UnNews:Supreme Court approves death penalty for jaywalking

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14 May 2009

Unnews jaywalking
Citizens should now be warned that jaywalking is not only dangerous - it's punishable by death

WASHINGTON, DC -- In a landmark decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court approved the death penalty for the crime of jaywalking. In a split 5-4 vote on the controversial topic, the Court ultimately decided that losing one's life is not "cruel and unusual punishment" when it comes to penalizing those who cross the street on a red light or at unmarked locations.

The four dissenting justices opposed the decision on purely technical grounds, with conservative Justice Scalia explaining that "nowhere does the constitution explicitly allow the Supreme Court to decide jaywalking cases, so for fear of being branded an activist judge, I must abstain from approving this law." Scalia added however, that personally he is "very much in favor" of capital punishment for jaywalking, and is ultimately glad five of his colleagues weren't constrained by conservative ideology as he was.

The controversial decision was made after the Michigan Supreme Court rejected the death penalty for Larry L. Voorhees, who was convicted for illegally crossing a street in Birmingham, Michigan two years ago. In the incident, Mr. Voorhees sprinted across what looked like a deserted street, but an undercover officer hiding in nearby bushes witnessed the crime and immediately arrested the perpetrator. Defense attorneys' arguments that no harm came to anyone from the jaywalk were easily dismissed by the court. In its ruling, the court said, "Much like the crime of 'attempted murder' doesn't actually have a victim, it's the potential harm that matters - jaywalking endangers both the perpetrator and the drivers of any vehicles that could be on the road at the time. Dozens could die. There is no question that jaywalking is a felony of the highest degree, on par with genocide and treason."

Even opponents of the death penalty had a subdued reaction to the verdict, promising not to protest out of respect for victims of jaywalking. Anti-capital-punishment activist Devon Brown commented, "While we oppose the death penalty in principle, it's tough to argue against the appropriateness of the punishment for a heinous, barbaric crime like jaywalking. Maybe in the future people will have more compassion for convicted felons, but for now, our compassion lies with the innocent victims of jaywalking, and we sincerely hope that the death of jaywalkers will bring them some solace."

Next up on the court's docket is Hardy vs. California, in which the Supreme Court will decide whether the death penalty is appropriate for people who engage in gay marriage.

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