[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----PENN., CALIF., OHIO, USA
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Apr 23 23:48:06 CDT 2005
Staruh wants more aid
A North Newton Township mom accused of killing her 3-year-old son was in
Cumberland County Court Friday requesting a 2nd attorney, court-appointed
experts and 2 juries.
If a jury finds her guilty of first-degree murder, Candice Marie Staruh,
22, of the 200 block of Running Pump Road, wants a 2nd jury to choose
whether to sentence her to death or life in prison.
Jurors deciding the punishment in death penalty cases must believe in
capital punishment and Staruh's attorney, Karl Rominger, said studies show
such juries are more likely to convict. He said this gives the prosecution
an unfair advantage unless the trial jury is separate from the sentencing
He submitted as evidence a study entitled "Capital Jury Project" by Wanda
Foglia, a Rowan University professor who says the capital punishment
process is "riddled with problems."
Rominger said the two-jury policy is gaining popularity nationally, but
First Assistant District Attorney David Freed noted it's only mandated in
a single federal court in Massachusetts.
Freed said the method is "unprecedented" in Pennsylvania and, after the
numerous death penalty cases the state has seen, he considers the issue
Rominger also requested that the court appoint Staruh a second attorney to
help with the workload in her case and experts such as a private
investigator, forensic expert and mitigation expert.
Although he took on Staruh's case as a private attorney, Rominger says her
"indigence" renders her unable to pay for other legal help.
Freed agreed Staruh should be granted a pathologist and investigator at
the minimum, later noting she's entitled to "the best defense she can
have" since he plans to seek a full conviction and death penalty against
Judge Kevin Hess listened to arguments on the issues and will decide on
each at a later date.
Staruh was charged with 1st- and 3rd-degree murder and endangering the
welfare of a child Oct. 6 after a year-long investigation into the death
of Jordan Jackson.
The toddler died Oct. 27, 2003, at their home with bruises of varying ages
all over his body.
County Coroner Mike Norris ruled the case a homicide by blunt force trauma
to the head and neck.
Police say Staruh and her mother Lois, 48, were home with Jordan and his
two brothers when he died.
Lois Staruh also is charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
(source: The Sentinel)
Bill would close San Quentin State Prison
Reviving a legislative debate over Marin County's most talked about piece
of real estate, a state senator introduced legislation Thursday to close
San Quentin State Prison. The bill, by Sen. Jeff Denham, R-Merced, comes
as state prison officials complete plans to renovate the prison's
dilapidated death row and amid some community opposition to the
Denham proposes closing the prison by 2010 and selling the property, which
many in Marin County see as a great place to build housing, create
commercial development and a ferry-train terminal. Denham has been a
proponent of selling state property to help with California's budget
"It makes no sense to pour millions of dollars into an old facility so
prisoners can have a waterfront view," Denham said in a press release
announcing his bill. "Moving the prisoners elsewhere and selling the
property makes much more sense."
What to do with San Quentin, which is the state's oldest prison, has been
a hot topic both in Marin County and Sacramento for several years. The
Legislature last weighed in on the issue in 2003, when it gave the state's
Department of Corrections the OK to spend $220 million redoing death row,
which is dramatically overcrowded.
Past attempts to move death row to another, more modern prison have
failed. Proponents of keeping death row in Marin County argue condemned
inmates should be kept in an urban area with access to lawyers.
Prison officials are proceeding with the renovation plan. They released a
final environmental review of the project April 15 and expect to begin
construction in the fall.
Denham's bill, SB901, calls on the governor to decide where to put death
row by 2007.
(source: San Francisco Chronicle)
Richeys attorney says state is using stall tactics
The attorney for a death-row inmate said the states plans to seek an
appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court is nothing more than a stall tactic to
delay Kenneth Richeys release from death row.
Whether Richey gets moved from death row to the Putnam County jail depends
on how the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which overturned his conviction
in January and ordered his re-trial or release, rules on a motion to place
the case on hold during an appeal.
Richey was sent to death row in 1987 for the 1986 fire at a Columbus Grove
apartment com-plex that killed 2-year-old Cynthia Collins. He shares duel
U.S. and British citizenship. People in Great Britain have launched a
highly-publicized campaign to get Richey off death row.
Richeys attorney Ken Parsigian, of Boston, wants the court to refuse the
states motion and move forward with the case. He also wants the clock to
start ticking, and the appeal to the Supreme Court to run simultaneously
with the 90 days the state has to retry Richey.
"Kenny has waited his time. If it puts a little pressure on the state I
think thats only fair," Parsigian said.
In the January ruling, the 6th Circuit ruled Richeys trial attorneys didnt
do a good enough job. The court also ruled the charge of aggravated murder
was wrong. That charge, under Ohio law at the time, would have applied
only if Richey had killed who he allegedly intended to - not the young
Parsigian also wants state prosecutors to file the appeal as quickly as
possible, which said should be by next week instead of waiting the
allowable 90 days since the state plans to repeat the same argument its
"They don't need 90 days, they dont need nine days. They could file it
Monday. That may mean a couple of state prosecutors would have to work the
weekend but Kenny has spent enough weekends in prison," Parsigian said.
If the 6th Circuit delays the case pending an appeal to the U.S. Supreme
Court, it likely would be late September before the court issues a ruling.
If a stay order is not granted to place the case on hold, the nations
highest court could rule in the next few months, Parsigian said.
Ohio Attorney General spokeswoman Kim Norris said the state plans to keep
Richey on death row while they appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Parsigian has filed a motion with the 6th Circuit demanding Richey's
release from death row while objecting to the stay. Parsigians argument is
based on the premise that with no convic-tion against Richey, hes an
innocent man until proven guilty, and innocent men are not kept on death
Parsigian said the state stands no chance of having the U.S. Supreme Court
accept the case on appeal. There just isn't an important legal question.
"Thats a desperation Hail Mary," he said.
(source: Lima News)
Moussaoui case spotlights death penalty
Now the real trouble begins as the case of Zacarias Moussaoui hurtles
toward a conclusion and the life of the admitted terrorist conspirator
hangs in the balance.
Next comes the penalty phase in the criminal prosecution of the
36-year-old French citizen, who says the endgame of his flight training
for 747 airliners was a strike on the White House, separate from the
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
As chilling as Moussaoui's admissions are, international hostility to
executions and the need for cooperation in President Bush's fight against
terrorism raise an intriguing question: Does the Bush administration
really want to put this man to death?
The answer Friday was an unequivocal yes, as prosecutors basked in the
glow of a victory that brought deep expressions of gratitude from
relatives of Sept. 11 victims.
"As family members we thank you," Hamilton Peterson said in heartfelt
comments to Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Melson outside the courthouse in
Alexandria, Va., where Moussaoui pleaded guilty. Hamilton's father and
stepmother died on United Airlines Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.
Hamilton praised the president's "ever-vigilant efforts."
The Moussaoui case looks a lot different overseas. The European Union
condemns the death penalty for foreign nationals in the United States.
France, Moussaoui's country of origin, urges that he not be subject to
German authorities have expressed reluctance to turn over evidence they
had about Moussaoui because of concerns regarding his possible execution.
Spain has said that it would not extradite terrorist suspects to the
United States if they could be executed.
"Seeking the death penalty in the Moussaoui case always was going to be a
very dicey choice," former federal prosecutor Larry Barcella said. In
addition to Europe, the Muslim world "would basically view his being put
to death as a public spectacle."
For critics of the president, the message of Moussaoui fighting for his
life is that the Bush administration is paying no heed to international
sensibilities against executions. To Americans, the prospect of Moussaoui
as martyr or as a recruiting tool for al-Qaeda means little.
"World opinion doesn't even weigh in on the scale," said Stephen Hess, a
presidential scholar and political analyst at the Brookings Institution.
"There is simply no way that public opinion in the U.S. would not
overwhelmingly be for giving whatever the most severe penalty is. The rest
of the world will go along on its separate track. It is not negotiable."
Despite admitting to six felonies, Moussaoui still can keep fighting in
federal court, giving him an international stage.
Legal experts say he can highlight what he regards as the unfairness of it
all, including his inability to call Sept. 11 planners as witnesses on his
behalf in the proceeding that will determine whether he lives or dies.
He says the those planners would testify that he was not involved in Sept.
11. The issue barring his access to these witnesses was already decided
before the planned criminal trial, which now will not take place.
"The whole world will be watching this penalty phase and it will be
troubling to the judge that Moussaoui has no access to the al-Qaeda
detainees who might be able to help him," said Peter Margulies, a law
professor at Roger Williams University in Providence.
Moussaoui can use only written summaries of interviews with those
While admitting he was part of a conspiracy, Moussaoui can argue that his
role sets him apart from others on Sept. 11. He did not hijack the planes
and he did not direct the suicide crews.
"Everything about this case is different, it's a crime unlike any other in
very significant ways and Moussaoui's involvement is different from any
other death penalty case: He didn't kill anyone," former federal
prosecutor Pete White said.
(source: Associated Press)
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