an equitable way of prosecuting accused criminals; it’s the only way America should handle such cases.

If we must be ever vigilant that innocent defendants are not prosecuted, then it’s even more axiomatic innocent people are not sentenced to death, if found guilty, after a trial by their peers. Now, having said all this, sometimes the ultimate penalty is the only judicious one.

Let’s face some very sad facts. Police officers do not always survive duty long enough to enjoy their retirements. Some find other types of employment. Some do not complete probation. And, others yet die in the line of duty. Some due to negligence. Others are brutally murdered. I’ve buried too many brothers.

Let me explain something. I am a longtime conservative. I don’t like big government. Actually, my default position seems to be to not trust anything big, irrespective of whether it’s big government or big business. Big whatever seems to inspire that phenomenon known as Big Brotherism.

At the risk of appearing to talk out of both sides of my mouth, I find no inconsistency with, disliking big government, while proposing a new federal law be created by Congress. Felons who murder cops are telling society none of us are safe from them.

Some states no longer even have the death penalty. Some in the USA advocate doing away with capital punishment. In death penalty cases, juries are given two choices: death, or life without possibility of parole, aka LWOP. Here’s the problem with the latter.

LWOP is a misnomer. Why? Because it’s not true. For example? In my state (California), at the 30-year mark of imprisonment, the Governor has the legal authority to commute such a sentence. Therefore, jurors who opt for saving a convicted murderer’s life, may inadvertently be responsible for freeing them.

While I am not advocating growing our federal government, we need uniformity in sentencing. Is it right that a murderer in one state faces the death penalty for killing a cop, while a cop killer elsewhere knows the worst they may face is free room, board, and health care, until their release from prison?

Justice delayed is justice denied. We also need to discuss another idea of mine, which I call Capital Court. We can do that some other time. It would amend the U.S. Constitution by adding a brand new federal court that would handle death penalty cases, exclusively, and would place a time limit on the length of appeals. More later…

Doc Copper

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