Originally Published: July 12, 2006 11:12 a.m.
A wise man once said, "Justice delayed is justice denied."
That is becoming increasingly true of the American justice system, especially in death penalty cases and clearly in the case of Philip Bocharski.
Eleven years ago, Bocharski stabbed to death 84-year-old Freeda Brown of Congress. Court testimony made it clear it was a particularly savage act.
A jury in an earlier trial convicted Bocharski in 1996, and Judge William Kiger sentenced him to death. The Arizona Supreme Court overturned that sentence in 2002 on grounds Bocharski's defense attorneys did not receive enough public money to prepare an adequate defense. The U.S. Supreme Court also ruled that only a jury, not a judge could impose the death penalty.
Thus, Bocharski got another penalty-phase trial, including an aggravating circumstances phase and a penalty phase. The jury again imposed the death penalty.
Brown's daughter, June Brown, waited a very long time for that sentence. During the second go-round, Bocharski's defense pulled out all the stops about a poor, abused kid who had a terrible childhood. A lot of people, including Bill Clinton, got a tough start in life and managed to achieve great success.
Now the question is how long June Brown will have to wait until the state carries out the sentence, because clearly guilty convicted criminals fare better than the victims of their depredations.
Let's pray that any further delay is brief.