[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----OKLA., USA, IND., CALIF.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Jul 6 10:05:51 CDT 2004
OKLAHOMA----execution date changed
Appeals Court Sets Execution Date
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has scheduled an August 26th
execution date for a man convicted of beating his girlfriend's 2-year-old
daughter to death in 1987.
The court originally set the date for August 19th, but the Attorney
General's Office said prosecutors and attorneys for Windel Ray Workman
wouldn't be available then, making last-minute appeals difficult.
An Oklahoma County jury sentenced the 46-year-old Workman to death for
fatally beating Amanda Holman, the daughter of Workman's live-in
According to court records, Workman had a history of abusing the child,
who died of multiple blows to the head and abdomen.
A clemency hearing before the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board is
scheduled for August 5th at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.
(source: Associated Press)
Kerry Taps Edwards for Running Mate
Sen. John F. Kerry said today that he has selected Sen. John Edwards of
North Carolina as his vice presidential running mate. Kerry informed
Edwards of the decision in a brief telephone call this morning, shortly
before making the public announcement at a rally in downtown Pittsburgh.
The news also was announced to Kerry supporters through an e-mail. The 2
will campaign together later today and this week.
Edwards is "a man who understands and defends the values of America" and
showed "guts and determination" in his own race for the Democratic
presidential nomination, Kerry told cheering supporters in Pittsburgh.
Kerry and Edwards will team up against President Bush and Vice President
Cheney in an election that already is one of the most intensive and
negative in recent memory. Polls show Kerry and Bush running roughly even
at this stage.
Edwards, 51, a wealthy former trial lawyer and first-term senator, was the
last candidate standing against Kerry in the battle for the Democratic
nomination earlier this year after igniting his candidacy with a surprise
second-place finish to the Massachusetts senator in the Iowa caucuses.
His lone victory in the primaries came in his home state of South
Carolina, but he made a lasting impression on many Democrats with his
powerful message decrying the "two Americas," divided between the wealthy
and the rest of the population, prompting some in the party to compare his
campaign skills with those of former president Bill Clinton.
Democratic strategists said Edwards would add energy and excitement to the
Democratic campaign, bring southern regional appeal to a ticket headed by
a Bostonian and help Kerry woo suburban and swing voters in battleground
states in the Midwest and elsewhere.
Edwards lacks extensive foreign policy experience at a time when national
security is one of the central issues in the presidential campaign, and
his years as a trial lawyer drew criticism from the White House and other
Republicans during the Democratic primaries.
Even before the choice was announced, the Bush-Cheney campaign sought to
diminish the choice. Spokeswoman Nicolle Devenish said in an early morning
e-mail that Kerry's selection would be the candidate's second choice, a
reference to the fact that Kerry initially sought to recruit Republican
Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who is supporting Bush for reelection. The
Bush campaign announced it would begin airing a new television ad
featuring McCain's support of Bush.
Kerry and Edwards agree on many major issues in the campaign. Both
supported the congressional resolution authorizing President Bush to go to
war in Iraq and both voted against last year's $87 billion appropriation
for Iraq and Afghanistan. Both support rolling back Bush's tax cuts aimed
at the wealthiest Americans but support other tax cuts for middle-class
Despite those agreements, some Democrats questioned whether Kerry would
choose Edwards because of reports during the primaries that the
Massachusetts senator felt Edwards did not have all the qualifications
needed to be president. Friends of both men said over the past few days
that their relationship was stronger than generally suggested. Whatever
qualms Kerry may have had, they said, Edwards' performance in the
primaries had helped erase them.
Kerry's early morning e-mail today said: "In just a few minutes, I will
announce that Senator John Edwards will join me as my running mate on the
Democratic ticket as a candidate for vice president of the United States.
Teresa and I could not be more excited that John and Elizabeth Edwards
will be our partners in our journey to make America stronger at home and
respected in the world."
Kerry's decision came after one of the most secretive vice presidential
searches in recent history. Headed by Washington businessman and
Democratic Party veteran James Johnson, the effort reflected Kerry's
determination to shield the contenders from too much public exposure and
possible embarrassment if they were not chosen. Campaign manager Mary Beth
Cahill was also one of the few Kerry advisers directly involved.
Throughout the process, the Kerry campaign offered no information on who
was under consideration and while some of Kerry's meetings with those on
his short list became public, others never did. Among those who were also
believed to be in the running were Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.), Iowa
Gov. Tom Vilsack and Sen. Bob Graham (Fla.).
According to information provided by Kerry's campaign, the candidate began
with a list of about 25 people and after conducting some background
research on each, eventually winnowed down the list to his final choice.
More than 300 people were consulted along the way.
Kerry set out five criteria for Johnson and Cahill to look for in a
potential running mate, according to the campaign. They included someone
with a distinguished record of leadership, someone committed to Kerry's
core agenda, someone with the ability to campaign in all parts of the
country, someone compatible with Kerry "on every level" and someone
immediately ready to assume the presidency at any moment.
As the search got underway, there was a consensus among Kerry advisers to
make an early selection to help raise money and fend off attacks from
Bush's campaign. Over time, as polls continued to show the race close and
as money poured into the campaign, the view shifted to waiting until a
time closer to the Democratic National Convention, which begins on July
Kerry was a finalist four years ago (as was Edwards) when then vice
president Al Gore was the Democratic nominee and was bruised by the sense
of public rejection. In keeping with his desire to do it differently,
Kerry called the other finalists personally to tell them of his choice.
Edwards was born in South Carolina in 1953 and spent most of his childhood
in the small town of Robbins, N.C., where his father worked as a
supervisor in a textile mill. He graduated from North Carolina State
University in 1974 and the University of North Carolina law school in
Over the next 20 years, the boyishly handsome Edwards became a successful
and wealthy trial lawyer, amassing a small fortune from the judgments won
on behalf of his clients. One of his most celebrated cases involved a
5-year-old girl who was badly injured when she was caught in a swimming
pool drain, a case in which the jury returned a $25 million verdict in
The following year Edwards jumped into politics, despite having had little
involvement in political activity up to that point. He challenged
incumbent Republican senator Lauch Faircloth, a conservative ally of the
state's best-known politician at the time, Sen. Jesse Helms.
Despite his inexperience in politics, Edwards proved to be an attractive
and skillful candidate in that race, winning by 51 % to 47 % in a state
that was growing more and more difficult for Democrats.
Edwards has a relatively thin legislative record in the Senate but gained
a reputation as a quick study, a tough questioner in hearings and an
effective spokesman for the party's positions in floor debates. He serves
on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate Select Committee on
Intelligence, the Small Business Committee and the Health, Education,
Labor and Pensions Committee.
With Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), he
played a central role in the Senate passage of legislation giving patients
the right to sue their Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs). The bill
never became law after the House passed a competing version that has not
During the presidential campaign, Edwards announced that he would not seek
a 2nd term in the Senate.
Edwards is married to Elizabeth Edwards, whom he met in law school, and
the couple has had 4 children. Catharine, their oldest, is a recent
graduate of Princeton University. One son, Wade, died in an automobile
accident in 1996. After his death, the couple had 2 more children, Emma
Claire, 6, and Jack, 4.
[my note----Edwards was the most pro-death penalty Democratic candidate in
(source: Washington Post)
INDIANA----federal death penalty trial
Death penalty trial to begin -- FEDERAL COURT: Feds seeking execution for
2 men accused of killing local gun dealer
In Hammond, jurors will be picked beginning today to decide the fate of 2
alleged gang members in the 1st death penalty murder trial in decades in
U.S. District Court.
The U.S. attorney's office is seeking the execution of Styles D. Taylor,
24, and Keon R. Thomas, 29, both of Hammond, alleged members of the
Gangster Disciples street gang. They are accused of the March 20, 2000,
killing of Frank Freund, a local gun merchant.
They are pleading not guilty to charges they robbed Firearms Unlimited Gun
Shop, 935 Chicago Ave., and killed Freund.
Federal prosecutors and defense lawyers will this week select a dozen
jurors and several alternates. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Philip Benson and
David Nozick will present the evidence against the pair.
They and defense lawyers are forbidden by a court gag order from
commenting on the case. But the case against the 2 defendants has been
outlined publicly in a federal grand jury indictment returned more than 3
years ago on evidence collected by Hammond police and the U.S. Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
It alleges Taylor, Thomas and Damione "Papa" Thomas, 23, of Hammond,
planned the robbery, drove to the store early that afternoon in a Cadillac
and shot Freund in the face and neck.
Freund, a 6-foot-tall, 200-pound man, had a reputation for defending
himself and his business. He killed a man burglarizing his store in 1976.
The 73-year-old firearms dealer's killing was especially devastating for
the Freund family because Frank's wife Delores Freund, 55, was gunned down
in a 1992 robbery of the store.
The indictment alleges the men stole 32 firearms worth hundreds of dollars
to sell and barter on the street. They allegedly gave Adam Williams Jr.,
24, of Hammond, the Cadillac to have it repainted and reregistered in
another name to conceal the crime.
Federal authorities allege Taylor bragged about the Freund killing to a
couple of men who, unknown to him, were confidential police informants.
Police arrested Taylor 3 weeks after the crime and Keon Thomas 4 months
Prosecutors said they found one of the guns stolen from Firearms Unlimited
-- a 9 mm Intratec Tec-9 semiautomatic pistol -- hidden in a crawl space
of Thomas' home.
Williams and Damione Thomas pleaded guilty last September to being
accessories to the crime and are expected to be star witnesses for the
Taylor is being defended by lawyers David Vanercoy, of Valparaiso, and
public defender John Martin.
Keith Spielfogel and Scott Frankel, of Chicago, are defending Keon Thomas.
They have indicated in public court documents they intend to argue
Williams and Damione Thomas are unreliable witnesses motivated by promises
of leniency to paint the worst picture of Taylor and Keon Thomas.
If convicted of the killing, the trial would enter into a second phase in
which prosecutors will attempt to prove the 2 men deserve capital
punishment because they would remain a danger to society.
Defense lawyers intend to call Robert Warden, executive director of
Northwestern University Law School's Center on Wrongful Convictions, to
testify the death penalty trial system is so flawed that a number of death
row inmates have later been exonerated.
(source: Northwest Indiana Times)
Defender's work is a matter of life or death
Half Moon Bay resident Donald Ayoob, 49, was recently appointed assistant
state public defender after more than 15 years with the office
representing prisoners on California's death row. He recently spoke with
staff writer Amy Yarbrough about the legal system and the pressures of his
Q. I imagine your stress level shoots up quite a bit when you're dealing
A. It's very stressful work. We have a few attorney here who have been
practicing a year, 2 years, 3 years. If a constitutional claim could save
someone's life, and you miss it due to inexperience or neglect, it's not
like somebody loses some money or does a few extra years -- they could
Q. How do you not take it home with you?
A. That's not easy to do. The first several years, that was very
difficult. My first capital case lasted from 1989 until 1995 or 1996. That
was an emotional roller-coaster.
Q. I imagine you get to know someone pretty well.
A. Sure you do. That fellow was 18 months younger than me, and he was born
and raised about 12, 13 miles south of where I was in Los Angeles. So you
have comfortable San Fernando Valley suburb versus central L.A. ghetto
life. The juxtaposition was never lost on me. At some point you begin
asking yourself "What would have happened to me? Where would I have ended
up?" That fellow had very low I.Q., which I think has a lot to do with how
he developed. We eventually prevailed, so he's now doing life without
Having gone through that once, it made it a little easier to take on the
next case. You have to compartmentalize your work, because if you didn't,
you'd be a pretty morose person.
Q. On average, how many death penalty cases does this office handle in a
A. We currently have 118 direct appeals and 18 open habeas corpus
cases.The habeas corpus cases are very labor-intensive. In a habeas corpus
case, you examine whatever constitutional claims may be available to the
client about the fairness of the proceeding. You end up having to
reinvestigate a great deal of the case.
There are upwards of about 100 people on death row who have no lawyer
whatsoever and are awaiting the appointment of a lawyer. The current delay
between entry of a death judgment in Superior Court and transportation to
San Quentin and having a lawyer to represent you is about 4 or 5 years.
Things happen in those four or five years: records get destroyed,
witnesses pass away.
Q. When you started here, were all the cases this office handled
A. No. When I came here, this office handled all kinds of appeals in
felony criminal cases. That was of interest to me, because you get more
Q. Like what?
A. I had one client who was involved in what could charitably be called a
date-rape situation. He had an absolutely clean record, and he was
sentenced to 36 years in prison. There was no weapon, and the woman didn't
suffer any major mayhem to her person, other than, of course, the trauma
of the event itself. Here was a truck driver, 48 years old, who basically
lived a law-abiding life, and while mildly intoxicated, made a terrible
mistake and victimized somebody, but it was amazing to me that he got 36
Q. What happened?
A. It was reduced by only about 3 or 4 years.
Q. Was there anything growing up that pointed you toward law?
A. No. Our parents were very hands-off. They didn't push us in a
particular direction. My dad was a businessman, my mom was a homemaker.
Their whole thing was just do well in school, and you'll have choices for
yourself. I kind of went to law school by default. My brother was at
Hastings at the time, and I knew it was something I could do.
Q. When you became a public defender, were there any cases that stuck out
where you thought, "Wow, this is what I wanted to do?"
A. That's a tough question. When I first started out as a trial-level
public defender, I worked in juvenile court and misdemeanor court. I
remember thinking that when I was in juvenile court that my job was about
90 % or 80 % social worker and 10 or 20 % lawyer, because you're
representing a lot of kids who are mixed up.
Q. And they wanted to tell you about their problems?
A. No, I think it was the flip side -- the desire in me to move them away
from doing stupid things. I sort of liked that and I found in the juvenile
court opportunities to do appellate work, and I thought I was pretty good
at it. Because of the volume you do in a public defender's office, you end
up in the Court of Appeal a lot, and you can occasionally end up in the
California Supreme Court. I found myself in the Supreme Court after I had
only been practicing 2 1/2 years.
Q. What was your 1st case that went to the California Supreme Court? A. I
actually had 2 cases that went to the Supreme Court. The first was an
emergency search of someone's apartment in Newport Beach who had been the
victim of a robbery. The robber had fled, and when police arrived at the
apartment, no one answered. They broke the door down, because they claimed
they were worried someone inside was hurt. I represented the guy who was
inside who was walking to the door naked, but for his bathrobe, saying
"I'm coming." He was bleeding from the head, and they took him outside and
handcuffed him, claiming they didn't know whether he was a victim or the
robber. Long story short, a search of his apartment turned up a couple of
ounces of cocaine, and he was prosecuted for that. The search was upheld
on what's called the emergency-search doctrine. That you don't need a
warrant or permission if, as a police officer, you perceive there's an
emergency. I lost that case. It was eye-opening to me about who's the
victim and who's the criminal.
(source: San Mateo Times)
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