webpup on #MOD

[Tue Oct 31 19:02:27 2000]
<Marcia> Sure did Shannon
<Shannon> It was so good. A must see!
<Shannon> should we begin?
<Marcia> No wait for Dr. B
<DrB> Go for it, Shan.
<Shannon> cool, thanks!
<Shannon> First question....Will the next president have much of an impact on the U.S. Supreme Court?
<Marcia> !
<Shannon> Marcia?
<Marcia> If it's Bush, yes, it may change it to be more conservative
<Marcia> .
<Shannon> What if it's Gore?
<Marcia> !
<Shannon> Marcia?
<Marcia> I guess he can put more liberals in since a few are retiring.
<cat> !
<Shannon> I do wonder whether or not Bush as president would really mean an overturn of Roe v. Wade...
<Shannon> after reading these chapters, I don't know anymore.
<Shannon> Cat?
<cat> According to our text, presidents...
<cat> do not have much influence over the Supreme Court when they try to nominate someone with a similar ideology.
<mike> !
<Shannon> Mike?
<mike> I read that too...
<mike> but I think if someone like Bush...
<mike> is elected their will be...
<mike> a definite...
<mike> change towards more conservatives...
<mike> in the court.
<Shannon> Cat- where did you find that in the text? I am curious because I thought they had success in that area.
<cat> Hold on... Let me locate it.
<Marcia> !
<Shannon> cool...thanks.
<Shannon> Marcia?
<Marcia> From what I understand.....
<Marcia> there is no guarantee for a president to know how a Justice...
<Marcia> will vote once he is put on the court.
<Shannon> Right, I understood that as well. I also read it to mean that presidents who work very hard at "hand-picking" will usually "luck-out".
<Shannon> Maybe there are just more sides to the issue than I am getting.
<Shannon> Mike-what does that possible "change" mean for you?
<mike> I think that Bush would more to appoint...
<mike> more conservatives than liberals.
<Shannon> Should this be a factor that is looked at seriously as people vote? Should it matter?
<Marcia> !
<Shannon> Marcia?
<Marcia> I think it does matter just because of the chance of things changing for the worst- such as women's rights.
<mike> !
<Shannon> Mike?
<mike> The changes that are made...
<mike> the new people who are appointed...
<mike> are going to be there well after...
<mike> the president is gone...
<mike> so yes this is pretty huge.
<Shannon> well, let me totally switch gears here...
<Shannon> Why are there so many inmates on death row in CA?
<cat> !
<Shannon> cat?
<cat> I can't seem to find the exact place, Shannon, but it discusses this topic on pages 382-386.
<Shannon> cool, cat. thanks...I'll re-read it again.
<Shannon> I'll throw this out...I might be totally wrong...
<Shannon> I wonder if it has something to do with lack of financial resources for attorneys who are other than court appointed.
<Marcia> ?
<Shannon> Marcia?
<cat> ?
<Marcia> Are you asking why more of them haven't been executed or why there are so many?
<Shannon> there isn't a specification in this question...feel free to interpret as you like.
<Shannon> Cat?
<cat> Are you talking about so many getting there, or so many currently being there?
<cat> Same question...sorry.
<Marcia> !
<Shannon> that's okay...Marcia?
<Marcia> Appeals for death row inmates are very expensive I believe...
<Marcia> but the process is very slow in CA to even get to an execution....
<Marcia> so many inmates sit for years waiting for their appeal.
<cat> ?
<cat> When is the last time CA had an execution?
<wen> ?
<Shannon> There was also an 18 year period without the penalty in effect, so this could certainly have added to the problem, I think.
<Shannon> Cat?
<Shannon> sorry. I meant, Dr. B
<Shannon> I know there were two in 1999.
<Shannon> Wen?
<wen> If we execute a wrong person, what happens?
<wen> What is the execute rule?
<Shannon> that's a whole other problem, Wen. Dr. B has been summoned so we'll ask him.
<DrB> yes?
<wen> OK
<Shannon> talking about executing the wrong person.
<DrB> What's the question?
<Shannon> what happens? are there laws?
<Shannon> What is the execute rule in CA>
<DrB> What happens if an innocent person...
<DrB> is put to death?
<Shannon> yep...that's one of the questions.
<DrB> Well...
<DrB> they're dead....
<Shannon> = )
<DrB> It's irrevocable...
<DrB> What's the second question?
<Shannon> We aren't quite sure how to interpret your question...
<Shannon> why are there so many on death row...or why aren't they being executed faster?
<DrB> Well...
<DrB> we have over 550 condemned people...
<DrB> on death row in California...
<DrB> Does that sound like a lot to anybody?
<Shannon> yes
<wen> Yes
<mike> yep
<cat> Huge.
<Marcia> ?
<Shannon> Marcia?
<wen> ?
<Marcia> Is that proportionately more than other states?
<DrB> !
<Shannon> go ahead, Dr. B
<DrB> Yeah...
<DrB> its pretty big.
<Shannon> Does this have anything to do with the fact that CA banned them in 1972 and reinstated in 1990? Are people still morally opposed?
<DrB> !
<Shannon> I have wondered about this subject since I read Helter Skelter years ago.
<Shannon> Dr. B
<DrB> Calif restored the death penalty...
<DrB> in 1978.
<Shannon> wow. only 6 years old?
<DrB> !
<Shannon> I know the text said that the media doesn't get involved too much out here in this stuff. Wonder if that has anything to do with it?
<Shannon> Dr. B
<DrB> 577 on death row as of today.
<Shannon> yikes!
<Shannon> anyone have any thoughts on why this is?
<Marcia> !
<Shannon> Marcia?
<mike> ?
<wen> ?
<Marcia> Most are from Southern Calif. and L.A. has a very high crime rate?
<Shannon> Mike?
<mike> Could this have anything to do with the lengthy appeals process? Or is Ca. just eager to hand out...
<mike> the death penalty?
<Shannon> Wen?
<wen> How long does it take to execute all 550? All are executed?
<Shannon> I imagine with lengthy appeals processes and such that not all would make it to execution...I don't know though.
<wen> Thanks!
<Shannon> Well, should we move ahead?
<wen> Yes
<Shannon> here's the next question...
<Shannon> Should judges take public
<Shannon> opinion into account when making their rulings?
<Marcia> !
<wen> !
<Shannon> I am of the opinion that they can't be exempt from doing it because they do live in this world (rather than being sequestered.)
<Shannon> Marcia?
<Marcia> It depends- such as with civil rights cases, equality was more....
<Marcia> important than freedom- meaning the popular opinion was against them....
<Marcia> but the Court had to make the "right" decision.
<Shannon> Wen?
<wen> I think Judge should not do it according to the law only.
<Shannon> can you explain that, Wen?
<wen> Sometimes public opnion is right.
<wen> People have the right emotion.
<Shannon> so you think that there are times it is necessary or alright?
<wen> Yes
<Shannon> I really wonder who can prove that public opinion made a huge impact.
<Shannon> who can say for certain that a judge didn't already feel that way?
<Shannon> Anyone else in here want to take a stab at this?
<cat> !
<Shannon> Cat?
<cat> A good judge should do what is just...isn't it their responsibility?
<Shannon> how do we interpret what is "just" though as public citizens?
<Shannon> I'm not disputing this, just wondering.
<cat> Judges use the law and their judgment...
<cat> Public opinion should not enter in, however, the judge...
<cat> could share the same opinion as the public...
<cat> it's hard to say.
<mike> !
<Shannon> But, if there is ambiguity in much of what they use their judgment on, how can there be much of a defined set of rules? How are we to know whether there is a statute buried somewhere...
<Shannon> that laid the groundwork or whether the judge went on public opinion? It seems like a fine line.
<Shannon> Mike?
<mike> In 1989 a retarded man was sentenced to death...
<mike> the court claimed that there was...
<mike> no national consensus opposing it...
<mike> a poll later revealed that 69 percent of the....
<mike> public opposed it...
<mike> so I think the public opinion does count.
<cat> !
<Shannon> Cat?
<Marcia> !
<cat> In response to your statement, Shannon...
<cat> That's the job of the attorneys.
<cat> To present...
<cat> a case using all possible information for the judge to make a determination.
<Shannon> Marcia?
<Marcia> It seems like half of the time it's based on public opinion, the other half on precedents or their own personal opinion.
<Shannon> Let's touch on a similar (and final question)...
<Shannon> Are CA judges soft on crime?
<Marcia> !
<Shannon> Marcia?
<Marcia> Not anymore with the three strikes law....
<Marcia> doesn't that force them to jail people regardless of the severity of the crime?
<Shannon> good question...Dr. B
<DrB> Yes?
<Shannon> three strikes law...
<Shannon> are people forced into jail regardless of severity of crime?
<DrB> Well...
<DrB> the law is a little ambiguous...
<DrB> The original law referred to ...
<DrB> three "violent" crimes...
<DrB> But the law in effect...
<DrB> speaks of three "serious" crimes...
<DrB> A lot of the interpretation...
<DrB> is left up to individual judges.
<Shannon> What do we think of public opinion in this arena of these types of laws?
<mike> !
<Shannon> <nicely worded question there, eh?>
<Shannon> Mike?
<mike> I think that the first...
<mike> and second offense ...
<Marcia> !
<mike> should be treated more seriously...
<mike> to avoid the need...
<mike> for the three strike law.
<Shannon> Marcia?
<Marcia> If they had listened to public opinion, they might have realized this could lead to more crime .....
<Marcia> against cops, because those on their third strike are more likely to shoot...
<Marcia> a cop because they have nothing to lose.
<Shannon> So, part of this last question was "has the 'tough on crime' approach worked well?"
<Shannon> I think you raise a good point, Marcia.
<Shannon> anyone else?...I think we have a minute or so.
<Shannon> 3 minutes...any other thoughts on any of these topics tonight?
<Marcia> !
<Shannon> Marcia?
<Marcia> Is it true that numbers of crimes are down but violent crime is up?
<Shannon> I read an article with these statistics not long ago...I always wonder where these stats come from and why they are mentioned when they are.
<Shannon> I really don't know but am curious as well. We should ask.
<Shannon> what do you think?
<Shannon> actually, I guess it's time for class.

DrB