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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Joseph Paul Franklin Does Not Deserve to Die

I have encountered Nazis three times in my life, and I could do without them.  The first was when members of the American Nazi Party used my driveway in Ann Arbor to prepare for a parade.   More recently, some lunatic sent me a Linkedin request wearing an SS uniform.  The third was racist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, who shot Vernon Jordan and Larry Flynt, and killed a number of African Americans, Jewish people, and interracial couples in a spree lasting several years across several states.   I worked on his prosecution in Cincinnati for killing two African American youths, Darrell Lane and Dante Evans Brown, in 1980.  (There were interesting legal issues; he confessed a female prosecutor who befriended him through a long email correspondence; she did not Mirandize him when she visited him in prison.  There was an interesting non-legal issue, too.  A student working with me had an affair with the married Prosecuting Attorney, who was also a university trustee.)   Franklin is set to be executed later this month in Missouri for killing a person at a synagogue. 

In some ways, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.  But.  For all of Franklin's evil and dangerousness, his execution is unjust.  Admittedly, I oppose capital punishment generally, but even if I didn't, his case would still be problematic.  Franklin was made a monster by brutally abusive parents.  (Malcolm Gladwell tells part of the story in The New Yorker)   The man's brains are scrambled.  He is blind in one eye, and my recollection from the file is that his parents did it in a beating that got out of hand.   Whether as a question of punishment, protection of the public, or both, he should never again see the street.  But a person this badly damaged cannot be held responsible in the same way as people who freely choose to do wrong. 

Posted by Jack Chin on November 13, 2013 at 05:54 PM | Permalink


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/ “But. For all of Franklin's evil and dangerousness, his execution is unjust. Admittedly, I oppose capital punishment generally,
but even if I didn't, his case would still be problematic. Franklin was made a monster by brutally abusive parents." \

There you have it. Thanks for those irrefutable gems.

I haven’t heard more meaningful or persuasive words since convicted Ohio serial killer Anthony Sowell stated during the penalty phase of his murder trial:

"This is not typical of me."

[or perchance when Obama said if you like your plan… I didn’t set a red line…I found out when you did... et al]

[Sowell was found guilty of 82 counts, including killing 11 women and attempting to kill 3 others who survived.]

Posted by: Adamakis | Nov 21, 2013 9:05:04 AM

Die he did. Thanks for the dissenting voice.

Posted by: Joe | Nov 20, 2013 11:28:35 AM

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