[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----USA, IND., KY., OHIO
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Nov 20 10:29:06 CST 2004
The Quaint Mr. Gonzales
Most Republicans and many Democrats have hailed Bushs nomination of White
House counsel Alberto Gonzales for attorney general as a brilliant choice.
Whereas John Ashcroft ruffled feathers with his coarse warnings that
opponents of Bushs post-9/11 agenda "only aid terrorists," the soft-spoken
Gonzales is much more palatable. And hes Hispanic to boot, so the Bush
cabinet diversity quotient wont change when Colin Powell steps aside in
the 2nd term. Some Democrats will ask tough questions during Gonzaless
confirmation hearing. But it would be unseemly for Democrats to seriously
challenge the nomination of the 1st Latino Attorney General of the United
The right-wing Republicans who propelled Bush to a second term are
relieved Gonzales was tapped to head the Department of Justice, and not to
be a justice of the Supreme Court. Gonzaless views on abortion are too
liberal for them, but they dont see him doing damage to their "pro-life"
position as the nations top cop. Tom Minnery, vice president for public
policy at the Colorado-based Focus on the Family, confirmed that Gonzales
would be objectionable as a judicial nominee because he does not have
"strong pro-life beliefs." However, Minnerys group would support Gonzaless
appointment as attorney general.
But the New York Times reports that Republicans close to the White House
claim the nomination of Gonzales for attorney general is "part of a
political strategy to bolster Mr. Gonzaless credentials with conservatives
and position him for a possible Supreme Court appointment." One Republican
said the nomination hearings on Gonzales would also "get out of the way"
the debate over the legal memos Gonzales prepared and supervised as White
Notwithstanding his mild-mannered appearance, Gonzales is the iron fist in
the velvet glove. Gonzales, whom Bush affectionately calls "mi abogado"
("my lawyer"), wrote one of the most outrageous torture memos. On January
25, 2002, Gonzales advised Bush that "the war on terrorism is a new kind
of war, a new paradigm [that] renders obsolete Genevas strict limitation
on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders some of its provisions
Oh really? The "quaint" Geneva Conventions are treaties ratified by the
United States, and therefore part of the supreme law of the land under our
Gonzales also provided Bush with novel defenses against potential war
crimes prosecutions that might result from torturing prisoners captured in
Afghanistan. The 1996 War Crimes Act says that grave breaches of the
Geneva Conventions are war crimes. Thus, the definition of war crimes
includes torture, inhuman treatment, and willful killing, as well as
outrages against personal dignity. Gonzales advised Bush that he could
avoid allegations of war crimes by simply declaring that Geneva doesnt
apply to the war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
When Colin Powell saw Gonzaless memo, he reportedly "hit the roof." Powell
wrote a counter-memo to Gonzales and Condoleezza Rice, warning of the
immense damage this could do to the United States - legally, politically,
militarily, diplomatically, and morally. To declare that the Geneva
Conventions did not apply, Powell wrote, "will reverse over a century of
U.S. policy and practice in supporting the Geneva conventions, and
undermine the protection of the law of war for our troops, both in this
specific conflict and in general."
Powell was right. The Geneva Conventions contain no loopholes that would
allow the torture and inhuman treatment of prisoners. Even if a captive
did not qualify for prisoner-of-war status under the Third Geneva
Convention, he would be protected by the Fourth Geneva Convention on the
treatment of civilians during wartime. And article 3 of both conventions
prohibits torture, and humiliating and degrading treatment against anyone
who is no longer fighting. It is well-established that article 3 applies
to international, as well as internal, conflicts.
Bush didnt listen to Powell. On February 7, 2002, Bush declared that
Geneva would not apply to Al Qaeda. He added that he had "the authority to
suspend Geneva as between the United States and Afghanistan," but declined
to exercise it at that time. Geneva "will apply to our present conflict
with the Taliban," Bush said. But then, in a striking example of
double-speak, he determined they were "unlawful combatants," ineligible
for hearings to decide whether they were prisoners-of-war under the Third
Geneva Convention. (Under the terms of Geneva, only a "competent tribunal"
can make that determination). Bush also proclaimed that article 3 of
Geneva didnt apply to either Al Qaeda or the Taliban prisoners.
After the pornographic torture photos, and memos justifying torture,
leaked out last April, it was Gonzales who was charged with damage
control. While being run out of town, Gonzales made it look like a parade
by releasing more memos - though not all of them, then admitting to
reporters that Team Bush "felt that it was harmful to this country, in
terms of the notion that perhaps we may be engaging in torture."
Another controversial memo, dated August 1, 2002, from the Justice
Departments Office of Legal Counsel to Gonzales, was one of the leaked
documents. It opined that under the presidents powers as commander in
chief, interrogators who torture Al Qaeda or Taliban prisoners could be
exempt from torture prosecutions.
Gonzales, still trying to stem the rising tide of outrage, said the August
memo and another one from the Pentagon had only been meant to "explore the
limits of the legal landscape." To his knowledge, said Gonzales, they
"never made it to the hands of soldiers in the field, nor to the
In his January 25, 2002 memo, Gonzales also outlined plans to use military
commissions to try prisoners, in order to deny them due process
protections afforded by military and civilian courts. In a significant
defeat for the Bush administration, a federal district court judge in
Washington D.C. ruled earlier this week that the military commissions
violate the Geneva Conventions, and were unlawfully constituted because
Congress had not authorized them. The military commissions have been
Gonzaless sordid record goes beyond his apologies for torture of
prisoners. When he was counsel to Texas Governor George W. Bush from 1995
to 1997, Gonzales provided his boss with "scant summaries" on capital
punishment cases that "repeatedly failed to apprise the governor of
crucial issues: ineffective counsel, conflict of interest, mitigating
evidence, even actual evidence of innocence," according to the Atlantic
Gonzales prepared 57 such summaries, including one regarding the case of
Terry Washington, a mentally retarded man executed for murdering a
restaurant manager. The jury was never told about his mental condition.
Gonzaless 3-page summary of the case for Bush mentioned only that
Washingtons defense counsels 30-page plea for clemency (which covered the
mental competency issue) was rejected by the Texas parole board. Bush
refused to stay executions in 56 of the 57 cases in which Gonzales wrote
Moreover, Gonzales helped write the USA Patriot Act, and managed Bushs
selection of judicial nominees, most of whom had to pass a right-wing
ideological litmus test.
When Gonzales was Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court, Dick Cheneys
Halliburton was the second-largest corporate contributor to Texas Supreme
Court races. Over a 7-year period, five Halliburton cases went before that
court, and it consistently ruled in favor of Halliburton. And although
Gonzales lawfully accepted $14,000 from Enron, he did not recuse himself
from the administrations investigation of the Enron scandal when he was
White House counsel.
>From 2000 to the present, Gonzales led the Bush administrations
obstruction of Government Accountability Office access to documents from
Cheneys secret energy policy meetings.
Alberto Gonzales has been a loyal foot soldier, walking in lockstep with
George W. Bush, for years. As head of the Justice Department, we cannot
expect Gonzales to lead independent investigations of the widening probe
of Halliburton, or the illegal leak of the identity of a CIA agent by an
official of the Bush administration.
In spite of opposition to Gonzaless nomination by public interest groups
such as the Center for Constitutional Rights and Human Rights Watch,
Democratic Senator Joseph Biden said "I think hes a pretty solid guy."
Unless the Democrats in the Senate show some backbone, and block the
nomination of Alberto Gonzales with the only arrow left in their quiver -
the filibuster, we will be saddled with another attorney general who
mounts vicious assaults on our civil rights.
(source: La Prensa San Diego--Marjorie Cohn, is a professor at Thomas
Jefferson School of Law, executive vice president of the National Lawyers
Guild, and the U.S. representative to the executive committee of the
American Association of Jurists)
The World According to the Supreme Court
The already-intense debate over the role of international law in Supreme
Court decision making shifts into high gear this week when the justices
consider the case of Jose Medellin, a Mexican citizen on death row in
The justices are scheduled to discuss Medellin v. Dretke at their private
conference Wednesday to decide whether to hear the case later in the term.
The Court's action on Medellin, along with dozens of other cases on the
Nov. 24 agenda, may be announced when the Court convenes again in open
session Nov. 29.
The issue before the Court in Medellin is the enforceability of a dramatic
March 31 ruling by the International Court of Justice in The Hague, which
ordered U.S. courts to re-examine the death sentences of Medellin and 50
other Mexican nationals on American death rows. Review was necessary, the
international court ruled, because at the time of their arrest, the 51
were not given their right under an international treaty to seek help from
their consulates in defending themselves.
That international court decision prompted the Oklahoma Court of Criminal
Appeals on May 13 to halt the execution of Osbaldo Torres, one of the
Mexicans. Gov. Brad Henry commuted Torres' sentence later the same day,
citing the international court's ruling. But acting separately six days
later, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Medellin was
procedurally barred from raising the treaty claim, in spite of the
international court's decision.
Even before the high court acts, Medellin's appeal of the 5th Circuit
ruling has drawn extraordinary interest, including amicus curiae briefs to
the Court from 13 Central and South American nations, the European Union
and several former diplomats. Among them is L. Bruce Laingen, charge
d'affaire of the U.S. Embassy in Iran during the 1979-81 hostage crisis,
when the U.S. government invoked the consular rights treaty. Failure by
U.S. courts to respect the consular treaty, the diplomats assert, will
lead other nations to reciprocate, which "will ultimately and inevitably
endanger the welfare of United States citizens abroad."
A brief by the Mexican government insists that the international court's
decision "constitutes a binding adjudication of Mr. Medellin's rights that
the United States must fully implement," adding, "The Court of Appeals has
violated its own obligation to do so."
Complex procedural issues could still derail Medellin, but if the Court
grants review, it will represent a new front in the debate over the
growing influence of international law in high court jurisprudence.
Justice Stephen Breyer in a recent talk before the Paris Bar Association
meeting in Washington, D.C., said his job has "changed tremendously" in 10
years because an increasing portion of the Court's docket involves
international law. But whereas justices have cited foreign law in recent
years to give a global context to their decisions, Medellin poses a direct
conflict between a ruling by a U.S.-endorsed international court and a
lower federal appeals court, with Oklahoma's contrary state court decision
thrown in for good measure. All the rulings interpret a treaty, the Vienna
Convention on Consular Relations, that was actively embraced and advocated
by the United States in the early 1960s.
At a University of Tulsa College of Law conference on the Supreme Court
and international law last month, Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh
highlighted Medellin as a potentially landmark examination of the
relationship between international and domestic courts.
"Foreigners arrested in the United States have a constitutional right to a
lawyer," said Koh, a leading advocate for a "transnational" approach to
law by the Supreme Court. "Does an individual whose treaty rights have
been violated have a domestic judicial remedy? Must federal courts comply
with binding treaty obligations? My prediction is the Supreme Court will
"This case will tell us a lot about where the Court is going on
international law," says Kevin Sullivan of King & Spalding's D.C. office,
who authored a brief on Medellin's behalf for Amnesty International and
other legal and human rights groups.
"It is a perfect example of how a U.S. court ruling can have significant
foreign relations implications," adds Sarah Cleveland, a former Harry
Blackmun law clerk who teaches international law at the University of
Texas School of Law. She also spoke at the Tulsa conference.
Under the Vienna Convention, ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1969, law
enforcement officials are required "without delay" to tell foreign
nationals of their right to contact their consulates after being arrested,
and also to tell consulates that one of their nationals has been detained.
The treaty also gives the United Nations-affiliated International Court of
Justice -- often referred to as the World Court -- "compulsory
jurisdiction" over disputes involving rights under the treaty.
Medellin, 18 at the time, was arrested in Houston in 1993 for his role in
a brutal gang-related rape and murder of two girls. After his arrest,
Medellin told police and other officials that he was a Mexican citizen,
but the Mexican consulate was not informed of his arrest. The following
year Medellin and two other gang members, represented by court-appointed
counsel, were found guilty of capital murder. The Texas Court of Criminal
Appeals affirmed his conviction and sentence in 1997.
Mexican consular authorities first learned about Medellin later that year
when he wrote them from death row. Mexico immediately began helping
Medellin with successive appeals. "Since well before the trial of Mr.
Medellin, Mexico has provided critical resources to aid in the defense of
its nationals facing the death penalty," wrote Minneapolis human rights
lawyer Sandra Babcock in the Mexican government's brief.
Mexico went to the international court to protest the violation of
Medellin's consular rights, along with those of 50 other Mexicans
imprisoned in the United States. Meanwhile, both state and federal courts
rejected Medellin's appeals as procedurally defaulted because he had not
raised the Vienna Convention claim at the trial stage.
The 5th Circuit took note of the international court's ruling, but it said
that under the 1998 Supreme Court precedent Breard v. Greene, ordinary
procedural default rules take precedence over Vienna Convention claims.
"Only the Supreme Court may overrule a Supreme Court decision," the 5th
Circuit decision stated. "We are bound to follow the precedent until
taught otherwise by the Supreme Court."
Breard v. Greene was an unsigned opinion issued just hours before the
execution of a Paraguayan national in Virginia. In the ruling, the Supreme
Court said procedural default rules trump the consular treaty -- even
though under the Constitution, ratified treaties are the "supreme law of
Texas professor Cleveland describes the Breard ruling as "the watershed,
the high water mark of Supreme Court hostility toward international law."
She adds that "given the growing interest of the Court in international
law issues," the time may be right for the Court to revisit Breard --
especially in light of the international court's forceful ruling on the
consular issue in March. The Mexican brief underlines that point, noting
that Medellin, unlike Breard, comes to the Supreme Court after a final and
binding judgment of the international court.
Tulsa law school professor Janet Levit, an organizer of the recent
conference on the high court and international law, thinks the Oklahoma
Court of Criminal Appeals ruling that enforced the international court
ruling in the Torres case adds an intriguing element to the debate. "State
courts are transnational actors, too," she says.
But University of San Diego School of Law professor Michael Ramsey thinks
the Supreme Court may well be content to leave the issue untouched. "This
looks like the Breard case all over again, and I see no reason to think
the Court is in a mood to overturn it," says Ramsey, a former clerk to
Antonin Scalia. Texas also urges the high court to deny review in
Medellin. In a brief by Assistant Texas Attorney General Gena Bunn, Texas
argues that the 5th Circuit in essence complied with the international
court ruling by giving adequate consideration of the consular treaty issue
before ruling against Medellin. "Medellin has already been afforded the
full merits review mandated by the [international court]," the brief
But Ramsey acknowledges that the Court is more interested in international
issues now, and may feel compelled to grant review in Medellin for the
benefit of the international community. "The Court's certiorari process
may not be totally understood outside this country, so denying review
might be seen as giving short shrift to the issue."
Even Scalia, who is critical of the use of foreign law sources in Supreme
Court jurisprudence, might give Medellin careful consideration. In a
speech before the American Society of International Law in March, Scalia
said foreign law "can never be relevant" to the interpretation of the U.S.
Constitution. But in other contexts, he said, "it is impossible to say
never." One example he mentioned where foreign sources might be
appropriate to consider: treaty interpretation by foreign courts.
The Bush administration has not weighed in on Medellin, though before the
international court it opposed Mexico's arguments, asserting what Mexico
was seeking would be an "unwarranted intrusion" on state sovereignty. One
short-term possibility in the Medellin case is that the Supreme Court will
ask the solicitor general for his views before deciding whether or not to
grant review. Interestingly Alberto Gonzales, nominated by President
George W. Bush to be the next attorney general, opined about the consular
treaty issue 7 years ago when he was legal counsel to then-Texas Gov.
The Mexican government in 1997 made a Vienna Convention claim on behalf of
Irineo Tristan Montoya, a Mexican national on death row in Texas. But
Gonzales, who advised Bush on death penalty matters, wrote, "Since the
State of Texas is not a signatory to the Vienna Convention on Consular
Relations, we believe it is inappropriate to ask Texas to determine
whether a breach ... occurred in connection with the arrest and
conviction." 2 days later, Montoya was executed.
(source: Legal Times - This column seeks to identify cases on the Supreme
Court's conference agenda that are leading candidates for Supreme Court
review or that raise significant national issues)
A unified America should seek death penalty moratorium
To the editor:
Since the recent elections, much has been written about our cultural and
political polarization. This perceived division has assumed the place of
conventional wisdom at this point, with discourse focusing on "Red States"
and "Blue States" and with cries for unity echoing from Mr. Kerry and Mr.
As persons of varying political and cultural shades look for ways to work
together, one issue should have us standing in solidarity - the moratorium
of the death penalty.
This is a call to neither necessarily abolish the death penalty nor to
maintain it uncritically, but to halt it. All North Carolinians should be
able to simply gather behind the common goal of staying the death penalty
until further review is completed.
Ample evidence is available to show that the present execution of the
death penalty is arbitrary, racist, expensive and ineffective as a
deterrent. The recent death of Frank Ray Chandler is, unfortunately, a
Frank Ray Chandler's case highlights many of these difficulties, to the
degree that Justice Bob Orr - a pro-death penalty, conservative former
state Supreme Court Justice - stridently opposed Mr. Chandler's capital
Similarly, in 2000, pro-death penalty Illinois Governor George H. Ryan
placed a moratorium on the practice and seated a commission to study and
Whether or not one supports the concept of the death penalty, the fact
remains that the current appliance is unjust and random. While some want
to pursue justice and others want to promote a "culture of life," this use
of the death penalty does neither.
I encourage North Carolinians to write the governor and their appropriate
state senators and representatives to encourage them to stop happenstance
and institutionalized executions until we can review the process and
implement a system that puts person to death fairly - or not at all.
The Rev. C. Todd Hester, Henderson
(source: Letter to the Editor, Henderson Daily Dispatch)
Death-row magazine helps crime victims
In Toledo, in the back office of a suburban flower shop, a group of
parishioners puts together a magazine from letters written by death-row
Any money made from subscriptions of the magazine goes toward scholarships
that are given to relatives of murder victims. So far, $22,000 in
scholarship money has been provided.
"We want to meet that evil with good," said Fred Moor, 57, leader of the
group that publishes Compassion. The idea for the magazine came in 2001
when parishioners of St. Rose Catholic Church in Perrysburg received a
letter from an inmate on death row in Youngstown.
He wanted to start a magazine written and edited by death-row inmates
focusing on hope and redemption - not arguing for or against the death
The Catholic Diocese of Toledo provided $5,000 to start the bimonthly
magazine that is now distributed for free to about 3,500 death-row inmates
in the 36 states that have capital punishment. There are an additional 400
outside subscribers, mostly people from churches who pay about $50 a year
for the magazine.
Dennis Skillicorn, chief editor of Compassion, is on death row for a 1994
murder in Missouri. "Were trying to effect positive change," he said.
"Were not attempting to negate what weve done in the past."
(source: Associated Press)
The High Price of Indiana's Death Penalty
Indiana taxpayers spend millions of dollars to send dozens to death row.
But more than half of them are no longer there due to overturned
convictions and sentences.
In our area, no one has been put to death for nearly 60 years. Warrick
County taxpayers spent more than half a million dollars on John
Stephenson's defense alone at his trial in 1997. That doesn't include any
of the prosecutor's expenses to try Stephenson, his appeals, or his stay
Such high costs can keep small counties from seeking the death penalty
altogether. During this investigation, we talked with one woman who says a
price tag was put on her daughter's life.
Lori Wentzel's 15 year old daughter Shannon was killed by three men.
Wentzel says, "They all 3 raped her, they all 3 sodomized her..."
For no other reason than they were bored.
"...Stabbed her with a screw driver, hit her in the head with a beer
bottle, ran over her not once, but 30 times."
And because they felt like it.
Wentzel says, "Those people should never be allowed back in society.
Never. They should be put to death."
But they weren't.
2 received 55 year sentences, the other 95. They'll likely serve half of
It was a decision made by the Pike County prosecutor. Wentzel says, "He
said no. The county didn't have that much money, that it would cost them a
million dollars with the 3 of them."
Wentzel says a price tag shouldn't be put on her daughter's death. "Money
shouldn't have been a factor. It shouldn't have been and it was. If it
would have been that prosecutor's child from Pike County, I bet they would
have found the money then."
Posey County prosecutor Jodi Ubelhack sympathizes with both Ms. Wentzel
and Pike County's prosecutor. She recently faced three death penalty
eligible cases in Posey County. "We only have two prosecutors that handle
criminal matters. If you have 3 death penalty cases, then nothing else
The rising costs of the death penalty have ignited a huge debate. With
John Stephenson's defense costing more than half a million dollars, some
say enough is enough. Clark County prosecutor Steven Stewart says, "Once
the judges accept that and start spending that kind of money on every
death penalty case, it's only a matter of time before the public at large
says it's not worth it."
Nationally known defense attorney Gerry Spence has never lost a criminal
case. He believes there should be unlimited spending in a death penalty
case, but says a better option would be to eliminate the death penalty
altogether. "I think life without parole is, we have to protect ourselves
from killers. There's no question about that so, so society has created a
killer. That doesn't mean that we want to turn that killer lose on society
again. We should defend ourselves against that person but we should also
defend ourselves against becoming killers ourselves."
But that's not enough for Lori Wentzel. "There's not one day... there's
not one hour that goes by that I don't think about my daughter. Which in
turn makes me think of them. To me, it's not right."
Two of Shannon Wentzel's killers are expected to be released in 17 years.
Kelly Craig will be in his 40's, Brian Powell in his early 50's. The other
man convicted of killing Shannon, Leon Jones recently wrote Shannon's
mother a letter apologizing for what he did. Lori Wentzel says it's little
comfort. Jones will be released in 2043.
In Kentucky, there is only one person from our area on Kentucky's death
row. Robert Woodall killed Sara Hansen from Greenville, Kentucky in 1997.
The only person in Illinois from our area on death row, was Neils Neilsen.
He killed his ex-wife and her daughter in 1995. That sentence was recently
vacated and changed to life without parole when former Governor George
Ryan left office and granted clemency to more than 100 death row inmates.
(source: WFIE News)
Governor's Role in Execution Raises Medical Issue
When Gov. Ernie Fletcher signed a death warrant for a convicted killer
this month, he may have done more than start the clock ticking on an
execution. Some say Governor Fletcher, a physician, may have put his
medical license at risk.
American Medical Association guidelines bar doctors from taking part,
directly or indirectly, in executions. And Kentucky requires doctors to
follow the association's ethical guidelines.
"I think it's a clear violation," said Dr. Arthur Zitrin, 86, a retired
psychiatrist in New York and an outspoken opponent of the death penalty.
Dr. Zitrin is also challenging the license of a Georgia doctor accused of
helping nurses find a vein in a condemned man for a lethal injection.
A group of doctors is seeking an opinion from the Kentucky Board of
Medical Licensure on whether Dr. Fletcher can sign death warrants without
running the risk of having his medical license revoked. The board is not
scheduled to take up the matter until January at the earliest, and would
not comment in the meantime.
On Nov. 8, Dr. Fletcher signed a death warrant for Thomas Clyde Bowling,
convicted of shooting to death the husband-and-wife owners of a dry
cleaning business outside their store in 1990. Mr. Bowling, 51, is set to
die by lethal injection Nov. 30.
Dr. Fletcher's executive counsel, John Roach, said the governor, a
Republican, did not violate A.M.A. guidelines or other ethical standards.
"Governor Fletcher's role under the law is consistent with the roles of
judges fulfilling their legal duty and jurors fulfilling their legal
obligations regardless of their professions," he said.
The guidelines forbid doctors to take an active part in an execution or to
take any "action which would directly cause the death of the condemned" or
"which would assist, supervise or contribute" to the death of the inmate.
In a statement, Dr. Michael Goldrich, chairman of the medical
association's council on ethical and judicial affairs, stopped short of
saying whether he thought the governor had violated the guidelines.
Dr. Goldrich said the code prohibited any role by a doctor, passive or
active, in an execution. But he also said the code "does not speak to
individuals with a medical degree who no longer maintain any involvement
with medicine and are engaged in activities that are outside the sphere of
the medical profession."
(source: Associated Press)
Controversy spurs over death row pen pals
They were sentenced to die for their crimes. So why are some of Ohios most
notorious criminals looking for companionship on the internet?
Death row inmates share with Fr. Neil Kookoothe their art through drawings
and their lives through letter writing.
The Penpal program is about one human being reaching out to another, death
row inmates looking for contact through Kookoothes website,
The 200 plus men on death row in Mansfield, Ohio can solicit pen pal
companionship from anyone.
Whats the value to the prisoner?
"When you establish a relationship with a man on the inside and someone on
the outside, it is a quality of life issue," said Fr. Neil Kookoothe of
St. Clarence Church.
Cleveland convicts, Darryl Durr and Eugene Woodard are looking for pen
Durr wants legal help. Woodard wants friendship.
Their photographs were taken inside prison walls and placed on Fr.
Kookoothes web site.
"Didnt we put them behind bars so they cant reach society?" Kookoothe was
"Its that mind set of what we think an inmate is like," Kookoothe replied.
"The inmate has to be manipulative. The inmate has to be no good. Its just
not the case."
What you may or may not know is that Durr was convicted of the kidnapping,
rape and murder of a teenage girl.
Court records indicate Eugene Woodard car jacked a motorist and killed him
for a radio.
Assistant County Prosecutor Brendon Sheehan calls such public access a
Sheehans father, Tim, was shot and killed by Frank Spisak 2 decades ago at
Cleveland State University.
Spisak followed the thinking of Adolf Hitler all the way down to his
The death row inmate sees himself much differently now.
Spisak continues to seek legal help and is lobbying for a sex change, not
in the courts, but on Kookoothes web site.
Kookoothe doesnt know many times the circumstances of their crimes and
"We gather here as a people in need of redemption a people asking Gods
mercy," Kookoothe said.
He knows the fate of such inmates and life they have behind these walls.
A victims advocate in Columbus who created stopviolentcrime.com and
findmissingkids.com is organizing a boycott of all websites, like Fr.
Advocate Brett Vinocur says theres no purpose to websites that promote
artwork and prison personal ads.
(source: WKYC News)
More information about the DeathPenalty