Friday, April 13, 2007

Someone Murdered a New Orleanian and Was Caught, Convicted, and Sentenced

In Houston:

Christopher Devon Jackson heard his death sentence Thursday, and wept.

***

Jackson, 22, was convicted of capital murder two weeks ago for carjacking Eric James Smith and killing him with a sawed-off shotgun as Smith talked on the phone with a 911 operator.

***

Smith, 34, had come to Houston after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in late August 2005. He was refueling his rented sport utility vehicle at a gas station in the 6700 block of West Airport when Jackson took it at gunpoint before dawn on Dec. 5.
The death sentence is abhorrent. But that’s not why I point this out.

How many convictions have we had in New Orleans for murders that happened after Katrina? We’ve had at least 230 murders in New Orleans since the storm. How many convictions?

How many convictions for *any* murders have we had?

I know it takes a while to get a conviction. The Houston case happened in December 2005, and a conviction came just two weeks ago. We are behind because the courts shut down after Katrina, evidence was lost in the federal flood, and we don’t have the resources to fully investigate murders after the storm.

But it would be nice to have some examples that the criminal justice system is working after the storm when it comes to violent crime. That is, if it is working…

1 comment:

mominem said...

Texas has a reputation for rough justice, I'm not sure it wouldn't help if we had a similar one.

But maybe not. When two "skin heads" decided to murder an African-American in a heinous manner. A relatively rural Texas jury sentenced one to death and one to life without parole.

The NAACP ran an ad recorded by one of the children of the victim against then Governor and Presidential Candidate Bush for opposing a Hate Crimes Law.

I'm still not sure what outcome the NAACP and the family wanted since the NAACP is categorically opposed to the death penalty.

It seems to me swift and sure retribution might help with our crime problem.