Waterboarding, A Look Back
Via Avedon Carol, a link to Is That Legal:
In 1926, the Mississippi Supreme Court called the water cure torture. No qualifiers. No hedging. Just plain, good ol’ fashion torture . . . and therefore a forbidden means for securing a confession. These men were hardly a group I’d call *activist* or *liberal* and certainly not bent on subverting our country in the name of coddling criminals.
In a case called Fisher v. State, 110 So. 361, 362 (Miss. 1926), Mississippi’s highest court ordered the retrial of a convicted murderer because his confession was secured by a local sheriff’s use of the water cure.
One form of water cure is… waterboarding.
Is That Legal then quotes the Mississippi Court:
The state offered . . . testimony of confessions made by the appellant, Fisher. . . [who], after the state had rested, introduced the sheriff, who testified that, he was sent for one night to come and receive a confession of the appellant in the jail; that he went there for that purpose; that when he reached the jail he found a number of parties in the jail; that they had the appellant down upon the floor, tied, and were administering the water cure, a specie of torture well known to the bench and bar of the country.
The post goes on:
Fisher relied on a case called White v. State, 182, 91 So. 903, 904 (Miss. 1922), in which the court took — as I understand history in those parts — the unusual step of reversing the murder conviction of a young African-American male, charged with killing a white man (it appears), because his confession was secured by *the cure*.
At one point, waterboarding was considered so barbarous that the highest court in Mississippi would conclude that applying it to a Black man was cause enough for throwing out his conviction. This in a time and place where it was practically legal to hang a Black man from a tree in a public square and set him on fire.