Lethal Injection In Connecticut And Kosher Vegetables In Miami

The Street Hustle

I’ve never been able to get the hand of Monday’s. The white noise of the first day of the week was bad enough when breaking news was passed over TV and radio. The Internets 24/7 newswires have only made the problem worse. Monday, November 8, 2010 is no different. Massive amounts of information gathered from around the globe are being thrust into the consumer news marketplace. However two stories caught my eye.

The first comes from Connecticut where a New Haven jury unanimously recommended a death sentence for convicted murder Steven Hayes.

Dr. William Petit of Cheshire, Conn., who survived the July 2007 attack on his family, said Monday that “justice has been served” after a jury voted unanimously to send convicted killer Steven Hayes to death row.

“There’s never closure. There’s a hole,” Petit said of the home invasion that left his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and daughters, Hayley and Michaela, dead.

After four days of deliberations, jurors in New Haven Superior Court recommended death for Hayes who, along with co-defendant Joshua Komisarjevsky, broke into the Petit home and tormented the family for seven hours before Hawke-Petit and her daughters were killed. The judge will impose the sentence December 2.

Authorities said Hayes and Komisarjevsky forced their way into the house on July 23, 2007, beat Petit, and forced his wife to withdraw money from a bank while the rest of her family was held hostage at home. Hayes then sexually assaulted and strangled her, authorities said. Komisarjevsky, who will be tried next year, is charged with sexually assaulting 11-year-old Michaela.

Michaela and her 17-year-old sister, Hayley, were tied to their beds and doused in gasoline before the men set the house on fire, according to testimony. The girls died of smoke inhalation.

“Michaela was an 11-year-old little girl, tortured and killed in her own bedroom…surrounded by stuffed animals,” Petit said outside the courthouse after the verdict was reached. “Hayley had a great future…and Jennifer helped so many kids.”

“It’s a huge void in my life,” he said. (Fox News)

Hayes attorneys contended prison would be far worse than death for their client.

He did not testify during the trial or penalty phase, but told a psychiatrist he wanted to “look like a monster” by taking the stand and expressing no remorse so that the jury would sentence him to die. Hayes also said he had repeatedly tried to kill himself after the crime because he felt guilty and remorseful and feared isolation in prison the rest of his life. (Fox News)

Once again, the debate over the death penalty in the United States will amp up. Should we kill condemned inmates because they want to die, like Gary Gilmore? Has our society evolved past the death penalty, making executions cruel and unusual punishment? We have been debating these same issues since Furman v. Georgia was decided in 1972. The solutions elude our grasp.

We do know the right citizens of Connecticut have voted to have a death penalty and a jury of 12 persons over the age of majority found Hayes guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. These 12 citizens of the Nutmeg state further decided his crime, home invasion, rape and murder of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters Hayley and Michaela, was so heinous that Steven Hayes has to be exiled from our society via lethal injection for safety’s sake.

The fact of Hayes claims conscious guilt is to his small credit and he should be tortured by the memories of his actions. Anything after that is up to the majesty of American jurisprudence.

The second item comes from a lawsuit filed and won by an Orthodox Jewish inmate at Indiana’s Miami Correctional Institution.

INDIANAPOLIS — A federal judge has ruled the Indiana Department of Correction is violating the law by not offering kosher meals to prison inmates whose religious beliefs require it.

An Orthodox Jew inmate at Miami Correctional Facility filed a class action suit last year after the agency began substituting vegan meals for kosher meals it formerly served, citing higher costs. American Civil Liberties Union attorney Ken Falk says the change affected about 90 to 120 inmates.

Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson this week ruled in favor of inmate Matson Willis, finding that the department’s handling of the issue had violated his religious rights.

The judge set a hearing for Nov. 30 on the scope of a possible injunction.

Department spokesman Doug Garrison says officials are reviewing the ruling. (AP)

Nowhere in the ruling or further newspaper accounts of the lawsuit indicate an inmate thankful to the state of Indiana. After all the Hoosier state was concerned enough about the sensibilities of its Jewish convicted criminals to send them to Miami, with or without kosher vegetables.

I’m still working on this getting the hang of Monday’s thing.

(Hat Tip: Scot Zola)

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