Thursday, March 17, 2011

Suspension Of Habeas Corpus Goes Largely Unnoticed

Little Rock AR 

Jeb Lesterson, a current Arkansas State Supreme Court Justice and avid ceramic Dale Earnhardt figurine collector, perhaps best known for his deciding vote to uphold state segregation laws in 1994, is in the news again this week after publicly announcing that he’s given up habeas corpus for Lent this year.

Estimates for the number of Arkansas citizens who have gone to Little Rock maximum-security prison without trial, range from the conservative hundreds to the Leftist hundreds of thousands; while Keith Olberman has proposed an approximation of three million people, greater than the current number of residents in the state.

Though this announcement seemingly contradicts the traditional separation of church and state foundation of American criminal justice, many citizens and clergy alike have lauded Lesterson for his piety and public dedication to his faith.

Still a small, but vocal, minority of detractors claim that Lesterson’s suspension of habeas corpus is not in keeping with the Lenten season’s spirit of sacrifice. The leader of a local Arkansas mega-church stated “Inasmuch as Justice Lesterson has appeared to have long since given up actually hearing cases before passing judgment, his so-called sacrifice ultimately rings hollow to my ears.”

When asked what might have been a more meaningful Lenten act of self-denial Lesterson cited his love for pork rinds as a sacrifice of equal magnitude, but that when he tried it the previous year he found that it was just too difficult to maintain for forty days.

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