FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Meet Judge Freesmann, the Latest Killer Jurist

There is a whole rogues’ gallery of charlatans, cowards, racists and liars involved in the 22-year lynching of Troy Davis, the black man who whose life was summarily terminated by the state of Georgia and by the United States of America last night, but one of them, Chatham County Superior Court Judge Penny Freesmann, will have a special place of honor in the growing pantheon of criminal jurists who have overseen the execution of innocent men in the course of America’s bloody legal history.

Judge Freesman was the Chatham County, GA superior court judge who assumed responsibility for Davis’ case at the state level in 2011, signing the new and final execution order despite knowing that most of the witnesses that prosecutors had relied on to convict him for the 1989 shooting death of an off-duty white police officer in Savannah had recanted, and then, last night, refusing to lift the execution order, despite pleas to spare his life and grant him a new trial from former FBI Director William Sessions, the Pope, former conservative Republican Georgia Congressman Bob Barr (a former Georgia prosecutor),  and over 600,000 people worldwide who sent in petitions.

Freesmann now joins the likes of Judge Webster Thayer, who oversaw the politically motivated conviction and execution of anarchists Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti on a trumped-up murder charge, Judge Morris Ritchie, who oversaw the equally politically motivated conviction and execution of Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) labor   leader Joe Hill on another trumped-up murder charge, and Judge Irving Kaufman, who oversaw the conviction and execution of Ethel Rosenberg, clearly the victim of a  politically motivated and truly sick federal government effort to get her husband Julius to admit to spying for the Russians (whatever the truth may be about whether Julius was a spy, his wife was not guilty of the the crime of treason and did not deserve execution).

Songs will surely be written condemning Freesmann for her craven participation in this lynching of a man who had alread spent 22 years on Georgia’s death row, and who repeatedly faced execution for a crime which he most likely did not commit (once coming within 2 hours of death–a crime which he denied committing with his dying breath while strapped to a gurney in a state execution chamber as deadly poison was pumped into his veins before the watching eyes of his stoic family, just as songs have been written about Sacco and Vanzetti, Joe Hill and the Rosenbergs.

With the state killing of Troy Davis, another grotesque chapter has been added to the nightmare encyclopedia recounting America’s bloodthirsty system of “justice,” a system in which black murder victims’ lives count less than white victims‘ lives, and in which accused blacks are more likely to face capital charges, are more likely to be convicted, are more likely to be found guilty, and area more likely to be executed than whites.

There will someday be a reckoning. Someday these state killings will look as pathetic and wrong-headed as do the killings of the “witches” of Salem, Massachusetts. And when that day comes, the Thayers, Ritchies, Kaufmans and now Freesmanns will be seen for what they are and were — judicial lynchers, political cowards and killers.

DAVE LINDORFF is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent alternative online newspaper. He is the author of “Killing Time: An Investigation into the Death Penalty Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal” (Common Courage Press, 2004).

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

December 13, 2018
John Davis
What World Do We Seek?
Subhankar Banerjee
Biological Annihilation: a Planet in Loss Mode
Lawrence Davidson
What the Attack on Marc Lamont Hill Tells Us
James McEnteer
Breathless
Ramzy Baroud
The Real Face of Justin Trudeau: Are Palestinians Canada’s new Jews?
Dean Baker
Pelosi Would Sabotage the Progressive Agenda With a Pay-Go Rule
Elliot Sperber
Understanding the Yellow Vests Movement through Basic Color Theory 
Rivera Sun
The End of the NRA? Business Magazines Tell Activists: The Strategy is Working
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Historic Opportunity to Transform Trade
George Ochenski
Trump Trashes Sage Grouse Protections in Another cCollaboration Failure
December 12, 2018
Arshad Khan
War, Anniversaries and Lessons Never Learned
Paul Street
Blacking Out the Yellow Vests on Cable News: Corporate Media Doing its Job
Kenneth Surin
The Brexit Shambles Rambles On
David Schultz
Stacking the Deck Against Democracy in Wisconsin
Steve Early
The Housing Affordability Crisis and What Millennials Can do About It
George Ochenski
Collaboration Failure: Trump Trashes Sage Grouse Protections
Rob Seimetz
Bringing a Life Into a Dying World: A Letter From a Father to His Unborn Son
Michael Howard
PETA and the ‘S’-Word
John Kendall Hawkins
Good Panopt, Bad Panopt: Does It Make A Difference?
Kim C. Domenico
Redeeming Utopia: a Meditation On An Essay by Ursula LeGuin
Binoy Kampmark
Exhuming Franco: Spain’s Immemorial Divisions
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Democratizing Money
Laura Finley
Congress Must Reauthorize VAWA
December 11, 2018
Eric Draitser
AFRICOM: A Neocolonial Occupation Force?
Sheldon Richman
War Over Ukraine?
Louis Proyect
Why World War II, Not the New Deal, Ended the Great Depression
Howard Lisnoff
Police Violence and Mass Policing in the U.S.
Mark Ashwill
A “Patriotic” Education Study Abroad Program in Viet Nam: God Bless America, Right or Wrong!
Laura Flanders
HUD Official to Move into Public Housing?
Nino Pagliccia
Resistance is Not Terrorism
Matthew Johnson
See No Evil, See No Good: The Truth Is Not Black and White
Maria Paez Victor
How Reuters Slandered Venezuela’s Social Benefits Card
December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail