“Today we take another step away from Mississippi’s tortured past”

As I recount at Cato at Liberty, a new report from the Equal Justice Initiative on the long history of lynching in the South, combined with a federal judge’s widely noted speech upon sentencing three men in a racially oriented Mississippi killing, can bring us to think about how far America has fallen short of the ideal of the rule of law in some periods, and how far it has come since. [& Rod Dreher]


  • Perhaps equally disturbing are the letters of support offered to the judge to consider at sentencing. That so many would sign onto the theme that these are intrinsically ‘good’ or ‘caring’ boys who merely made some wrong choices speaks volumes for the depth of depravity in Mississippi. Can no one in Mississippi find any fault with murder?

  • Gasman, I don’t know how judges react to those sorts of character letters, but I tend to discount them in both senses. Where the heinousness of a crime speaks for itself, I wouldn’t accord the letters much weight; but I also find it understandable that family members would write them and feel the sentiments, because that’s how families are. Character letters written on behalf of convicted influential persons, by persons who benefited from their connections, are a different matter, and often stir in me a more cynical reaction.