The national media has been buzzing all week about the execution of Troy Davis in Georgia. Davis was convicted of killing off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail. I haven’t followed the case closely, but for those interested in reading more about it, here is a piece that argues that Davis was innocent, and here is one that concludes that he was guilty. In other news:
1. Texas also had an execution this week — of Lawrence Brewer, who chained James Byrd Jr. to a truck and dragged him to death in a 1998 hate crime. Brewer requested a last meal of “two chicken fried steaks, a triple-meat bacon cheeseburger, fried okra, a pound of barbecue, three fajitas, a meat lover’s pizza, a pint of ice cream and a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts,” but reportedly didn’t eat any of it. As a result, and at the request of a prominent Texas state senator, Texas has abolished the practice of allowing condemned inmates to choose their final meals.
2. Here in North Carolina, two men who were convicted of murder are now free. As the News and Observer reports here, a three-judge panel acting at the behest of the Innocence Inquiry Commission released Kenneth Kagonyera and Robert Wilcoxson, who previously pled guilty to second-degree murder in connection with a Buncombe County home invasion. Another man subsequently confessed to the murder, and DNA evidence apparently corroborated his admissions.
3. On a — literally — lighter note, the WSJ Law Blog reports here on a Florida lawsuit concerning the practice of flashing one’s headlights to let other motorists know that a law enforcement officer is in the area. Apparently Florida police have ticketed motorists for doing so, which the lawsuit contends violates motorists’ First Amendment rights. Maybe I’ll be able to convince Shea to analyze this issue under North Carolina law in a future post.
4. Finally, one of the most interesting characters on the federal bench — Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit — is at it again. He was in the minority in the recent case of Comite de Jornaleros de Redondo Beach v. City of Redondo Beach, which concerns a city’s ability to prevent day laborers from congregating on public streets and sidewalks. Chief Judge Kozinski felt so strongly about the matter that he had his opinion produced not merely as a dissent, but as a “deep dissent,” began the opinion by stating “[t]his is folly,” and later claimed that “[t]he majority is demonstrably, egregiously, recklessly wrong. If I could dissent twice, I would.” Tell us how you really feel, Judge Kozinski!