Respites

Mississippi Shows the Way

Damn those activist judges! You might consider them a modern nuisance, but you’re wrong. And don’t think they’re restricted to liberal enclaves like San Francisco and Vermont.

I mean, who would’ve thought the Mississippi Supreme Court, circa 1926, would be beholden to the MoveOn.org crowd?

In a case called Fisher v. State, 110 So. 361, 362 (Miss. 1926), Mississippi’s highest court ordered the retrial of a convicted murderer because his confession was secured by a local sheriff’s use of the water cure.

Here’s the court:

The state offered . . . testimony of confessions made by the appellant, Fisher. . . [who], after the state had rested, introduced the sheriff, who testified that, he was sent for one night to come and receive a confession of the appellant in the jail; that he went there for that purpose; that when he reached the jail he found a number of parties in the jail; that they had the appellant down upon the floor, tied, and were administering the water cure, a specie of torture well known to the bench and bar of the country.

A state that, at the time of this decision, routinely lynched black people still considered waterboarding torture. Bush calls it an enhanced interrogation technique. Anyone care to rationalize the disconnect?

(via Andrew Sullivan)

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