This week, international stories dominated the news cycle, and that means some justice issues that normally would have received more coverage were buried. Here are a couple stories I think you should know about:
When Shanesha Taylor’s babysitter fell through, this homeless, single, war veteran mother made a desperate decision: she left her young children alone in a car for 38 minutes in 70 degree temperature while she went to a job interview. When she returned, her children had been taken away, and she found herself charged with two counts of felony child abuse. Last Friday, prosecutors offered a pre-trial diversion plan that will allow Shanesha to avoid prosecution. My team helped Shanesha and her lawyer handle the press in this high-profile case. Yesterday, Shanesha spoke out for the first time on the Today Show.
Last winter, Ranesha McBride, intoxicated, was banging on a stranger’s door in the middle of the night. The resident, Ted Wafer, opened the door and, seconds later, shot McBride in the face after she allegedly tried to push through his screen door. The trial started this week, and while the defense should have a classic self-defense scenario, Wafer confused the issue when he claimed the shotgun went off accidentally. An accidental shooting could be manslaughter. A self-defense shooting is justifiable homicide. It will be interesting to see how the defense deals with this problem.
Here’s a report on the trial from this week.
Here’s my take on the defense’s dilemma from and opinion I wrote last year.
Another Botched Execution
Wednesday, Joseph Wood struggled to breathe for nearly two hours during a botched lethal injection in Arizona. This comes just months after an execution-gone-wrong in Oklahoma convinced the governor to temporarily put a hold on executions while they investigated what went wrong. Last week a Federal Judge in California ruled the death penalty in that state is unconstitutional -- mostly because of the “dysfunctional administration of California’s death penalty system.”
In April, I wrote an op-ed for CNN entitled “Execution, a 19th Century Relic We Still Can’t Get Right.”
Read a report about the most recent botched execution.
Here’s a report about the California decision.