[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----CALIF., USA, FLA., MO.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Apr 20 18:36:41 CDT 2005
Former Prosecutor: Revenge Not at Heart of Bias Claims
Ask him and John "Jack" Quatman will tell you he's in favor of the death
But the former Alameda County, Calif., prosecutor says he's still haunted
by the 1st man he sent to death row.
His pity is for Fred Harlan Freeman, now in his mid-60s, who has been on
death row since 1987 for murder and robbery. It's a case Quatman says
should have never garnered a death verdict.
"I brought home what I was sent out to do," Quatman said. "But I felt
badly about it."
Today, Quatman has his own troubles to consider: He has been branded a
liar for speaking out in the Freeman case, his reputation has been dragged
through the mud, and he says he could lose his Montana law license.
Quatman has testified that he removed potential jurors from Freeman's
trial because they were Jewish, and that he did so at the advice of
now-deceased Alameda County Judge Stanley Golde. But in a report to the
California Supreme Court, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Kevin
Murphy said Quatman was lying.
Murphy also found "ample evidence" that Quatman made up his story to exact
revenge on current DA Tom Orloff, who investigated a co-worker's complaint
against Quatman that led to the prosecutor's 1993 transfer off capital
Murphy's findings followed venomous attacks on Quatman's character and
ethics from more than a dozen former co-workers, current judges and
attorneys, who roundly described the former prosecutor as a
vendetta-fueled exaggerator who played "fast and loose" with the rules.
Quatman has tried to keep a low profile. But he decided to address the
notion that he was trying to get back at Orloff -- whose office has been
hurt by the jury bias allegations.
Quatman, who left the DA's office in 1998 to practice law with his wife,
Phyllis, in Whitefish, Mont., said everyone knew he and Orloff weren't
buddies. But the revenge theory, he said, is "whacko."
"[It] makes no sense to me," he said. "I had been gone for 8 years. To
sacrifice one of my convictions and to put myself in the gun sights of the
State Bar and possibly put my ticket on the line, how does that get back
at Orloff? It doesn't."
Jury bias wasn't even the point of the declaration Quatman submitted two
years ago in Freeman's appeal, the former prosecutor said. The assertion
takes up only one paragraph of the 6-page document. The bulk deals with
what Quatman saw as Freeman's poor defense and unfair trial.
On Jan. 11, 1984, according to court documents, Freeman walked into a
Berkeley, Calif., bar with two other men, pulled a gun and proceeded to
rob the place. When a patron responded, "Fuck you," it was alleged that
Freeman shot the man in the side of the head.
Freeman's case passed the DA's death review, but there were problems,
Quatman wrote in his declaration. Freeman had prior robbery convictions,
but had never hurt anyone. And he foresaw trouble proving Freeman, of the
three robbers, actually fired the weapon, whether the shooting was
intentional and whether he meant to kill.
"Fred Freeman did not fit the real-world standard for one deserving the
death penalty," Quatman wrote.
Quatman said his co-workers were "stunned" when the jury returned a death
verdict. Quatman wrote that he "felt sorry for Fred Freeman. His defense
team was worse than ineffective."
According to Quatman's declaration, Freeman's defense attorneys, Spencer
Strellis and Robert Braverman, made a number of mistakes, including
changing their strategy during the trial. Initially they laid out a case
for mistaken identity. But by closing arguments, Strellis "told the jury
Freeman was the shooter, but had not intended to kill."
Strellis, who testified at last month's hearing, said he had heard
Quatman's assertions, but didn't think much of them.
"Frankly, it's very advantageous for Mr. Freeman if I was incompetent,"
Strellis said. "So I'm certainly not going to argue with it."
Quatman said he's still in favor of capital punishment -- just not in this
"I'm a pro-death-penalty guy. I believe we need to fire up the death
penalty system and get it going," Quatman said. "However, on the Fred
Freeman case. I felt badly about it because of what I felt was horrible
representation on the other side."
Quatman said a new life in Montana and his wife's criminal defense work
have changed his outlook on his former role.
"Since Alameda County, I've begun to look at things a little differently,"
he said. "I've seen more and more the level of defense from the
defendant's side of the case, and I'm not sure the system works the way
it's supposed to."
That made him consider coming forward about the troubling Freeman case.
"I thought about it for a long time," he said. "I knew what the possible
ramifications were but I think it was the right thing to do.
"If we're going to kill Fred Freeman, maybe we ought to get it squeaky
(source: The Recorder)
DeLay Calls Justice Kennedy 'Outrageous'
The House Judiciary Committee is reviewing the activities of justices on
the Supreme Court and in other circuits to determine whether they have
overstepped their authority and must be reined in, House Majority Leader
Tom DeLay told FOX News Radio's Tony Snow on Tuesday.
On that list for review is Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, DeLay
said, calling the judge's written decisions "outrageous."
"We've got Justice Kennedy writing decisions based upon international law,
not the Constitution of the United States. That's just outrageous, and not
only that, he said in session that he does his own research on the
Internet. That is just incredibly outrageous," DeLay said in the
DeLay said he and other members of Congress have just begun using the
long-held authority vested in them by the Constitution to conduct judicial
"We've already passed six bills limiting the jurisdiction of the court in
the last 2 years. They haven't gotten through the Senate but we're
starting this body of thought. We have the opportunity to set up courts,
we can also dismantle courts and re-organize them. We passed an amendment
in September breaking up that leftist court in San Francisco, the 9th
Circuit. We have plenty of opportunities and ways to hold the judiciary
accountable," DeLay said.
Listen to the interview with FOX News' Tony Snow by clicking here.
DeLay has recently expressed hostility to the courts, in particular over
the case of brain-damaged woman Terri Schiavo, for whom Congress
intervened to demand the federal courts review the Florida court's
decision granting her husband the choice to remove her feeding tube. The
federal courts declined to re-open the case, and Schiavo starved to death.
On the day of her death, DeLay issued a warning to the judges that "the
time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their
He later called his remarks "inartful."
DeLay has also been on a tear against Kennedy, backed up by conservative
leaders who earlier this month attended a conference in which they argued
the Ronald Reagan appointee had gone off kilter by opposing the death
penalty for juveniles.
One activist at the conference on April 8 said Kennedy's opinion to end an
anti-sodomy statute, "upholds Marxist, Leninist, satanic principles drawn
from foreign law" and quoted Joseph Stalin in suggesting that if Kennedy
were not on the court, then the problem would be solved.
In his Tuesday interview, DeLay did not limit his criticism to Kennedy,
though he is the only judge DeLay singled out by name. A spokeswoman for
the court, Kathy Arberg, told the Associated Press that Kennedy could not
be reached for comment.
DeLay also said that while he supports an independent judiciary, it is the
job of the legislature to have checks and balances "so that you don't have
an oligarchy of nine people on the Supreme Court separated from everybody
else. All wisdom is not vested in nine people on the Supreme Court."
DeLay said it's time for Congress to reassert its authority to review the
judiciary, which he argued has been filled with activists who want to
legislate from the bench.
"We're opposed to judges that don't follow the Constitution and write
their own laws," DeLay said. "And, of course, the left just hates it when
we attack the left's last legislative body."
The House has no authority to determine which judges are confirmed for
lifetime appointments to the federal bench. But impeachment proceedings do
begin in the House.
DeLay said the Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on the clause in the
Constitution that says "judges can serve as long as they serve with good
"We want to define what good behavior means. That's where you have to
start," he said.
But even conservative thinkers question whether DeLay is barking up the
"Criticizing federal justices is not wise for any member of Congress no
matter how strong" the support from constituents, Republican strategist Ed
Rollins told FOX News.
Added former Texas Democratic Rep. Martin Frost, whose election loss is
partly attributed to DeLay's inspiring the state legislature to remap
districts to make them more GOP friendly: "Maybe some of his colleagues
will send him on a vacation to get him out of the public view for a
(source: FOX News)
Former warden recounts abuses in Florida prisons -- The national
commission hears allegations of beatings and sexual assaults in prisons in
Florida and elsewhere.
"Goon squads" of guards roam Florida's prisons, beat up inmates and
enforce vigilante justice while the top brass turns a blind eye, a former
state Department of Corrections warden told a commission on Tuesday.
And many others among 2.2-million incarcerated Americans suffer such
abuses as rape, unneeded strip-searches and inadequate medical care,
members of the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons were
told Tuesday in Tampa.
This slew of abuse "doesn't fit with the core values of our democratic
society and therefore, should trouble all Americans," said commission
co-chairman John J. Gibbons, former chief judge of the 3rd U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals.
"Everyone in society suffers" because of such abuses, said former U.S.
Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, another co-chairman.
This nationwide commission is a privately organized but high-profile group
whose members include former FBI director William S. Sessions; Iowa
Deparment of Corrections director Gary Maynard; and former Arizona death
row inmate Ray Krone, who was exonerated based on DNA evidence. The
commission is supported by a consortium of foundations and law firms, and
uses the staff of the Vera Institute for Justice, based in New York.
The commission plans four sets of hearings around the country; Tampa's is
the first. The 2-day hearing continues from 9:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. today
at the offices of WEDU-TV, 1300 N Boulevard, Tampa.
Commission members made a point to say corrections officers generally are
professional and honest. As the commission studies problems in jails and
prisons, "we aim to work closely with corrections professionals every step
of the way," Katzenbach said.
But before long Tuesday, commissioners were listening to stories of what
has gone seriously wrong in some prisons and jails.
Ron McAndrew, who served as warden at Florida State Prison and two others,
said his 23-year career showed him prisoner abuse in the state Department
of Corrections "was systematically chronic. The large prisons were plagued
with "goon squads' that were well known to, and feared by, staff and
McAndrew also said that as he prepared to leave Florida State Prison in
1998, he warned incoming warden James Crosby about a "goon squad" at the
prison that was so violent toward inmates he feared "it would only be a
matter of time before a prisoner would be killed."
But he says his warnings went unheeded, and inmate Frank Valdes was killed
by a squad of officers who entered his cell in July 1999 in a highly
publicized case that led to the indictment of several guards on
second-degree murder charges. Some of the guards were acquitted at trial
and prosecutors dropped charges against the rest.
Since then, Crosby has become DOC secretary.
"Ron McAndrew has been using every avenue available for the last 6 years
to discredit the reputation of Secretary Crosby, and his baseless
allegations do not dignify a response from this agency or from the
secretary himself," said DOC spokesman Sterling Ivey.
McAndrew, who is 66 and retired from the prison system, was one of several
witnesses who testified Tuesday before the committee, which has much wider
scope than Florida's prisons. The 21 commissioners say they are on a
mission to study and prevent abuses in the nation's prisons.
Even as they noted the professionalism of most in the corrections
business, they said abuses in prisons and jails keep recurring. "We don't
know why well-meaning officials sometimes do awful things," Katzenbach
On Tuesday, the commissioners heard some examples. Among them:
Garrett Cunningham told commissioners he was raped by a guard in a Texas
prison and that when he later complained, authorities brushed his
complaints aside. The officer later was charged in an alleged assault on
another inmate, and agreed to a plea deal that will keep him out of
prison. Cunningham, 33, was released from prison about a year ago. He has
begun a prisoner support organization.
Jeffrey Scott Hornoff, a former Rhode Island police detective, was
convicted of murder and spent 6 years in prison, but was later cleared
after another man confessed to the crime. He said he endured constant
humiliation from guards - he refuses to use the term "correctional
officers." He said he frequently heard inmates being beaten by guards in
solitary confinement. Hornoff, 42, is trying to be reinstated at the
police department where he once worked and carries a business card that
lists his professional history: "Detective, convicted murderer, exoneree,
speaker & advocate."
Judith Haney told commissioners that after she was arrested during the
2003 free trade agreement protests in Miami, she was forced to strip and
consent to an invasive search. Female inmates at the time were routinely
strip-searched in Miami-Dade, in spite of state law that says such
searches can be done only in certain cases, and despite that male inmates
arrested on similar charges were not. Haney, 51, of Oakland, Calif., was
among those filing a class-action lawsuit over the searches. Miami-Dade
County settled the case this week for $4.5-million and a promise to end
(source: St. Petersburg Times)
Rock Hill man wants life sentence for nephew who killed family member
The phone has been ringing off the hook for Matthew Knuckles.
As he sat in the living room of his Rock Hill home last Wednesday
afternoon, he politely excused himself to take a quick call. It was
KMOX-AM (1120) setting up an interview with the station's on-air
personality Paul Harris.
Knuckles, a Rock Hill alderman of 16 years, is among several family
members doing everything they can to overturn the death penalty sentence
of his nephew, Donald Jones.
In doing so, Knuckles has interviewed with several newspapers, television
news programs and radio stations. He even showed off a copy of USA Today
in which a small Associated Press blurb appeared about the family's
efforts. In addition, family members are collecting signatures for a
petition, asking Gov. Matt Blunt to use his executive clemency to reduce
Jones' sentence to life in prison without parole.Advertisement
"We've had enough tragedy in the family. We've buried four people in the
last 3 months," said Knuckles, 59. "Giving him the death penalty isn't
going to do anything but bring more grief on the family. We've had
Jones, 38, is scheduled to die by lethal injection April 27 for the
beating and stabbing death of his grandmother (and Knuckles' mother),
Dorothy Knuckles. The murder occurred in March 1993 at Dorothy Knuckles'
home in St. Louis.
According to a statement of facts filed by the public defender, when
Dorothy Knuckles, 68, refused to loan Jones $25, Jones obtained a knife
block and knife. When she again refused, he reportedly beat her with the
knife block and then stabbed her several times. For the next 3 days, Jones
reportedly channeled his efforts into finding more drugs before being
In an audio-taped confession, he told police the "monster inside" him -
crack cocaine - caused him to kill his grandmother. It was Knuckles who
found his mother's body.
"No one should ever see their mother that way," Knuckles said.
Despite that, Knuckles and his family opposed giving Jones the death
penalty from the very beginning, stating they were staunch opponents of
the death penalty even before the incident. A St. Louis Circuit Court jury
convicted Jones of first-degree murder. The Missouri Supreme Court later
denied an appeal, and Jones was sentenced to death.
On April 12, Bill Swift, an assistant public defender based in Columbia,
Mo., filed a motion with the Missouri Supreme Court to recall the mandate.
The Supreme Court denied the motion the same day. Now, Swift said he plans
to file a request this week for the U.S. Supreme Court to review Jones'
"I think this is a compelling message, because usually we have prosecutors
saying that they seek death on behalf of (the victim's family)," Swift
said. "Here, the victims have said that is something we do not want and it
will cause them more grief and pain in their life."
Jessica Robinson, a spokeswoman for Blunt, said the governor will consider
a request for clemency when it is presented to him. Traditionally, the
Board of Probation and Parole reviews requests for clemency and then makes
a recommendation to the governor, she added.
"The governor takes these types of requests very seriously," Robinson
said. "It is a serious matter and he does give these issues very careful
Regardless of whether Jones' sentence is overturned, Knuckles said he will
continue to lobby for abolishing the death penalty.
"I'd be behind that 100 %," Knuckles said. "The only person I think that's
supposed to be able to take somebody's life is the man upstairs."
(source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Ban on execution sought by group--The supporters hope to reduce the risk
of wrongful executions.
Paul Hinshaw has opposed the death penalty since it was reinstated in
Missouri in 1989. After years of working in the low-income housing
business, Hinshaw said he has seen how the death penalty
disproportionately affects people who cant always afford good defense
"As a businessman with a conscience, I believe in this stance," said
Hinshaw, a managing partner of Hinshaw Family Partnership.
Hinshaw Family Partnership was one of 50 local businesses and
organizations that called for a moratorium on executions Tuesday. Business
owners, religious leaders and community activists spoke at a news
conference held to show support for a resolution that calls for fairness
and impartiality in capital cases.
The resolution asks the Missouri General Assembly to ensure constitutional
due process of law and competent legal representation for defendants, and
to eliminate the risk of innocent people being executed.
There is more fervor behind the resolution at this time, as the state is
planning the April 27 execution of Donald Jones. He would be the 63rd
inmate executed in Missouri since the death penaltys reinstatement.
The moratorium resolution is sponsored by the Mid-Missouri Fellowship of
Reconciliation, a social justice advocacy group. FOR has lobbied Missouri
legislators to support HB 408 and SB 303, identical bills supporting the
establishment of a death penalty commission and a moratorium on all
executions until Jan. 1, 2009. The commission would be responsible for
researching the adequacy of counsel and resources at trial, race issues,
post-conviction procedures, forensic testing and uniformity of procedure.
The committee would then make recommendations to the Governor, the General
Assembly and the Missouri Supreme Court.
Although a house hearing has yet to be scheduled, a date will be set
before the end of the legislative session, said an aid to Rep. Sherman
Parker (R-St. Charles), who sponsored the house bill.
Columbia Rep. Judy Baker showed her public support of the moratorium in a
letter read at Tuesdays news conference.
"The residents of our state, not just those who are charged with murder,
deserve a system that is fair and which doesnt execute individuals who
were wrongly convicted," she said.
Jeff Stack, the organizer of resolution efforts, said some local
organizations were hesitant to endorse the resolution for fear of
alienating patrons. 2 Columbia businesses on the list of supporters said
that although they endorsed the bill personally, they did not want their
business to be publicly named as a supporter.
Stack and Robert Schultz, a field organizer with Amnesty International,
have been working in a five-city area - Columbia, Kansas City,
Springfield, St. Louis and Cape Girardeau - this year to promote the
moratorium. The resolution has received over 200 signatures across the
state, Stack said, and he hopes to rouse more support in the coming
"I believe that every life is sacred," he said. "The moratorium is an
instrument that can bring people together of all different perspectives."
(source : Columbia Missourian)
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