Monday, December 06, 2004

Talk About Justice Delayed

A special court in Washington state is readying to examine the guilt of a Native American put to death almost 150 years ago. Chief Leshci was executed after being convicted for murdering a soldier during the 1855 Indian War. If that sounds a bit off, it is - for one thing, you're supposed to kill the other side during a war (the Army refused to carry out the sentence following his conviction). But aside from procedural issues, there is also serious doubt that Leschi even killed the soldier in the first place. So the Chief Justice of the state supreme court is convening a "Historical Court of Justice" to try and determine Leschi's guilt once and for all.

On the one hand, I really admire the state for going through the trouble of rectifying an historical wrong and seeking the truth for truth's sake. But on the other, this is going to take time and money that might be better directed towards exonerating living people who have been wrongfully convicted or subjected to some heinous punishment. Leave the rehabilitation of the dead to the historians.

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