[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----USA, N.C., S. DAK., CALIF.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Dec 14 15:06:30 CST 2004
Report: Fewer executions in 2004 - Group opposed to death penalty finds
Use of the death penalty by states continued a 5-year decline in 2004,
according to an annual report by a nonprofit group that opposes capital
According to statistics to be released Tuesday by the Death Penalty
Information Center, 40 % fewer executions were carried out this year than
The center also found that fewer Americans support capital punishment and
that fewer prisoners are being sent to death rows.
In its annual survey, the center found that 59 people had been executed
this year as of mid-December, and The Associated Press reported that no
more executions were scheduled. In 1999, 98 people were put to death.
The vast majority of executions this year, 85 %, occurred in the South, up
10 % points from 1999. 12 % were in the Midwest, and just 3 % in Western
No one from the Northeast has been executed in the past two years, but
Connecticut is scheduled to put a convicted murderer to death next month.
Michael Ross has refused to pursue further appeals, and his execution
would be the 1st in the state since 1960. He has admitted to killing 8
women in Connecticut and New York in the 1980s.
A federal Justice Department survey of the death penalty released last
month showed similar statistics, including a 30-year low in the number of
defendants given death sentences. The center also released a Gallup poll
that showed half of Americans surveyed preferred the death penalty to life
in prison without parole for convicted killers and 46 % supported life
A survey 5 years ago showed 56 % supported execution.
Questions have been raised about the death penalty in high levels of at
least 3 state governments this year.
New York's highest court found its capital punishment law to be
Leaders in New Jersey and California have called for a moratorium on
executions amid questions about the methods and legal procedures
surrounding the issue.
In January 2003, outgoing Illinois Gov. George Ryan granted clemency to
all 167 inmates then on his state's death row.
Last year, a dozen people were freed from death rows, more than any other
year since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, according to the AP.
This year, 5 people have been released, the AP reported.
"The events of the past year and the statistical evidence all point in one
direction," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty
"The public's confidence in the death penalty has seriously eroded over
the past several years. Because of so many failures, the death penalty is
rightly on the defensive. Life-without-parole offers the public a better
alternative without all the risks and expense."
Since 1976, 944 people have been put to death. Texas has had the most
executions, at 336, more than 1/3 of the nation's total.
Thirty-eight states and the federal government allow capital punishment,
but six of those states have not executed anyone since 1976.
Death Sentences on Decline as Public's Skepticism Grows
The number of death sentences imposed in the United States - and the
number of executions carried out - have declined sharply over the last 5
years, according to a report to be released today by the Death Penalty
Information Center, a group that opposes capital punishment.
In addition, a Gallup Poll in May showed that the number of Americans
favoring a verdict of life without the possibility of parole over the
death penalty has increased in the last seven years.
"By every measure, the death penalty in the U.S. has been in decline since
1999," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Washington-based
center, citing the public's concerns about innocence as a principal
5 death row inmates have been exonerated so far this year - 2 in Louisiana
and 1 each in Illinois, North Carolina and Texas - for a total of 117
people set free since 1976, when the Supreme Court reinstated capital
Robin M. Maher, director of the American Bar Assn.'s death penalty
representation project, agreed that statistics reflect the public's
growing skepticism in the reliability of the death penalty and decreased
confidence in fairness of the system.
"Juries are more reluctant to impose the death sentence for a variety of
reasons, prime among them a parade of wrongfully convicted people leaving
death row," she said.
But Charles Hobson, an attorney with the Sacramento-based Criminal Justice
Legal Foundation - which favors capital punishment - said there have been
fewer death sentences because the violent crime rate has gone down and
people feel safer. He said that budget crises facing many states also may
have caused some district attorneys to become more selective about seeking
the death penalty.
"It is extremely expensive" to prosecute a capital case, Hobson said.
Death sentences have continued to decline even though the murder rate
increased 1.7% last year, according to FBI figures released in October.
In 1999, 282 death sentences were handed down. In 2003, there were 144,
the lowest total in 30 years; 2004's total is likely to be smaller still,
according to Justice Department projections.
And the number of executions around the country has dropped almost 40% in
the last 5 years. In 1999, there were 98 executions, the most in the
modern era of the death penalty. By 2003, that figure had fallen to 65;
this year, there have been 59 with no other executions scheduled.
Dieter and other death penalty foes were heartened by the recent Gallup
Poll, which showed that though 50% of respondents said they favored
capital punishment, 46% said they favored life without possibility of
parole if that were presented as an alternative. When Americans were asked
the same question in 1997, the gulf was much wider - with 61% favoring
capital punishment and only 29% preferring life without parole.
Among other developments this year, according to the Death Penalty
Information Center's annual report:
- New York's highest appellate court ruled the death penalty to be
unconstitutional. The Legislature has yet to redraft the law.
- In Houston, the police chief said he would support a moratorium on
executions from Harris County, where major problems with the crime lab
were discovered. The county has generated more death sentences than any
other in the state.
- The California Legislature authorized a special commission to study the
- Congress passed the Innocence Protection Act, which provides greater
legal resources for those facing the death penalty and added protections
for those challenging their sentences.
Implementation of the death penalty continues to be concentrated in the
South and Southwest, which accounted for 85% of the executions in 2004.
Texas again was the national leader, with 23 executions this year.
(source: Los Angeles Times)
Death penalty retreats in US
The death penalty has been steadily retreating in the United States over
the past 5 years, and the tendency was confirmed in 2004, according to an
annual report by the Death Penalty Information Center.
The number of death sentences as well as executions of prisoners from
death row coincide with public opinion polls that show a decline in the
popularity of capital punishment in the United States, following its
reinstatement in 1976.
The number of death sentences has been steadily going down for 5 years,
resulting in a 50-% drop compared to 1999, according to the DPIC report.
According to the Department of Justice, 144 people were sentenced to death
in 2003, the lowest figure in about 30 years.
If a tendency observed in the first three quarters of this year holds, the
DPIC points out, this year should end with approximately 130 death
Meanwhile, executions have gone down about 10 %. If a total of 65 were
carried in 2003, 59 people were scheduled to die in the United States
until December 31 this year.
Over a 5-year period, the number of executions has dropped 40 %.
Most executions -- 85 % -- took place this year in a handful of southern
states. Only Ohio and Nevada escape this geographical pattern.
At the same time, the number of people on death row increased from 3,504
in 2003 to 3,471 now.
Public support for the death penalty continued to weaken in 2004 as a
result of a series of scandals sparked by judicial errors.
Asked by the Gallup organization if a premeditated murder would justify a
death sentence, 50 % of Americans responded positively while 46 % said
they would favor a life sentence.
In 1997, the gap between the 2 groups was 32 points, according to the
Other non-statistical indicators point to a decline of the controversial
punishment following numerous recent releases of prisoners from death row
who have been found innocent.
There were 12 such cases in 2003 and 5 others this year.
In other cases, there have been charges that defense attorneys have
botched their cases, failures that have resulted in death sentences.
On December 1, the Texas governor stayed for 4 months the execution of
Frances Newton, arguing that the case needed reevaluation.
The New York Supreme Court has recently expressed its opposition to
executions, opening the possibility for sentence commutation in the state.
In Texas, which leads the nation in executions, Houston police chief
Harold Hurtt has also called for a moratorium on executions following a
scandal involving his department's forensic laboratory whose reliability
has been seriously questioned.
(source: Agence France Presse)
Lawyer: Police used false warrant, letter
Carrboro police used a fake arrest warrant and a fake letter from the
district attorney vowing to seek the death penalty to try to trick a
suspect into confessing to a woman's 1997 disappearance, according to
documents submitted in court Monday.
As a result, the state's murder case against Andrew Douglas Dalzell,
charged with killing 35-year-old Deborah Leigh Key, may now be in
jeopardy. Defense attorneys are asking that statements Dalzell made to
Carrboro police following his arrest be thrown out. A judge is scheduled
to hear the defense's motion Wednesday.
The defense attorneys argue in their motion that officers used the fake
documents to trick Dalzell into believing he was being arrested for Key's
murder and would face the death penalty unless he immediately cooperated.
In fact, he was being arrested for stealing some fantasy figurines, a
credit card number and other merchandise from his former employer, court
The motion also claims police officers questioned Dalzell without
informing him of his Miranda rights. Dalzell, 28, was charged with
2nd-degree murder on Sept. 9 in connection with Key's disappearance. Her
body has not been recovered.
Although Carrboro police have not revealed all the evidence against
Dalzell, sources familiar with the case have said there may not be enough
to try him on the murder charge if a judge throws out the statements he
made to police.
Carrboro Police Chief Carolyn Hutchison declined to comment Monday.
District Attorney Carl Fox also declined to comment, other than to say he
didn't write the letter and that the signature on it wasn't his.
Key was last seen with Dalzell in Carrboro on the morning of Dec. 1, 1997.
Witnesses said the 2 met in a downtown bar and were last seen together in
a nearby parking lot after the bar closed. Key, who lived with her mother,
never returned home.
Although Dalzell was immediately a suspect, police could not find enough
evidence linking him to Key's disappearance until he asked Carrboro police
to provide security at his apartment in September as he packed up to move.
At the apartment, an investigator saw fantasy figurines, jars of paint,
model airplanes and other items that Dalzell said he had gotten while
employed at Hungate's Arts, Crafts & Hobbies at University Mall.
A few days later, the investigator checked with the manager at Hungate's
and learned Dalzell was suspected of stealing the items. Warrants were
drawn up in Chapel Hill charging Dalzell with theft and with the alleged
theft of a customer's credit card number, which he is accused of using to
obtain services from a Russian mail-order bride Internet site.
Carrboro police investigators then drove to Stanley, more than 140 miles
from Orange County, where Dalzell had moved in with his girlfriend's
family, and arrested him on charges of obtaining property by false
pretense, financial identity fraud and possession of stolen property.
Orange-Chatham Public Defender James Williams claims that's when the
trickery began, according to an affidavit filed in support of the motion
to suppress evidence.
5 Carrboro officers, joined by 5 Lincoln County Sheriff's investigators
and 2 uniformed deputies, went to the house in Stanley and arrested
Dalzell at gunpoint. He then was handcuffed and placed in the rear seat of
a Carrboro police car, the affidavit states.
According to the affidavit, Carrboro Lt. John Lau then placed the alleged
warrant for Dalzell's arrest on 1st-degree murder charges next to him on
The warrant appeared to be genuine, with Chief District Court Judge Joseph
Buckner's name typed in the space where the person issuing the warrant
Buckner told The Herald-Sun on Monday that he did not sign the warrant.
In addition, Dalzell was not promptly told that he was being arrested on
charges of obtaining property by false pretense, financial identity fraud
and possession of stolen property, a violation of North Carolina law, the
"Instead, the officers intentionally and purposely misled Andrew to
believe that he had been arrested for first-degree murder," the affidavit
Dalzell was left alone in the car with the fake warrant for about 20
minutes, before Lau got in the back seat and they headed back to Carrboro,
normally about a 3-hour drive.
"Without reading his Miranda rights, Lt. Lau began interrogating Andrew
within minutes of departing Lincoln County," the affidavit states. "Lt.
Lau then gave Andrew a letter, typed on District Attorney letterhead,
which purports to be a letter from Carl Fox to Carrboro Police Chief
Carolyn Hutchison," the affidavit states.
The letter states:
"Chief Hutchison: I spoke with Barbara Key this morning, and I assured her
that her daughter Deborah Key's murder was considered a capitol [sic]
crime, and that I would, without a doubt, seek the death penalty. Knowing
the facts as I do, I firmly believe that Andrew Dalzell will be put to
death for his heinous crime. I have also promised the Key family that
there would ABSOLUTELY BE NO PLEA ARRANGEMENTS OR ANY KIND OF DEAL MADE
WITH HIS LAWYERS.
"The only exception to this would be that "IMMEDIATELY UPON HIS ARREST,
Mr. Dalzell takes the police to Deborah Key's remains. ... If, when Mr.
Dalzell is arrested, he professes the desire to continue to live, and he
takes the police to Ms. Key's remains, please notify me. I would like to
be present when this happens.
"If you choose to let Mr. Dalzell read this letter so that he might
realize the seriousness of his situation, feel free to do so."
The letter then ends with Fox congratulating the officers for their work
and what purports to be the district attorney's signature.
According to the affidavit, another Carrboro officer interrogated Dalzell
during the return trip to Carrboro and later in an interrogation room at
the Police Department. That officer also allegedly showed Dalzell the
letter purported to be from Fox.
"Even though Andrew was sobbing, emotionally distraught and visibly upset,
Corporal Everett continued to question him without advising him of his
Miranda rights until Andrew eventually made an oral statement. Corporal
Everett then asked Lt. Lau to come into the room. Only then was Andrew
advised of his Miranda rights," the affidavit states.
Dalzell signed a waiver of his rights to remain silent and have an
attorney present, but it was not voluntary, the affidavit says, "because
it was obtained by the threat of death if he did not confess and the
promise or inducement of life and leniency if he did."
"The waiver was not knowing and intelligent, because it was obtained
through the officer's unconscionable deceit in using fraudulent court
documents to cause Andrew to believe he had been arrested for 1st-degree
murder when in fact no such warrant had been issued," the affidavit
In his motion to suppress Dalzell's statements, Williams said they were
involuntary because the officers interrogated Dalzell while in custody and
before advising him of his Miranda rights.
In addition, it says Dalzell's statements were obtained through
substantial violation of North Carolina law, which requires a law
enforcement officer making an arrest to "as promptly as is reasonable
under the circumstances, inform the arrested person of the cause of the
arrest, unless the cause appears to be evident."
According to the motion, the Fifth and 14th Amendments to the U.S.
Constitution and the N.C. Constitution require the exclusion of Dalzell's
statements in order to preserve his right to due process of law and to
protect his rights against involuntary self-incrimination.
(source: The Herald-Sun)
Convicted killer stays on death row
A 2-time convicted killer from Asheville will remain on death row after
the North Carolina Supreme Court justices who reviewed his case found no
error in his Buncombe County trial.
James Lewis Morgan, 49, is sentenced to death for the November 1997
stabbing death of Patrina Lynette King, 34.
During the trial, prosecutors asked jurors to deliver a death penalty
verdict because Kings killing had been especially cruel. The mother of
three had been stabbed 48 times with a broken malt liquor bottle, with
most of them being blows to the head and face. She was left to die outside
a Ridge Street house near downtown. Kings father, James King, said he
doesnt believe in capital punishment, but will not interfere with the
"Her birthday was Christmas Day," King said, adding his daughter stays in
his mind around the holidays. "I think about the pain and agony she went
through. I think about whether she had a chance to get right with God."
Witnesses, including inmate Willie Albert Jones, said during trial that an
argument over drugs and sex sparked the murder.
Jones had shared a cell area with Morgan and testified during trial that
Morgan wrote a rap song about Kings stabbing, saying "I told you once, I
told you twice, that you are going to have to pay the sacrifice . . . with
your life," according the Supreme Court opinion.
Morgan, who took the stand, testified that he acted in self-defense and
denied writing the rap song.
The Supreme Court, in an opinion filed earlier this month, ruled Morgan
received a fair trial.
Morgan had argued his motion to continue his case should have been granted
and one of his attorneys was improperly removed. The attorney was released
after she told the judge she recently had brain surgery and pending
radiation therapy might result in short-term memory loss. Morgan, through
Asheville attorney David Belser, also raised concerns about the statements
of Kenneth Cato, who said he witnessed Morgan chasing King with a knife.
Cato died a year before the capital case. Morgan argued allowing the jury
to hear Cato's statements made to other witnesses amounted to a violation
of his right to confront his accuser.
The high court determined the trial court erred in admitting Catos
statements, but the error was ultimately harmless in light of other
overwhelming evidence against Morgan. When King was killed, Morgan was on
parole for the 1976 murder of Asheville barber Doctor Thomas Brown. Morgan
pleaded guilty to 2nd-degree murder and was paroled in July 1990, having
served 14 years.
In North Carolina, the state Supreme Court must automatically review each
capital case under law. If the state high court finds no error, the inmate
can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
(source: Citizen Times)
Prosecutors not seeking death penalty in Rapid City stabbing
Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty against John H. Krogman,
accused of stabbing 1 woman to death and injuring another in a restaurant
Krogman, of Rapid City, was indicted on 1 count of 1st-degree murder, with
alternative charges of 2nd-degree murder, felony murder and 1st-degree
manslaughter, in the death of Brandi Standing Bear, 25.
The grand jury also indicted him on 1 count of attempted 1st-degree
murder, with an alternative charge of aggravated assault, for an attack on
Tammi Hamilton, 31.
The women worked at a Taco John's restaurant and were talking in the
parking lot after hours early on the morning of Sept. 1. Police said
Standing Bear was stabbed when she came to the aid of Hamilton after
Krogman attacked Hamilton.
A trial date was set for March 8.
(source: Associated Press)
We have death penalty, so use it
The death penalty, what a joke! The majority of the people of California
voted for it. Does not matter to me what your religious, moral or
political views are.
I do not believe the average taxpayer agrees that we should house, feed
and clothe convicted criminals for 20-plus years on death row. We see and
hear in the news how many thousands of dollars per convict, per year that
we are paying for Cary Stayner, etc. While I am not uncaring, the law is
the law. We made it so, so use it.
(source: Letter to the Editor, Modesto Bee)
Donors giving blood in Laci's name cheer husband's death sentence
In Laci Peterson's hometown, where the expectant mother became more widely
known in death than in life, donors giving blood in her name Monday
cheered as a jury sentenced her husband to death for her murder. Deantha
Myers, with a blue bandage around her arm, led the charge by clapping as
she heard the word "death" from a small television in the city's
convention center. The rest of the crowd of about 30 blood donors,
volunteers, medical staff remained silent as the judge confirmed the
verdict to execute Scott Peterson by lethal injection.
"Was it death?' asked Lisa Hedrick, a student volunteer.
"Yes!' Hedrick exclaimed.
"He shouldn't be able to live in a prison, you know, getting three meals a
day, having a bed to sleep in, while she's dead with her son,' said
Hedrick, 24. "The crime should fit the punishment and she's dead, so he
should be too.'
The death sentence verdict closed a chapter on the case that has
fascinated the nation and taken a more personal tone in the town where
Laci Peterson was once a high school cheerleader. Thousands of strangers
have grieved her death, showing up to a public memorial or laying flowers
and candles outside her house. Hundreds joined in the four-month search
for her body in the grassy foothills outside of town and along reservoirs,
canals and San Francisco Bay.
Outside the house where the Petersons decorated a nursery for the boy they
planned to name Conner, a neighbor, Scott Maxwell, gave a thumb's up sign
from the window of his pickup truck as the death sentence was broadcast on
Mishelle Dean showed up later with three children and a sign reading,
"Sweet Laci and innocent Conner may you now rest in peace!' They set the
sign down, joined hands and said a prayer.
The jury's verdicts seemed to have erased any sympathy Scott Peterson once
evoked when he spoke of his missing wife. He's scorned as the lying cheat
who led volunteers on aimless searches for his wife's body. Some call him
Still, some thought he deserved a life sentence in prison and at least one
blood donor was disturbed by the reaction that followed the verdict.
"I thought it was ironic that here we are giving blood, giving the gift of
life and people are cheering for the death penalty,' said Rodney Cordova,
39, who works at a BMW dealership. "That just doesn't make sense to me. If
you're pro-life, you should be pro-life all the way.'
Unlike the guilty verdict, which came during the lunch hour, there was
hardly a crowd in downtown Modesto in the early afternoon. Where a group
of nearly 30 people had pressed into a television van a month ago when
Scott Peterson was convicted of 1st-degree murder for killing his pregnant
wife, the number of TV trucks at least a half dozen outnumbered the size
of any crowd gathered near one.
It was by coincidence that the verdict came during the Second Annual Laci
and Conner Memorial Blood Drive. It was planned about six months ago, said
Arthur Morrison of the Delta Blood Bank. Nearly 700 people had given blood
in her name since Thursday, each earning buttons with a picture of Laci's
trademark wide smile.
Myers, 30, and her husband, Jason Myers, 29, were doing errands when a
country radio station announced the drive was taking place.
They headed right there not knowing that one pint later they would be
hearing the verdict among others sympathetic to Laci's plight. It was the
news they hoped for.
"She seemed like a wonderful person, just looking at the pictures,' Jason
Myers said. "I am so dead against people doing this against their loved
As blood was drawn in the back of the large hall, a small crowd of donors
snacked on crackers and gazed at the small monitor.
"Sucker!' Deantha Myers said after the judge accepted the verdict.
Then she started clapping again. This time most of those wearing Laci and
Conner pins joined in.
(source: Pasadena Star-News)
Will Scott Peterson Ultimately Be Executed? The Impact of Evidence Offered
in the Penalty Phase, and Its Effect on Appeal
For the past 6 months, in the confines of a California courtroom, the
twelve people sworn to decide Scott Peterson's fate have breathed the same
air as a man they ultimately judged to be a killer. Yesterday, it was
their job to judge, in addition, whether Peterson was worthy to breathe at
Outside the courthouse on that chilly December afternoon, a crowd gathered
to await word of the sentence -- cell phones at the ready. The Peterson
case had gripped a nation, since Scott's wife Laci disappeared on
Christmas Eve 2002.
The reading of the verdict was quick: The single word "Death." The jury
had recommended that Scott Peterson be put to death via the gallows of
California's San Quentin State Prison - 1 of only 2 correctional
facilities in the state to have a death row.
This time, there were no cheers, no jeers, and no cause for celebration --
only a quiet respect for two families who have lost so much.
With the penalty phase concluded, the jury was freed to speak with the
media about both phases of Peterson's trial - the guilt phase, and the
penalty phase. For example, Foreman Steve Cardosi explained why he voted
to convict: "Collaboratively, when you add it all up, there doesn't appear
to be any other possibility."
Now, only intervention by the trial court, the appellate court, or
Governor Schwarzenegger could save Peterson's life. Interestingly, though
the evidence introduced in the penalty phase of the trial did not convince
the jury to spare Peterson, it may be effective in convincing an appeals
court to do so. In this column, I will explain the reason why. But first,
a bit of background on the death penalty in California will be helpful.
The Anatomy of a California Death Penalty Case
Death penalty trials in California are an unusual animal. They are divided
into a "guilt" phase, in which the jury is tasked with deciding the
defendant's guilt or innocence, followed by, - if necessary - a "penalty"
phase in which the jury decides whether or not to recommend a death
Even in the most serious, non-capital felony cases - such as cases of
murder, rape, or a "third strike" that will send the defendant to jail for
life - sentencing is the judge's job. Only in capital cases, does the jury
California's penal code sets forth a laundry list of relevant factors the
jury can consider during the penalty phase. The prosecution may point to
"aggravating" factors suggesting the defendant should face death - for
instance, that he remains dangerous, was menacing in the courtroom, and
has not expressed remorse. The defense may point to "mitigating" factors
suggesting why his life should be spared - for instance, that the offense
may have been an aberration, or that the defendant is remorseful, or
youthful, or has limited mental capacities.
The prosecution can (and almost always will) present "victim impact"
testimony - by which family members, friends, and loved ones explain how
the crime has affected their lives. Conversely, however, the jury may not
consider the impact that execution would have on the defendant's family
At the conclusion of the presentation of evidence, attorneys for both
sides present closing arguments, just as they did in the guilt phase.
However, according to California's Penal Code, in the penalty phase, two
attorneys from each side are permitted to make closing arguments. Also,
unlike in the guilt phase, the defense attorney, not the prosecutor, has
the last word with the jury.
In the end, the jury's decision in the penalty phase is merely a
"recommendation" to the judge - but a recommendation to which most judges
afford great weight. If the jury recommends death, the judge can still opt
for a life sentence. But if the jury recommends a life sentence, the judge
cannot impose death. Also, if the jury deadlocks, the judge cannot impose
a death sentence, but must impose a sentence of life without the
possibility of parole.
The "judgment of conviction" is not official until the judge conducts a
formal sentencing hearing. In the Peterson phrase, that hearing is slated
for February 25, 2005.
During the penalty phase, Peterson's defense attorneys were caught between
a rock and a hard place in 2 different ways - as I will explain.
How the Defense's "Guilt Phase" Strategy May Have Hurt Them at the Penalty
First, the strategy the defense opted for during the guilt phase limited
its options in the punishment phase.
As I discussed in a prior column, in the trial's guilt phase, Peterson
attorney Mark Geragos called his own client a "14-karat a-hole," and a
"cad." Here's how Geragos began his closing: "Do you all hate him?"
Probably, every single juror did.
This was the right tactic to use during the guilt phase - Geragos had to
try to convince the jury to separate incontrovertible evidence that
Peterson plainly was a liar and adulterer, from tenuous, circumstantial
evidence suggesting he may have been a murderer. But it doubtless hurt
Peterson in the penalty phase.
There, prosecutors called Peterson a "monster." Geragos - who'd just
called his own client a "14 karat a--hole" - could hardly claim, in
response, that he was a choirboy.
No wonder, then, that Geragos simply appealed for the jury's mercy, saying
"I'd get down on my knee if it wouldn't look so contrived."
Indeed it would have, and Geragos - thankfully - remained upright.
Defense Lawyers' Brutal Choice: Should They Cite Doubt, Despite A Guilty
Second, the Peterson defense was limited not only by its own admissions,
but also by the simple fact that the jury had rendered a verdict of
Defense lawyers have a particularly difficult strategic choice to make at
the penalty phase of a capital trial: Should they point to remaining doubt
about their client's guilt - even though jurors convicted, and thus did
not find that doubt "reasonable"?
Or, should they throw their client to the lions, and proclaim - in effect
-- "The jig is up. You're right, he did it. We apologize for wasting the
last 6 months of your life. Now could you show our murderous client a bit
Neither of these options is palatable - the first may rub the jury the
wrong way, and the 2nd goes contrary to professional obligations. If even
his own attorney concedes his guilt, the defendant may suffer from the
concession on appeal.
So most defense attorneys are forced to pick a safe middle ground -
neither insisting on innocence, nor conceding guilt in so many words. And
that is exactly what occurred in the Peterson case. Fortunately for the
defense, however, California law -- unlike that of most death penalty
jurisdictions -- offers a term for the kind of doubt that is less than
reasonable doubt, and makes that "lingering doubt" a mitigating factor
counting against a death sentence.
It was also fortunate for the defense that the judge in the Peterson trial
thought a case could be made for "lingering doubt." Before the jury
retired to deliberate on their sentencing recommendation, Judge Delucchi
informed counsel, "I believe under the facts and circumstances of this
case that the court should give a lingering doubt instruction, so I intend
to do so."
As the judge instructed the Peterson jury, under California law, lingering
doubt - also called "residual doubt" is defined by jury instruction as
doubt that is beyond a reasonable doubt, but short of being beyond any
By making "lingering doubt" a mitigating factor, California law sends the
message that it is possible that a defendant can be guilty enough to be
convicted of the highest form of murder -- capital murder -- but not
guilty enough to pay the ultimate price: death.
How can "lingering doubt" be established? Geragos might have gone over the
circumstantial nature of the evidence against Peterson. But he wisely
chose not to: After all, that evidence did convince the jury.
Instead, Geragos opted for a subtler, smarter tactic. He tried to
introduce lingering doubt as to whether Peterson was the kind of man who
could have murdered his wife and unborn child. Specifically, he called
thirty-nine upstanding, respectable citizens - coaches, teachers,
neighbors, friends and relatives -- to the witness stand. Each of them
described, one by one, the good they saw in Scott Peterson, and most - if
not all -- testified that the Scott they knew could not have committed
such a heinous crime.
The jury still was not convinced to spare Peterson. But Geragos's strategy
may yet help Peterson avoid death, for it may convince Judge Delucchi to
disregard the jury's recommendation, or at a minimum, may help Peterson on
The Timing of the Appeal, and of the Possible Execution
If Judge Delucchi does confirm the jury's death recommendation - as most
California judges historically have - Peterson's appeal will, by law,
automatically go to the highest court in the state, the Supreme Court of
California, skipping the Court of Appeal. (In contrast, should Delucchi
impose a life sentence, despite the jury's recommendation, Peterson's
appeal will go through the usual appellate process.)
Several years or more may pass while the appeal is briefed and heard -
especially if Peterson seeks appointed appellate counsel, if he has run
out of funds. Meanwhile, if Peterson is under a death sentence, he will
spend his days alone in an 8' by 10' cell.
Death row inmates are segregated from the general population, while
"lifers" are permitted to mix and mingle. In Peterson's case, the lack of
mixing and mingling may be a blessing; with no criminal record, and
lacking a fierce demeanor or unusual strength, he would be vulnerable to
prison beatings - or worse.
If Peterson is ultimately executed, when would it happen? The answer is
probably: Years from now. At present, there are more than 600 inmates
currently on California's death row. Of them, only ten inmates since 1978
have actually been executed.
Meanwhile, 3 death row inmates have had their death sentences overturned.
Ironically, the most recent to be freed from death row was a defendant
from Stanislaus County, the very place where this case began. In June,
2003, the California Supreme Court in People v. "Jesse" Hernandez,
overturned Hernandez' conviction on grounds that "numerous and serious
errors" during the penalty phase required a new sentencing trial.
Incidentally, Hernandez' prosecutor was none other than District Attorney
James Brazelton - the man who made the decision to file Scott Peterson's
case as a capital case.
Exonerations often take place due to DNA evidence that either clears the
prisoner, or implicates another perpetrator. If DNA someday showed Scott
Peterson was not a perpetrator -- but rather the victim of a bizarre
coincidence, by which his wife's body was dumped near his favorite fishing
spot -- would you be shocked?
If not, then perhaps you too, dear reader, have "lingering doubt."
(source: FindLaw -- Jonna M. Spilbor is a frequent guest commentator on
Court-TV and other television news networks, where she has covered many of
the nation's high-profile criminal trials. In the courtroom, she has
handled hundreds of cases as a criminal defense attorney, and also served
in the San Diego City Attorney's Office, Criminal Division, and the Office
of the United States Attorney in the Drug Task Force and Appellate units.
In 1998, she earned certification as a Court Appointed Special Advocate
with the San Diego Juvenile Court. She is a graduate of Thomas Jefferson
School of Law, where she was a member of the Law Review)
Wecht shocked by Peterson sentence
The jurors who sentenced Scott Peterson to death for killing his wife and
unborn child "went wild" and were "out of control," Pittsburgh forensic
pathologist Dr. Cyril H. Wecht said Monday.
"Wow. Oh, my God," Wecht said as he watched the news broadcast of the
"I think that they clearly were in a vengeful mode," he said during a news
conference a few minutes later. "They set upon a path, and this is what
they were going to do."
Wecht, the Allegheny County coroner, said he was shocked by the death
sentence because the case against Peterson was purely circumstantial.
"(There was a) complete absence of physical evidence," he said. "I never
would have thought there would be a death penalty verdict.
"Somewhere along the line it is clear to me that not only was the jury
lost to the defense, but the jury became hostile to the defense."
Absent any physical evidence, Wecht said, the jurors had to imagine Scott
Peterson premeditated the murder, transported Laci Peterson's body to a
dock, loaded it on a boat and dumped it in the sea -- all without leaving
any physical evidence for investigators to find.
Given the advanced forensic techniques available to modern investigators,
"This is not so easily accomplished," Wecht said.
Wecht made two visits to California, performing autopsies on the bodies of
Laci Peterson and her unborn child, reviewing all the evidence with
detectives and visiting Peterson's home and the site where the bodies were
discovered. Wecht did not testify because there was no physical evidence
"There wasn't anything to grab hold of," he said. "There wasn't enough to
Wecht said Peterson has strong grounds for an appeal, particularly because
two jurors were dismissed late in the trial.
"There is going to be a new trial," he told reporters. "I will wager you
will all be grandparents -- every one of you here -- before Scott Peterson
Wecht said he wonders how the jurors can justify their decision to
themselves or their God.
"I'd like to be sitting next to them in their churches in 10 days," he
(source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Good Riddance, Peterson Trial
So now, finally, the day-to-day agony that was the Scott Peterson trial is
over. Good riddance to it. The legal significance of the case (none) was
always completely out of proportion with the media attention given to it
(excessive). It's no wonder judges are taking out their frustrations upon
journalists, jurors don't want to serve as the conscience of their
communities and the public has a distorted view of what's really important
in the world of the law.
The story of the Peterson story - by that I mean the narrative that began
with his wife's disappearance and ended today - really is more of a story
about how the media and the law sometimes intersect in ways which do
neither justice. While the cameras and notebooks were trained on Scott and
Laci and Amber and the grieving parents and the angry in-laws and the
combative friends those cameras and notebooks were not trained on legal
events and issues of far greater significance.
There is a crisis within the federal court system brought about by a lack
of judicial appointments - a problem that affects tens of thousands of
people every day. The very concept and structure of sentencing in criminal
cases is now in doubt after a Supreme Court ruling last June. This is a
concern so troubling that the Justices themselves scheduled it back onto
their calendar at the first of the current term. As chronicled earlier
this week, there is a big fight over the death penalty between the Supreme
Court and the courts of Texas. There are cases involving the USA Patriot
Act that touch upon some of the freedoms we take for granted and there are
the cases where journalists are being criminally sanctioned despite the
First Amendment's free press protections.
How many times have you seen any of these issues debated at night on cable
television? How many breathless websites have you seen devoted to these
topics? Despite the obvious fact that these cases and these issues will
affect your life much more directly than the sad tale of Scott and Laci,
you probably haven't heard boo about these stories unless you've gone out
of your way to do so. This is a shame upon too many mainstream
journalists, who have shown again that they are perfectly willing to cater
to the public's basest instincts in the false name of "newsworthiness."
And it's also a shame for the legal system, which Lord knows could use a
big dose of attention drawn to the huge problems listed above.
Scott Peterson? He is merely a boil on the butt of the law. His case adds
nothing new to what we already know about crime and punishment in America.
It gives us no scintillating new legal theories and certainly does not
represent a high-water mark in the annals of legal representation. The
prosecution case against him was miserable and inexcusably long. His
defense was lame, right down to the dubious mea culpa offered during the
penalty phase by star attorney Mark Geragos who didn't even have the
courtesy and respect to show up in court at his client's side at last
month's announcement of the initial verdict. Even the trial judge failed
to adequately protect or respect jurors by allowing a four-week trial to
turn into an eight-month-long ordeal. If the trial were a Broadway play it
would have been panned and closed early. If it were a movie, it would be
Ishtar or Gigli.
Unfortunately, the truth is that spouses murder each other all the time in
this and every other country in the world. Husbands murder wives. Wives
murder husbands. It is a tragedy every time it happens and yet every time
it happens we don't as a society become fixated with who did what to whom
and why. So how and why did the Scott and Laci story become such an
obsession? Why them and not some other sad tale of a marriage gone bad?
Did people care about the case because the media covered it or did the
media cover it because people cared? The answer is both and neither.
Let's face it. Among all the other murder cases that rose up a few years
ago and could have drawn our attention, we fixated upon the Peterson case
because the principals both were white and good looking; because Laci,
pregnant, disappeared right before Christmas, and, most importantly,
because family members on both sides (before they split over Scott's
arrest) used the media to initially get out the story of Laci's
disappearance. When Laci was just missing, when there still was hope that
she might be found, the Peterson and Rocha families shrewdly took to the
airwaves seeking help. They knew, as more and more savvy news consumers
know, that journalists, especially television journalists, especially
cable television journalists, cannot resist a dramatic tale.
So they used the media to help with the search. And in so doing, they
struck a chord with viewers and listeners around the country who, once
Laci's body was found, were already so invested with the story that they
have never since turned away. It didn't hurt, from the sleaze point of
view, that the story also included a hot mistress, and plenty of stormy
and steamy and unseemly audiotape. The Peterson case is the 1st post 9-11
story that reminds us of how unfocused we were about what really mattered
before the attacks on America.
At the beginning of this story, the families used the media (can you blame
them?) and ever since the media have used them (can you blame them)? And
in the middle of this dance have been the American people, at least those
millions who actually care about this case. If this scenario sounds
familiar, it is. Remember Chandra Levy? How about Elizabeth Smart?
Samantha Runnion? Dru Sjodin? In each case, the family of the victim was
savvy enough to know that the way to expedite the search for a loved one
is to get onto local television-- whether or not local reporters initiate
the contact that first makes it happen. And local television is savvy
enough to woo the networks and cable television with these sorts of local
stories, which, like wildfire, can spread with repeated exposure on cable.
So instead of giving us an important lesson about the law, or even marital
relationships, perhaps the only lesson of the long, sordid Peterson case
is that there is now a confirmed channel, a pathway, an itinerary, a
charted course for turning an ordinary, average murder into a national
news sensation. If you or your family suffers a tragedy, and you want to
try to use the media to help you, understand that you will end up being
used yourself. You try to ride the tiger and you end up inside. Even if
that lesson says a lot about who we are as a society, it just doesn't
justify all the attention. Not even close.
Peterson himself now begins his long journey through the appellate system
in California (and then on to the federal courts, which have to vet every
capital conviction). This isn't a quick process. Unless his conviction and
sentence are overturned on appeal - an unlikely scenario even though the
evidence against him is weak and the trial was often marred by bizarre
events - he probably will be kicking around the state's penal system for
decades, a generation perhaps, before he is executed. And that assumes no
major changes in the dynamics of the death penalty between now and then.
Did Scott really murder Laci despite the lack of evidence that says he
did? Or is he really just one of the unluckiest guys in the history of the
world, a cheating, lying, despicable creep of a husband who just happened
to be fishing in the same bay where his murdered wife's body eventually
turned up. Who knows? And, unless you are part of the Peterson or Rocha
families, for whom this tragedy never will end, who cares?
(source: CBS News -- Attorney Andrew Cohen analyzes legal issues for
CBSNews.com and CBS News)
Death sentence draws muted applause in the streets
Bystanders cheered as a jury recommended that Scott Peterson die for
killing his pregnant wife and her fetus, but the reaction lacked the wild
exuberance that characterized the response to the guilty verdict last
"Today, a chill went through my body," said Steve Chapman of San Jose, who
was outside the courthouse Monday as jurors delivered their verdict after
deliberating for about 11 hours over three days.
Chapman was among about 300 people gathered outside the San Mateo County
Superior Court building in Redwood City for the verdict in the penalty
phase of the trial. He also had been in the 1,000-strong crowd that turned
out for the guilty verdict Nov. 12 and noted that the mood this time was
far more somber.
"The death penalty is too good for him," said Chapman. "He'd be worse off
in a cell for 50 years."
Peterson, a 32-year-old former fertilizer salesman was convicted of
1st-degree murder in the death of his wife and second-degree murder for
killing her fetus. Prosecutors say he strangled or smothered Laci Peterson
on or around Christmas Eve 2002 and dumped the body in San Francisco Bay.
About 4 months later, the remains of Laci Peterson and the fetus washed
ashore, just a few miles from where Peterson claimed to have gone fishing
alone the day his wife was reported missing.
Jurors delivered their verdict of death after deliberating for about 11
1/2 hours over three days. The San Francisco Examiner came out with a
special edition within minutes of the sentence, with the giant headline
Formal sentencing is Feb. 25. The judge will have the option of reducing
the sentence to life, but such a move is unlikely.
Bystanders agreed that execution was a suitable penalty.
"He got what he deserved and I'm glad," said Carol Tripp of Redwood City.
"I'm a Democrat, but I'm for the death penalty," said Dave Ogden, 38, of
Sunnyvale. "If there was anyone to have the death penalty apply to it's
Scott Peterson," he said. "It's disgusting what he did."
Joan O'Keefe of Redwood City was drawn to the courthouse Monday to watch
the reaction of the crowd after seeing the cheers broadcast on TV
following the guilty verdict.
She attributed the public's fascination with the case to the way Scott and
Laci Peterson seemed to be a typical American family and the timing of
Laci Peterson's murder.
It was, she said, "a modern Christmas epic."
(source: Associated Press)
SAN QUENTIN: LIFE ON THE INSIDE -- Long, lonely wait lies ahead
Breakfast arrives about 6 a.m., on a thermal tray through a port in the
Later, Scott Peterson can walk under escort to the yard for a game of
hoops or chess, a splash of sun and a breath of sea air. Then it's back to
a windowless cell and the 48 square feet he will call home.
State prison officials say Peterson, who was sentenced to die Monday for
the murders of his wife, Laci, and their unborn son, Conner, most likely
will live among 450 condemned inmates in East Block, a 5-tier structure
built in 1927 on the grounds of the Marin County prison.
The 32-year-old former fertilizer salesman and high school golf star will
peer through bars and a thick black mesh with diamond-shaped holes little
bigger than sunflower seeds, said Sgt. Eric Messick, a warden's assistant.
There's not much to view anyway, he said. The windows across the outer
walkway are tarnished from weather and time.
"All they can see is maybe a (guard) go by every now and then, and an
inmate under escort," said Messick.
East Block is the largest of 3 buildings where the state's 611 condemned
men pass their years, plot their appeals and await state-prescribed death.
Unlike other prisoners, death row inmates stay locked in their cells.
Peterson can lie there and read, watch TV or just think on his steel-frame
bunk with the roll-up mattress made by other San Quentin inmates who,
unlike death-row inmates, can hold jobs. A sack lunch comes with sandwich
fixings, chips, a piece of fruit and flavored drink powder.
The state has executed 10 men since voters reaffirmed the death penalty in
1978. They sat on death row an average of 16 years. The most recent,
Stephen Wayne Anderson, died by lethal injection in January 2002 after
more than 20 years there.
9 death row inmates have lived there for more than a quarter century,
state data shows. The average is nearly 12 years. The oldest condemned man
is 74, the youngest 23.
About 70 of the longest-serving, best-behaved of them live in North
Segregation, the original "Condemned Row" built in 1934. More than 100 of
those deemed most dangerous live behind solid cell doors in the Adjustment
Center, prison officials said. 2 guards escort each of those "Grade B"
inmates to a 12-by-6 foot, fence-enclosed "walk-alone yard" for exercise.
"It's enough room to wander back and forth," Messick said.
That's where Peterson will stay for a few weeks after his formal
sentencing in February if San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Alfred
Delucchi affirms the jury's decision.
When Peterson arrives, he'll be strip-searched and given a medical exam, a
haircut and 2 sets of prison blues -- jeans and chambray shirts. In
return, he'll give a sample of his DNA.
Corrections officials will decide where to house him, based on medical,
psychological and other factors, including any threats he poses to others,
or vice versa.
"There are other inmates who may view assaulting him or harming him in
some way as a feather in their cap," said Terry Thornton, a Department of
Corrections spokeswoman. "It's a warped way of thinking, but there it is."
Peterson can expect a rough greeting from some inmates, said Oscar Lee
Morris, who spent six years on death row. Morris, 61, left death row in
1989 after an appeals court found prosecutorial misconduct, then was freed
in 2000 when a key witness recanted his testimony.
"A lot of guys'll be calling him a baby killer," said Morris. "He'll have
to get used to the atmosphere, the whole environment. It's the end of the
line right there. Technically, all you're doing is waiting to die."
Peterson will likely be assigned to a yard based on "compatibility" with
other inmates, officials said. Some groups feature inmates pegged as
active gang participants.
"They may love to have him there, but I don't think that's going to
happen," said Messick. More likely he'll be placed with inmates classified
as being no threat to each other, although he might be isolated further
based on his notoriety.
"He'll be all right as far as anybody doing anything to him," said Morris,
who now lives in Los Angeles. "A lot of guys are involved in their (legal)
cases. They won't give Scott Peterson a second look. He's just another
guy, another statistic."
For Morris, pain came with the pictures of loved ones he got in the mail.
"You can talk to the pictures," he said, "but they can't talk back."
Peterson, like all the condemned, will have his own cell with a stainless
steel sink and toilet and, for a mirror, plastic covered with reflective
He can keep a TV up to 13 inches. A prison system offers a few local
channels. Closed-circuit TV pipes in occasional movies -- PG-13 and
gentler. The inmates can keep books, a music player and a wall poster, if
it's not too racy.
The condemned can take in-cell study courses and request law journals and
other books. Until July 1, when it is outlawed in all state prisons, they
can buy tobacco.
Maybe Peterson's lawyer will come by to hash over his appeal. Or family
members will visit during scheduled hours. If not, he can call them on the
phone that rolls by each day on a cart.
At first, he will greet visitors only through thick Plexiglas with phone
receivers on either side. Later, he can meet them face to face, embracing
them upon meeting and again before they go.
"One brief kiss," said Messick of the rules. "No movie kisses."
Conjugal visits are prohibited. Still, Peterson could spark up a written
romance. He could even get remarried. The prison has a marriage
coordinator and a justice of the peace. Weddings are held the 3rd Thursday
of each month.
"I know one thing," said Messick. "They're not having a honeymoon night."
Inmates can shower every other day, "on their own, by themselves" in
secured showers, taken there in handcuffs under guard escort, said
Dinner comes about 5:30 p.m., again served in their cells. There is no
"lights out" time, said Messick. Peterson will control his cell light, and
he can stay up as long as he wants.
Breakfast arrives about 6 a.m., on a thermal tray through a port in the
(source: Contra Costa Times)
Alexander juror wants off panel -- 'Sausage king' juror wants off of panel
A juror standing between convicted triple killer Stuart Alexander and the
death penalty asked a judge Monday to remove her from the panel weighing
the fate of San Leandro's deposed "sausage king."
Juror No. 7, a former probation officer turned Realtor, contended she
wasn't getting enough respect in the deliberation room, where she aligned
herself with the defense stance that the 43-year-old Alexander should be
sent to prison for life instead of executed.
The juror dug into her position at the outset of penalty phase
deliberations and has refused to budge or discuss her reasoning, another
member of the panel told Alameda County Superior Court Judge Vernon
Nakahara as he probed the situation in open court.
The juror told Nakahara that a similar standoff developed during
deliberations in the first phase of the trial, which ended with Alexander
found guilty of murdering federal and state meat inspectors Jean Hillery
of Alameda, Thomas Quadros and William Shaline and trying to murder state
meat inspector Earl Willis at Santos Linguisa Factory in San Leandro on
June 21, 2000.
Juror 7 "made a scene and got snappy" at one point but has basically sat
quietly in the deliberation room, one of her peers told Nakahara. Juror 7
contended her fellow jurors have made the defense the butt of jokes and
bought pig key chains to mock the linguisa plant heir, who used swine for
pets as well as sausage stuffing.
"We can't come to a decision because we have a juror who is not
comfortable with the deliberation process and doesn't feel they can make a
decision within this group," the jury foreman said, reading to Nakahara
from a prepared statement after the judge gave the panel some time in the
jury room to ponder whether it was at an impasse.
Nakahara sent jurors home for the night and ordered them to return to his
courtroom this morning, when he will decide how to proceed. Nakahara can
replace Juror 7 with an alternate, leave the panel unchanged and encourage
members to find common ground or declare a mistrial.
Defense attorney Michael Ogul demanded that Nakahara declare a mistrial.
The assistant public defender said that from his perspective, Juror 7 was
deliberating, and the jury was irrevocably deadlocked.
"It's not an impasse if a juror refuses to deliberate," Deputy District
Attorney Paul Hora countered to Nakahara. "If there is a problem, nip it
in the bud."
Monday was the 5th full day jurors have been considering whether
Alexander's multiple murders of government agents should be punished by
execution or life imprisonment with no chance of parole. Deliberations
began at 2:15 p.m. Dec. 6.
Ogul argued at trial that Alexander killed Hillery, Quadros and Shaline
because he was convinced they were bent on destroying the sausage business
founded by Alexander's family generations earlier. Prosecutors Jack
Laettner and Hora countered that Alexander gunned down the inspectors as
merciless payback for insisting he conform to food safety standards.
Alexander did not testify at the proceedings.
(source : Oakland Tribune)
Dead Men Walking, Dead Man Talking
The jury says he's guilty and the jury says he dies, and that would be it
for California's Scott Peterson save for the fact that, given the nature
of the appeals process, in which Peterson presumably will participate
because that is what the condemned usually do, it will be at least 10
years and probably closer to more than twice that before he ever goes over
to the beautiful golden shore.
During which time you can bet Peterson's name will loom regularly large in
American society's continuing wrenching debate over the death penalty. He
might as well get his own cable channel right now. All Scott, All the
By contrast, Long Island's own Danny Pelosi merely goes off to the big
house and you'll never hear his name again, as here in New York there is,
unfortunately, no death sentence available to prosecutors, thanks to our
highest court and the Assembly's refusal to write a simple fix into the
law. And even were the law in effect, New York's statute says Pelosi's
crime would not qualify as capital in any case, cold-blooded murder though
it was. So here is the death penalty as it stands, East Coast and Left:
Both Scott Peterson and Danny Pelosi have lengthy lives yet ahead of them.
By refreshing contrast, here is Connecticut's Michael Ross, who hopes the
courts will not interfere with his scheduled Jan. 26 execution. There have
been no executions in kind-hearted Connecticut in 45 years, but Ross is
well-deserving - he is the self-admitted slayer of eight women and girls -
and after 20 years of appeals, he's throwing in the towel because he wants
to spare his victims' families further anguish. "I am hoping that Jan. 26,
that will be a signpost that they can say,
'That was the day I began letting go of the anger.' I'm just trying to
bring this to an end, Your Honor," Ross said.
Ross got that point just right. Enough is enough.
(source: Editorial, New York Daily News)
More information about the DeathPenalty