Friday, February 19, 2016

More Details Emerge on Scalia Death [Scalia Not Cremated]

Some other items that bring the circumstances of Justice Scalia's death into sharper focus.

UPDATE: The rumor that Justice Scalia's remains were cremated were apparently false. According to CNN, a close family friend, Brian Donato, says he attended Thursday's wake for Scalia. Donato said he saw Scalia "lying in his casket, and he looked like the guy who was just the warm and loving guy he always was." Scalia's cremation was frequently cited by conspiracy theorists as evidence of a coverup of the justice's supposed assassination, while the Bear maintained otherwise, for several sound reasons.

(As of yet, we don't know the final piece of data: whether there was an autopsy once Scalia's body arrived on the east coast. Certainly the fact that Scalia was not cremated puts it squarely in the realm of possibility. That's the other shoe that may drop.) Many thanks to attentive reader of this ephemeris, utubeo.

As this story develops, conspiracy theories are coming apart like a cheap K-Mart suitcase, to turn legal phrase once in currency.

As the Bear has suspected all along, the U.S. Marshals did not sit on their hands as Presidio County Sheriff Danny C. Dominguez went about his business. Judge Guevara says that she spoke with both Sheriff Dominguez and a U.S. Marshal, whom she identified as Ken Roberts. Both her sheriff and the marshal concurred that they did not have a crime scene on their hands and it was appropriate to rule that Justice Scalia was dead over the phone, with their assistance. She has also mentioned that before Scalia retired that evening, he complained of not feeling well.

Judge Guevara said she respected the wishes of the Scalia family not to have an autopsy, given that her sheriff and federal law enforcement personnel were telling her they did not have a crime scene. In addition, she had information from Scalia's personal physician, Rear Admiral Brian P. Monahan, who said that Scalia had chronic health problems, including heart problems, and had recently been declared unfit for surgery for a torn rotator cuff.

Justice of the Peace Juanita Bishop, the first official to get the call about Scalia's death, has implicitly criticized Judge Guevara. (On Infowars, no less. Alex Jones has gotten at least 400,000 views on his conspiracy theory broadcast about Scalia.) Another Presidio County Justice of the Peace (to whom Bishop first tried to pass the case) David Beebe, says "I have no issue with how she handled his death." Bronson Tucker, an attorney for the Texas Justice Courts Training Center, who trains justices of the peace, said:
The huge majority of the time, if you have a 79-year-old overweight person, and you have a statement from the physician, and zero indicators of foul play, then it's not unusual for there to be no autopsy.
Tucker said he didn't see any "red flags." This is from the expert on the subject, far from Presidio County politics.

Approximately twenty law enforcement officers converged at the funeral home, according to Chris Lujan, the owner of Sunset Funeral Home. The Bear wonders if they were sightseers, or if some might have had official duties to perform. Scalia's body was not cremated in Texas, but flown back to Washington D.C. "as soon as possible," per the family's request. U.S. Marshals accompanied Scalia's remains on a private plane that departed El Paso International Airport 8 p.m. Sunday.

Queries to Admiral Monahan about whether he had seen Scalia's body have gone unanswered. While it is certain there was no autopsy in Texas, if the Bear may indulge in his own bit of speculation, Admiral Monahan could put to rest any speculation about an autopsy performed on the Washington end by simply denying it. Query: if you were in charge, would you have a local pathologist conduct an autopsy of a U.S. Supreme Court justice in El Paso, or would you want the body brought back to a state-of-the-art facility at ex-Bethesda Naval Hospital, now Walter Reed National Military Medical Center?

Do you think bodily fluids for a tox screen might have been obtained at some point? There certainly seems to be the opportunity. But the Bear is not stating any of this as a fact.

Anyway, there's just some counter-speculation for those who keep raising a hue and cry about the lack of an autopsy, nothing more.

But perhaps the scene and medical conditions were clear enough that the family's wishes prevailed. It would be nice to think so. By all accounts Antonin Scalia was granted the gift of a peaceful death. Praise God. Are you abiding by the family's wishes to pray for a great Catholic, a great man, and a great jurist?

1 comment:

  1. I never trust original news reports. They are usually wrong.

    ReplyDelete

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