Standing Firm on Shaky Ground
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 16th January 2017

July 16, 2013 2:41 pm ET

Sun columnist Dan Rodricks holds his ground in second piece on murderer releases

Source: Standing Firm on Shaky Ground

Despite all my attempts, I just can’t figure out the liberal mindset when it comes to the recent “let murderers out of jail” issue. Do these people really believe that justice is being served?

Dan Rodricks sure does.

In Mr. Rodricks first column, he took issue with our justice system holding senior citizens behind bars for crimes like shoplifting … um, wait. Did I say that? Silly me, it must have been more serious crimes like traffic violations or theft. Wait, no, that’s still not right. What was it that they were in jail for again?

Ah yes, it was murder. These “senior citizens” killed people, and not in self-defense. Rather, they are in jail for first-degree murder, which is the cold and calculated killing another human being. (Hence the severity in the name.)

Am I being too harsh here? I mean, judges and juries may confuse the various degrees of crimes, right? Maybe some people on the jury were listening to the weather report in the jury box and not paying attention to the true facts like they should have been?

Based on Mr. Rodricks’ thinking, some words spoken by judges while instructing the juries in murder trials were dead wrong (no pun intended), and—because of those words—everyone gets a “get out of jail free” pass.

Let’s take a look at how out of the thousands of words used in a capital murder case a few sent the appeals court into a tizzy, after which lose some heinous criminals were let loose on society once again.

(Now, mind you, if you use Mr. Rodrick’s approach, the age of the criminal will exonerate all that is evil. Try telling that to the victims’ families.)

And just what do the victims’ families have to say on the matter? Just ask Shirley Rubin, who made the following remark in another Sun article (a statement that was left out of Mr. Rodrick’s piece): “Releasing these prisoners is a disgrace to the word justice. And it is an insult to Benjamin Rubin’s memory. It offers no justice for me or my family.”

Care to respond, Mr. Rodricks? I didn’t think so.

OK, maybe it is too difficult to face a widow. Let’s try something a little less intense, but still heinously criminal. It may not be brutal enough to warrant going to jail for a long time, but at least you should know how the victim feels.

And right now, the victim doesn’t feel too good.

After reading the second attempt to ignore the victims and glorify the criminals, I decided to research some of the cases to which Mr. Rodricks was referring. Strangely enough, I couldn’t find any. Mr. Rodricks did not refer to any of the brutal crimes, but his “ink” was mixed with plenty of tears for the killers.

So, as a public service, I thought everyone would like to know what some of these felons did.

Neil Cohen was convicted of killing 13-year-old Toni Lee Jordan in 1979. Evidence in the case included a written confession in which Cohen wrote that he killed Jordan because was she “getting on his nerves.”

Today, life in prison is much too cruel of a punishment for Neil. After all, he is a senior citizen these days. It’s a shame that 13-year-old Toni didn’t get that far.

Let’s take a look at another one—this victim received the death penalty for walking his dog. “Stanley Mitchell was convicted of killing 68-year-old food market executive Leo Shapiro in 1980. Shapiro was killed walking his dog outside his Mount Washington home.”

I wonder if Stanley is soaking up some rays with a bottle of suds these days. Regardless, Mr. Shapiro is not able to drink anymore, love anymore, or anything else. Remember those hallowed words of those folks in those funny ties. Maybe the ties were too tight that day.

As a result, the Court of Appeals let several murderers walk, and Mr.Rodricks thinks that is OK because the murderers are senior citizens. Now that I think about it, the members of the court are all senior citizens, so maybe they should walk too, as in “walk away from the bench and walk out the door.”

Now let’s take a look at some of the absurdity of Mr. Rodricks’ words and thought process. These are all direct quotes from Mr. Rodricks’ column:

·         On the sacrosanct principle of a defendant being presumed innocent until the state can prove guilt, the judge said this: “You are instructed, in an advisory way, that it is incumbent upon the state of Maryland to establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”

·         Here’s how, in 1973, an obviously conflicted Baltimore judge instructed a jury in a murder case:

·         In 1980, the Court of Appeals finally dumped the “advisory instruction.” But it said its ruling applied only to future cases.

·         It took the notoriously slow court another 32 years to declare, in 2012, the instruction unconstitutional and apply it to all cases before 1980. You’d think the high court of this ostensibly progressive state would have seen the light much sooner. That would have served justice and saved a lot of grief.

Here are my responses to this nonsense:

1.       I assume the court takes into account the words “advisory” and “instruction.” I can advise or instruct anyone; however, when the human element is involved, the outcome of these words is unpredictable. I would think that the jury members are doing their job in seeking the truth, but even that is unpredictable.

2.       Mr. Rodricks, did you talk to that “obviously conflicted Baltimore Judge?” I bet you are just guessing as to his mental state.

3.       The court said it applies to future cases. So why is it causing problems today for cases that were decided more than 30 years ago?

4.       “That would have served justice and saved a lot of grief.” Not for the victims or their families.

Just for dramatic effect, let me give Mr. Rodricks the nickname “Lt. Dan.” Because then, I can use the following to close this blog:

Lt. Dan, you missed the boat on this one.

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