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sábado, febrero 07, 2009

Saving 49, strike that, make it 51 Lives (Part 8)

This may be my final, daily essay on this topic. This is my essay for Sunday, February 8, 2009, but I'm putting it up now.

This essay is about reason number 2,781 for signing this petition and for emailing Attorney General Holder at or to ask the Attorney General to reconsider whether prosecutors should seek the death penalty in the pending 49 50 51 federal death penalty cases, and when he determines that these cases are not appropriate for that extremely barbaric, horrific, inhuman penalty (no cases in actuality are ever appropriate for the death penalty), to direct prosecutors not to seek the death penalty.

As you can see, something distressing happened on Friday.

Unfortunately, the November, 2008 election didn't stop Bush and his Attorneys General from making decisions about which federal cases merited the death penalty. They continued to order federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty even as they were on their way out the door. And so on Friday, February 6, 2008, we learned that the United States Attorney for Connecticut had been directed by the former Attorney General to seek the death penalty in the case of Azibo "Dreddy" Aquart and his brother, Azikiwe "Zee" Aquart, and that a notice that the death penalty would be sought was filed in Federal Court in Bridgeport. I have no idea how many other notices will now be hauled out, all asking that the death penalty be imposed in federal cases, the final barbaric legacy of a corrupt Attorney General's office.

The Connecticut Post reports:

BRIDGEPORT -- Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for two brothers accused of ordering and participating in the 2005 triple murders of rival drug gang members.

Acting U.S. Attorney Nora R. Dannehy notified Senior U.S. District Judge Peter C. Dorsey that her office will be seeking the death penalty if Azibo "Dreddy" Aquart, 28, and his brother, Azikiwe "Zee" Aquart, 29, are convicted "for one or more of the intentional killings" of Tina Johnson, 43: her boyfriend, James Reid, 40; and a visiting family friend, Basil Williams, 54.

The trio was found covered with blood after being bludgeoned to death in an apartment at 215 Charles St., where the Aquarts are accused of running a crack cocaine trafficking ring.

The faces of all three victims were covered with duct tape.
The Aquart brothers were indicted this past June. They remain incarcerated.

This isn't the first time the Attorney General ordered Connecticut federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty.
In 2003, federal prosecutors tried Luke "Mega" Jones, the head of a violent drug trafficking ring based in the P.T. Barnum Housing Project, on operating a continuing criminal enterprise that engaged in murder.

It was the first federal death penalty trial in at least 50 years in Connecticut.

After hearing evidence, Senior U.S. District Judge Alan H. Nevas declined to allow the death penalty charge to go to the jury after determining one of the murders was not linked to drug trafficking. Instead Nevas imposed four life sentences and two 10-year terms on Jones.

But apparently, even though Connecticut has a state death penalty statute, in Republican Attorney General land, it's always try, try, try again. Try to spread death. Try to expand state killing. It's always dogged persistence in the service of killing.

I think those of us opposed to state killing also need to be persistent. I've tried to model persistence for the past week. I will no doubt continue in the future. In the battle to end state killing, we repeatedly need to take to heart the wisdom of the Dalai Lama:
Never give up
No matter what is going on
Never give up
Develop the heart
Too much energy in your country is spent
developing the mind instead of the heart
Develop the heart,
Be compassionate
Not just to your friends but to everyone,
be compassionate
Work for peace in your heart and in the world
Work for peace, and I say again
Never give up
No matter what is happening
No matter what is going on around you
Never give up.

And so, I ask you again, dear reader, please don't give up. Not now. Not ever.

Please ask Attorney General Holder to review each of the now 51 cases in which federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, and ask him to determine that the death penalty is not appropriate in these cases, that a maximum penalty of life without parole will suffice. As I've said before, that's not asking a lot.

Please join the 115 people who have signed this Petition since February 2, 2009. Please sign the petition.

Please email the Attorney General at or You can use this text or make up your own 500 character text:
Please review all of the determinations made by previous administrations to seek the federal death penalty. There are 49 defendants who presently face the death penalty because of decisions made by former attorneys general. Many of these decisions overruled local US Attorneys' views, were politically motivated, and do not meet the expressed criteria of the present administration for seeking execution. Such a review can save lives and restore confidence in the justice department. Thank you.
Please do all you can to stop state killing.

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