Look Who’s Talking

Just this past week, Teresa Lewis was executed in the state of Virginia – the first woman to be executed in that state since 1912.  She pleaded guilty in 2003 to capital murder for hire in the killing of her husband, Julian, and his 25-year old son, Charles.  Charles had a $250,000 insurance which named his father as beneficiary.  Lewis offered herself and her 16-year old daughter for sex to Matthew Shallenberger and Rodney Fuller, the gunmen.  While her husband and stepson slept, she unlocked the back door to their home and Shallenberger and Fuller entered and shot both Charles and Julian.  Charles died immediately.  Julian was still alive by the time police arrived (after Lewis waited 45 minutes to call them).  Shallenberger and Fuller were given life sentences, presumably after ratting Lewis out.  The judge who gave Lewis the death penalty said she was the “head of the serpent” in the plot.

As usual with death penalty cases, “new evidence” came to light, this time in a letter Shellenberger wrote in 2006, before he killed himself, in which he said it was all his idea.  Critics claimed Lewis’s I.Q. of 70 made her mentally retarded and executing her would be unconstitutional.

Governor Bob MacDonnell rejected her petition for clemency and she was executed by lethal injection.

Earlier in the week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad decided to embarrass the United States by bringing up Lewis’s imminent execution in his PBS interview by calling the U.S. hypocritical in its outcry against the impending death sentence of stoning meted out to Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani in his country.

Human Rights Watch says Ashtiani, 43 and a mother of two, was first convicted in May 2006 of having an “illicit relationship” with two men following the death of her husband and was sentenced by a court to 99 lashes. Later that year, she was also convicted of adultery and sentenced to be stoned, even though she retracted a confession which she claims was made under duress.  You think that would be the end of the story, but no.

Ashtiani’s case is incredibly convoluted, so much so, that, according to reports, she has now been convicted of manslaughter and murder.  According to the Los Angeles Times, that was “fresh news.”  I invite anyone to read about her story and figure it all out.

I limit my musings to political, social and cultural life in America but when I see Ahmadinejad coming to my country and hearing him criticize the best legal system in the world – our’s – I have to say something.  His comparison of the two cases is, to say the least, ridiculous.

On the one hand, Lewis confessed she conspired to murder two people and was convicted and given every opportunity for numerous appeals and petitions afforded by our legal system.  She was sentenced to a painless death by lethal injection.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
Author website: http://www.idontgetit.us
  • zapdam

    Iran had an elected progressive democratic government, till they tried to nationalize their oil for their people.. Corporate america and CIA took great exception to this and overthrew the will of the people. Then they installed their puppet government the Shah of Iran.. The Shah was a brutal beast. Iranians had enough, they took to the streets, many being murdered by the Shahs secret service, which was trained by Israel and America. Finally Iranians overthrew this monster, into the void created, entered the extremist reglious groups and mullahs..So as you can see America created the present problem in Iran by destabilizing Iran.

  • Roger Ward

    What do you expect from this nut job? He’s never made a sensible statement, so why expect any reasonable thought from him? The more important question is: why is the United States providing a forum for him and his ilk to spew their venom? Yes, I’m talking about the United Nations. The U.S. provides for most of its budget and in return, gets most of its criticism. Exactly what benefit have we derived from this unholy relationship? The U.N. should go the way of the League of Nations. If the U.N. did go away, it wouldn’t help this poor Iranian woman or the people of Iran, but at least we would not be spending billions of American dollars to provide a forum for such madness.

  • Ron

    My only comment is why does anyone care what President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says? We have no influence over the people that actually listen to what he says and the rest of the world already knows he is a maniac.

  • JohnInMA

    We all need to take a deep breath and think hard about whether there is any merit in repeating, much less analyzing any statements from such a incredible source. Nearly everything he says in public is intended to incite, deceive, or divert attention. I cannot think of a single utterance that has ever appeared to be analytical or logical in support of any rational argument. From what I hear about Iranian citizens and how they are more thoughtful than many in dominantly Muslim countries, I wonder if they don’t see him as a clown by this behavior, too. However, sadly, solid opinion writing like Bernie’s is needed because there are enough America-hating citizens in the U.S. that he must be called out each and every time just so there is an equal and opposite reaction or view, so to speak.

    • Chief

      There are many Iranians who don’t want or agree with their government but if they speak out they risk death. We are so bless that we can criticize our leader and change the direction of our country through voting.

  • Sarah Salazar

    Ugh, that is just disgusting! Sounds to me like they want to stone her for her alleged “illicit” relationships and are now manufacturing evidence for violent crimes to make her punishment seem more palatable to the rest of the world. I need to take some deep breaths now…

  • CCNV

    What I find amazing is that the ‘inhumanity of the Arizona border proposed law’ wasn’t brought up during this visit. Oh wait, that might have triggered a conversation about the two Americans still held in Iran…

  • Chief

    I agree with Bruce, I’d rather be in the USA facing any kind of criminal charge. Lucky I’ve never been arrested and hope not to be in the future. Yet, the idea of a system that is so serendipitous scares the hell out of me, you’re guilty, you’re not or maybe. God bless the people of Iran and may they get ride of these leaders.

  • Bruce A.

    Thanks Leona. Despite any flaws which exist I still prefer the legal system of the USA to the legal system of Iran.