West Wing
The Indians In The Lobby

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The Butterball Hotline

They continue chatting about the book as they walk outside to a splendid courtyard -- and it's looking pretty balmy for late November -- where they sit down. Josh says he'll ask around for the book. Alberto immediately launches into the meat of the matter: "You stand hand in hand with no other nation on this except Somalia. You know that, don't you? Even China doesn't allow children to be executed." Um, when was the last time the United States executed a thirteen-year-old? Or a minor, for that matter? Josh says that federal law doesn't allow it, but the people in the state of Georgia do, so there's not a lot he can do about it. I did some searching and found this on LawForKids.org: "...if the defendant was under the age of 16 when the offense was committed, the death penalty is not available. The United States Supreme Court held that the death penalty cannot be applied to someone who was that young when they committed the offense. See the opinion at Thompson vs. Oklahoma, 487 U.S 815 (1988)." Perhaps some of the lawyers in our midst (harper? Sheef?) could comment on the validity/relevance of this in the forums. Josh asks Alberto to please have the ambassador speak to the foreign minister and send the kid back. Alberto proposes a scenario: Josh is in a restaurant sitting at the next table over from a little girl who's misbehaving, running around and throwing food. Her father decides to punish her by cracking a wine bottle over her head, throwing her to the ground, and kicking her repeatedly. Alberto asks Josh what he would do. Huh? How is this analogous? Josh points out that the kid who shot his teacher wasn't throwing food. Alberto asks, "Is there a crime that girl could commit that would have justified what her father did?" Well, obviously people have differing views on the matter, but typically people who support the death penalty do so in cases where the person in question is convicted of murder. Clearly some people feel that an eye for an eye is just. I'm not saying whether they're right -- simply that many people feel that there are indeed crimes that justify the death penalty. Josh sighs and looks uncomfortable and says, "See, it's -- it's problematic when other people make my arguments for me." That's what Alberto's doing? I thought Josh's argument was that the kid should be sent back. ["I thought maybe by that Josh meant he isn't so wild about the death penalty himself, even though he's been charged to take care of this matter." -- Wing Chun] Alberto says, "If the father said, 'This is my child and I will punish her any way I choose,' would you come to the conclusion that this father has lost all perspective and good judgment and should be removed from the equation?" Josh regards Alberto for a moment and then says, "Okay, I'm going to, uh...I'll ask around about the book." Alberto nods and thanks him. Josh sips espresso from a delicate gold-banded cup.

C.J. returns to her office, running into Carol, who shakes her head in response to C.J.'s questioning look. C.J. talks to Carol, trying to find someone who can help Maggie and Jack. But anyone and everyone who might be able to help -- the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, the Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, the Deputy of Acquisition and Property Management, the Deputy of Tribal Services -- has left for Thanksgiving. Carol says, "Nobody's here." C.J. says, "I'm here! They're here! You're here!" Carol says, sort of under her breath but not so much that C.J. wouldn't hear it, "God knows that." C.J. goes back into her office and then comes right back out, telling Carol to inform Leo's office that she's on her way over.

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