The Court Where the Death Penalty Always Takes a Holiday

Posted by Robert Farrow


by James H. Lilley

Any cold-blooded murderer hoping for a free pass for his crime should pray that his case be heard in the Howard County Circuit Court. Having a Capital Offense tried before a Judge and Jury in Howard County, Maryland is the equivalent of winning the Power Ball and Mega Millions drawings on successive nights. Certainly your odds of winning those lotteries in consecutive drawings would be greater than having a death sentence handed down in Howard County. If you don’t believe it, ask Brandon Morris. Morris executed Corrections Officer Jeffrey Wroten while effecting his escape from a Western Maryland hospital. But, today Judge Joseph Manck saw fit to spare him the death penalty he so much deserved, and sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Looking back on Manck’s record as a judge, I’m surprised that he didn’t award Morris 10 millions dollars for the inconvenience caused by bringing him to trial, and set him free.

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Manck offered several reasons for sparing Morris’ life and, par for the course, they were as lame as the judicial system has become. Of course, he said he wanted to spare the victim’s family from having to face years of appeals. The family countered by saying they didn’t care if they had to face endless years of appeals, Morris deserved the death sentence, and the court failed to do its job. Tracey Wroten, wife of the victim, said the decision to live through the appeals process should rest with the family, not the judge. Washington County Prosecutor, Charles Strong agreed with Tracey Wroten, and said that although the Prosecutor’s in this case did their jobs, the court failed the Wroten family. Next, Manck brought out the crying towel, and began the sad tale of Morris’ horrible life. Poor Brandon led a terrible life, being abused and left to fend for himself. So, instead of fighting back and making something of himself, he chose a life of crime and became a career criminal.

America has become a society of excuses, and Morris just followed along with the others who refuse to accept responsibility for their own lives. Today, we have excuses for everything from poor grades, to bad driving habits and rape and murder. Just point the finger at someone else, or blame society as a whole. I know men, black and white, who led terrible lives as children, and were abused and abandoned, but today they are successful businessmen. Why? Because they had the courage to fight for themselves and chose not to follow the sheep, and whine a never-ending list of excuses for their failures.

Of course, I’m sure Judge Joseph Manck would also claim that he knew nothing of Morris’ actions during his trial. Morris continually gave the finger to the victim’s family and friends, and mouthed obscenities to law enforcement officers. At one point he also gave the finger to TV cameras, hoping to give the viewing audience a show of his sentiments for the victim and the judicial system. Morris’ body language, and his punk smirk everyday said he’d gladly kill another law enforcement officer if the opportunity presented itself. By sparing his life, Manck pinned another thug badge of honor on Morris. This thug badge of honor was earned with the blood of an innocent man, and that blood now stains the hands of Judge Manck and the Howard County Circuit Court.

Brandon Morris will never walk the streets a free man again, but he should be facing a dark hole six feet under the ground. He should be sitting on death row, waiting to hear the door open, and having someone coldly tell him, “It’s time.” Brandon Morris is like so many others who butcher innocent men, women and children—a cruel, calculating killer. And, like them, he deserved to die.

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