“Let “Her” Have it”!

(Post author Mark Jukes from BCU LD team*) 

Death row inmate Teresa Lewis is pictured in this undated photograph, September 23, 2010. Lewis, who is convicted in the October 2002 hired killings of her husband and stepson, is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Thursday, September 23, and would be the first woman executed in Virginia in nearly 100 years. UPI/Saveteresalewis.org Photo via Newscom

Does this quote ring any bells?

Well, to some of us familiar will remember this was the famous alleged line (although it was “Let Him Have It”), from Derek Bentley which sealed his fate at the gallows in 1953 for shooting a policeman.

Teresa Lewis died early today after being given a lethal injection at the Greensville Correctional Centre.

The first woman to be executed in Virginia since 1912,and the first in the USA for 5 years,and a woman who had a borderline mental retardation (USA terminology),with an IQ of 72 and additionally diagnosed with Dependent Personality Disorder.

In the UK, the sentence handed down to Derek Bentley in 1953 produced outrage over his execution, although he was labelled as being illiterate and of low intelligence – he wasn’t deemed as being “Feeble-minded” under the then Mental Deficiency Act. He was granted a Royal Pardon in respect of the sentence of death,and in 1998,the Court of Appeal quashed Bentley’s conviction for murder.

1. In an EU protest,the ambassador to the US wrote: “We consider the execution of people with mental disorders of all types is contrary to minimum standards of human rights”.

2. Contemporary opinion does not seem to learn from cases such as Bentley where the issue of Capacity and Aquiesence to crime is particularly of note with people who have learning disabilities.

Instead we have politicians who refuse to budge on giving a reprieve to what the rest of us consider as “unsafe” convictions.

In my opinion this flies in the face of human rights and ignores this womans vulnerabilities in the cause of ‘justice’ – I deplore this.

JARRATT, VA - NOVEMBER 10:  A correctional officer directs a driver outside the Greensville Correctional Center November 10, 2009 near Jarratt, Virginia. Condemned DC sniper John Allen Muhammad is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 9 p.m. at the center for the shooting death of Dean Harold Meyers at a gas station in the Manassas area of Virginia on October 9, 2002.   (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Reference:

1. www.ccrc.gov.uk/CCRC_Uploads/Bentley_Derek_-30_7_98.pdf

2. www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/09/24/us-state-ignores-outrage-with-execution-of-retarded-woman-115875-22583855/

(* Sorry – ongoing tech problems prevent me labelling the post author correctly)

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Comments

How can this be called justice? I agree that if someone breaks the law then they should be punished according to the law of that country but this case clearly has the distinguishable fact of the lady’s ability to judge right/wrong.

This is not justice. This is a criminal act in itself. I was once taught that a society should be judged not on its achievements but on how it treats its lowest member. How should this country be judged then?

Justice is blind? I am not surprised that double standards have been exposed here but realistically standards are set to the political climate of the time, not to objective criteria.

This comes as no surprise to those of us who have lived and worked in the U.S. The Americans (yes, I am aware that this is a generalisation) have a dream. If you work hard then you can get anything you want. The dream will be yours. Ergo if you are poor or disadvantaged then you are idle and not worthy of care. Just consider the difficulties the Clinton administration and the Obama administration have had in introducing welfare bills. But this treatment of the less capable is not confined to the U.S. In the U.K. mental health and learning disabilities have always been the poor relations in the NHS. My concern now is that this will spill into our government’s care of the vulnerable in society. G.Ps have the money, they know and have relationships with their patients, they will have to face them to justify their funding, who will lose out? Those with whom they do not have personal relationships,the less useful to the wealth of the state?

Another sad day in American history, self inflicted. The hypocrisy of a country that is quick to condemn others for inhuman acts.

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