Feb 02, 2010

With Friends Like This....

Frank Spisak was convicted of horrific murders and sentenced to death in Ohio. But you might forgive him for wondering which side his defense attorney was on.  During the penalty phase of the trial, when the jurors had to choose between life or death, Spisak's lawyer told the jurors that:

1. The murders were gruesome, and he recounted the awful details.

2. Spisak was undeserving of their sympathy.

3. Spisak had not done any good deeds and never had good thoughts.

4. Spisak is demented, he will never be any different, and he has threatened to commit future crimes.

Despite its conclusion that the defense attorney's remarks were "constitutionally inadequate," the U.S. Supreem Court upheld the death sentence.  The reason was that a better argument wouldn't have produced a different result.  As Justice Stevens remarked, even Clarence Darrow wouldn't have been able to save Spisak from a death sentence.

Maybe so, but I bet Darrow would not have sounded like he wanted to cast the first ballot for death.