8/18/2005

An Editorial to Agree With

At times, I disagree with the Washington Post. But I have to agree with today's editorial on Edgar Killen. Mississippi finally prosecuted and convicted Killen of mansluaghter for the brutal murders of James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, civil rights activists murdered in Mississippi in 1964. However, Judge Gordon has released Killen on bail pending an appeal.

Judge Gordon justified the release on the grounds that granting such an appeals bond is generally required by law in manslaughter cases in which the convict is not a danger. But Mississippi law is not as flip as all that. The judge has discretion, and in any event, the burden is on the convict to show "by clear and convincing evidence that [he] would not constitute a special danger to any other person or to the community." And as prosecutors argued Monday in an emergency petition to the state Supreme Court, Mr. Killen simply cannot show this. This is somebody, after all, who orchestrated the deaths of three people. In 1975 he was convicted of felony telephone harassment for threatening to kill someone. On the date of his much-belated arraignment in the civil rights killings, a bomb threat caused the evacuation of the courthouse, and the state attorney general alleges that a relative of Mr. Killen's threatened to kill the trial judge. After his conviction, Mr. Killen made threatening comments to one of his jailers. This simply isn't a man who ought to be on the streets while he challenges his conviction. Washington Post


No, this isn't a man who should be released on bail. He is a terrorist who organized a hateful group of people to kill three innocent men. He is still attempting to intimidate people through threats of violence. He makes a mockery out of the word preacher. I do not understand Judge Gordon's reasoning. Killen already has had 41 years of freedom. That is too many. He should remain in jail during the appeals process.

10 Comments:

Blogger Mark said...

I agree.

8:25 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...

It took us in Mississippi too long to get him convicted and then to see him released on bail makes me so mad.

8:31 PM  
Blogger Esther said...

Methinks perhaps that Judge Gordon was threatened.

10:37 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...

He was threatened before the start of the trial. Even if was threatened again, Killen should still be in jail.

2:34 AM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

Good post, good issue. I can tell you from experience as a lawyer who has practiced in Mississippi on civil rights issues, there is the very real possibility that the judge was intimidated. Not exactly a profile in courage, eh?

By the way, I love that comic strip you post. . . . Any news on the photo contest?

1:47 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...

Jonatahn,

Thanks. I've posted about Killen's trial a couple of other times. I didn't know you practiced in Mississippi on civil rights issues. Please know that the majority of us who live in Mississippi are disgusted by groups like the KKK, David Duke and others who would try to keep people from enjoying their freedom and rights.

I won't know about the photo contest until next month.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

Oh yeah . . . Mississippi higher ed, Tunica County . . . School desegregation issues, and some employment discrimination. (I do other stuff, now.) Believe me, I know what you say about the people there is true. The state gets a bad rap. There were some pretty bad folks, there, too, and I never told anyone which hotel I was staying at. But I have mostly great memories of Mississippi. Especially the catfish.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...

jonathan,

I'm glad that you were able to meet with some good people and that most of your memories of Mississippi are good ones. Did you have hush puppies and cole slaw with the catfish? Only way to enjoy it!

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

"Did you have hush puppies and cole slaw with the catfish? Only way to enjoy it!"

Agreed! I have a lot of catching up to do on your more recent posts. Just as you urged me to keep an open mind about Mississippians, I urge you to keep an open mind about my views on "other" subjects. I am a moderate, but in the eyes of extreme conservatives, that looks like liberalism. Just goes to show you how far the pendulum has swung to the right.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...

jonathan,

I am actually considered a liberal by some people I know!! I do try to keep an open mind and am not affliated with any party. I vote by who I think will do the best for our country.

4:18 PM  

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