Thursday, August 23, 2007

Let's Get This Party Ended

On August 30, a Texas convict is set to be executed for murder, even though everyone acknowledges he did not kill anyone. Kenneth Foster was the driver for a group of friends who went about town robbing people at gunpoint one night in 1996 when one of those friends got into an altercation and shot a man dead.

Foster is no angel, indeed. But we don’t execute people for robbery in this country. Well, yet. Under a Texas statute referred to as the “law of parties,” though, anyone who was a party to a murder can be convicted and executed for it. That’s how Foster ended up on death row.

I remember as a kid getting in trouble when a member of my group of friends unexpectedly did something they weren’t supposed to do: tossing an object at a car, taking an item from someone’s driveway, etc.

How are we to know what our friends are thinking about doing, and why should we be held responsible for their actions? Are we the fucking Borg Collective or something?

Foster should’ve only been convicted on the robbery and weapons charges. Unfortunately for him, Texas seems to be competing with China for the title "Most Execution-Happy Place On The Map."

10 comments:

Jack K. said...

I can agree with you about the death penalty. It is too easy on the perpetrator.

As for running with a group and not knowing what they will do, I have a problem with that. When we first run with them, why do we do so? Usually because we think they are cool. And why? Because of their behavior. It doesn't take us too long to realize that they are doing things that are generally considered inappropriate at the least.

I speak from the experience of spending a night in jail because a friend was in the habit of using an "Arkansas Credit Card" to obtain his gas. A classmate who had a case of the ass at me turned us both in for siphoning gas. I had never done it, but I was sure to have a legal problem because of the friendship.

He was already out of school and had no one to stand up for him. My step-father appeared with me before the alderman.

The outcome--I joined the Air Force and my friend got 18 months in the county jail.

So did I know that he was doing wrong? Yes.

Did I try to convince him to change his behavior? Yes.

Did it do any good? Probably not.

I agree that the punishment for Kenneth Foster is Draconian. However, he probably had full knowledge of the kinds of behavior his friends would exercise, and the probable outcomes of getting caught.

Pete Bogs said...

jack - hanging with a bad element is certainly not recommended... but I don't think guilt by association should be the law of the land... it's not justice to punish the innocent... Foster should be punished for the things he did, not the ones he didn't do... if he'd known in advance that someone was going to kill another, it would've been his legal and moral duty to stop it and/or tell authorities... doesn't seem like the case here, though...

capital punishment, of all penalties, should be used sparingly...

LeftLeaningLady said...

*sputtering*

Can't talk, overwhelmed by the stupidity.

I am against Capital Punishment every single day, but THIS. It is bad enough that we put people to death who we think are guilty (even when they aren't), but to knowingly kill someone who is innocent?

I really am thankful that it isn't Florida pulling this, though.

Jack K. said...

Pete, I believe the rationale/rationalization is to deter folks from running with others who are all eat up with the stupids.

As with other capital crimes, it doesn't seem to work.

Foster needs to spend time in jail, unless this was his mission.

Who knows. We can and should work to repeal the death penalty.

Pete Bogs said...

jack - you're probably right about the deterrent angle... but even with a death penalty many murders still occur, as you know... deterrents don't necessarily work, and killing a non-murderer is too high a price to pay...

we're one of the few civilized countries that still has a death penalty, I believe... I'm not counting places like Saudi Arabia, where you can be beheaded in public for moral lapses, as civilized...

Aunty Belle said...

Sorry, Sweet chile' but we'uns in Floridy have the same law--or did last time Aunty sat on a jury.

19 year old kid was the driver fer a friend whose past girlfriend was marryin' another fella. "I'm going to be the s*** out of that SOB" was what the driver buddy was tole' so he went along fer the ride and when the groom ter be was murdered at his own rehearsal dinner, Both young men was charged and tried fer murder one.

The judge done tole us all, that in Floridy, it was the law that a "co-conspirator" in a felony assault (or murder) case was tried as if he or she were the one who actually killed a person.

In another case, a high school kid drove another kid to cabin of a man they was aggravated wif--idea was ter burn down the cabin..so they doused the place wif' gasoline and set it afire.

An' the driver kid was burned ter death in the explosion that followed--the the survin' friend was charged wif MURDER--on account of bein' responsible fer a death that occurred during a felony to which youse a participant.
(That kid got 20 years in prison, out in 12 on good behavior)

Ever know that if youse rear-ended by a air-head paintin' her lips in her mirror while drivin' that YOU is charged wif the accident iffin' youse drivin' on a suspended license? Law's thinkin' is the accident would NOT have happened if ya had not been violatin' the law first.

Pete Bogs said...

aunt b - in the murders you mention, it sounds like the person convicted was IN ON the crime... that's different than what I'm talking about... your first example sounds like one person was the killer but both knew what was going to happen... not the same as two friends going out with one plan and one of them deciding to do something else once they get there... again, that requires us to be mindreaders... foreknowledge is the key here, as I see it... if you had it, you deserve a harsher penalty than if you didn't...

Aunty Belle said...

Sugar, Aunty ain't disagreein' wif ya a'tall. Jes' saying that foreknowledge ain't the criteria--commitin' a felony is.

Kenny Foster was in on robbin' folks at gunpoint. Ya' akshully think he did not know a body might git kilt?


So, think fer a minute now--iffin' he had not been in the middle of robbin' people,(felony) he could not have been party to a killin'. Thas' how the law reads it--youse already settin' yoreself up fer a murder rap the minute youse comfortable wif' a felony fer fun scenario.

Pete Bogs said...

when it comes down to it, this blog is about how things are, and how they should be... clarity amid the muck... the powers that be doesn't always exhibit common sense; someone has to call them on it...

Infinitesimal said...

If you do not have the right (pun intended) friends, the terrorists will win.