Laws, Ordinances & Regulations

Possibly the Nastiest Death Sentence Ever

When I began teaching at Trinidad State, the cop instructor’s classroom was kitty-corner across from my office in the science building.  Each Spring, he would greet his class with a recitation of this sentence from Judge Kirby Benedict, in Taos, New Mexico.

Jose Manuel Miguel Xavier Gonzales, in a few short weeks it will be spring. The snows of winter will flee away, the ice will vanish, and the air will become soft and balmy. In short, Jose Manuel Miguel Xavier Gonzales, the annual miracle of the years will awaken and come to pass, but you won’t be there.

The rivulet will run its soaring course to the sea, the timid desert flowers will put forth their tender shoots, the glorious valleys of this imperial domain will blossom as the rose. Still, you won’t be here to see.

From every treetop some wild woods songster will carol his mating song; butterflies will sport in the sunshine, the busy bee will hum happy as it pursues its accustomed vacation; the gentle breeze will tease the tassels of the wild grasses, and all nature will be glad, but you. You won’t be here to enjoy it because I command the sheriff or some other officers of the country to lead you out to some remote spot, swing you by the neck from a knotting bough of some sturdy oak, and let you hang until you are dead.

And then, Jose Manuel Miguel Xavier Gonzales, I further command that such officer or officers retire quickly from your dangling corpse, so that vultures may descend from the heavens upon your filthy body until nothing shall remain but bare, bleached bones of a cold-blooded, bloodthirsty, throat-cutting, murdering son of a bitch.”

This version seems a little sanitized with politically incorrect comments removed – but it didn’t take a lot of time to find it.  It is Spring, and Terry Walker, the criminal justice instructor back in the mid-eighties and I are still here to enjoy it.