[Deathpenalty]death penalty news-----ARK., CALIF., FLA., PENN.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Mar 25 14:36:19 CST 2005
Court Wont Lift Stay Of Execution
The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday refused to consider lifting a stay
of execution for Rickey Dale Newman until a lower court submits a written
order based on a February hearing.
Newman asked the high court last month to remove a temporary stay issued
in September. The condemned killers request came days after Crawford
County Judge Gary Cottrell gave Newman permission to fire his attorneys.
The Supreme Court said it has yet to see an order based on Cottrells Feb.
3 ruling. However, Crawford County officials said Cottrells written order
was entered Feb. 22.
A county employee was unsure why the court had not seen the decision.
According to the Supreme Courts ruling Thursday, Cottrell has 30 days to
submit the written order. At that point, the court will review Newmans
motion to dissolve the stay.
In the lower courts order, Cottrell granted Newmans requests to deny
motions that would have delayed his execution.
The condemned killer said the federal public defenders appointed to
represent him acted against his wishes last year by attempting to stop his
death. The public defenders office in Little Rock had asked for additional
DNA testing of evidence and for a hearing to determine whether Newman had
effective counsel in his 2002 trial.
Newman served as his own attorney during his trial for the February 2001
killing of Marie Cholette in Van Buren.
Newman said in November he wanted the public defenders assistance in
proving his innocence. By January, he said he wanted to fire the
attorneys, Bruce Eddy and Julia Brian.
He told Cottrell he made the November statement so that the attorneys
would not pursue in court the question of whether he was mentally
The fired attorneys have continued to try to intervene in the case,
though. In a court filing Feb. 28, they asked on behalf of Newmans aunt to
stop his execution.
The public defenders said Newman has an "incompetent, illness-driven
desire to die." The filing asked for a hearing to determine the mans
(source: The Times Record)
ALAMEDA COUNTY -- Ex-prosecutor called 'fast, loose' with rules --
Witnesses attempt to discredit lawyer's jury-bias claim
3 attorneys from Montana testified Thursday that soon after John "Jack"
Quatman quit as an Alameda County prosecutor in 1997, he had run into
problems among the legal community in his new home.
And a judge who worked with Quatman in the Alameda County district
attorney's office testified that Quatman was smart but played "fast and
loose" with rules for sharing evidence with defense attorneys.
"He was willing to bend and break rules in order to win, more than any
prosecutor should," said Superior Court Judge Joseph Hurley.
Hurley's testimony came the same day as three lawyers from Montana --
Quatman's former law partner and two rivals who went against the former
Californian in civil cases -- gave negative testimony about the
The testimony in a San Jose courtroom came on the third day of a rare
evidentiary hearing to assess Quatman's declaration that as a prosecutor,
he had colluded with then-Alameda County Superior Court Judge Stanley
Golde to keep Jews off a 1987 jury that helped send a man to death row.
Quatman also asserted in the declaration, which was made public last year,
that it was "standard practice" in the district attorney's office to use
peremptory challenges to exclude Jews and black women from death penalty
trials. Such practices would be illegal under state and federal law but
are hard to prove.
Armed with Quatman's admission that he violated the law at Golde's urging,
San Francisco lawyer Gary Sowards and three colleagues from the Habeas
Corpus Resource Center are asking the state Supreme Court to grant Fred
Freeman a new trial for a robbery and killing at a Berkeley bar.
The Alameda County district attorney's office has denied Quatman's
charges, and the California attorney general's office has presented
witnesses portraying Quatman as a bitter ex-prosecutor with a grudge
against this former employer and who has been dishonest in the past.
Quatman left the prosecutor's office at the end of 1997 and testified he
did not get along with Tom Orloff, who was elected district attorney in
1994 after serving as the office's top deputy. In early 1998, Quatman and
his wife, Phyllis, started a small legal practice in rural Flathead
County, Mont., an area of about 75,000 residents near Glacier National
Attorneys Dean Chisholm and Sean Frampton testified Thursday that Quatman
had misled them about documents and relevant information in civil cases.
Frampton said that when he became ill in September 2001 and fell into a
coma, his secretary and his law partner had spoken to Quatman about
seeking delays in a trial. Quatman refused both times, Frampton testified.
When Quatman was asked about the delays in court, he said no one had asked
him about it before, Frampton testified.
"There was a specific misrepresentation to the court," he said.
Under cross-examination by Sowards, Frampton denied having any animosity
toward Quatman once they settled the civil case. Frampton said he had
caught Quatman lying another time but couldn't remember the details
because "of a black hole in my brain" from when he was in a coma.
Daniel Wilson, the Quatman's law partner for a year ending in 2000,
testified that Jack Quatman remained bitter and angry. He said the couple
had quickly begun making enemies in a county where there are only about
"Jack and Phyllis Quatman had a way of alienating judges that was really
detrimental," in the long run, Wilson said outside court. "The judicial
community and the legal community are real small. It's one thing to fight
hard and win; it's another to make enemies like that. I thought it wasn't
a good career move to stay with them."
(source: San Francisco Chronicle)
Undisclosed evidence may free man from death row----The state Supreme
Court calls evidence never given to the defense "unsettling." A new trial
More than 20 years ago, a jury took only about an hour to convict James
Floyd of murdering an 86-year-old woman in her home. They took another
hour to send him to death row.
The evidence seemed compelling. Police caught Floyd cashing the victim's
stolen checks. A bloodied sock, a jailhouse snitch, tire tracks and some
hairs also were presented at trial.
But on Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court tossed out Floyd's conviction
and death sentence because prosecutors didn't share other important
evidence with defense attorneys. The ruling called the new evidence
That evidence included statements from a neighbor who claimed to see 2
other men entering the old woman's St. Petersburg house about the time of
her death, as well as inconsistent reports from detectives and information
about how the snitch tried to leverage his testimony for a lighter
sentence on his own charges.
"It's outrageous. It's important evidence," said Pam Izakowitz, Floyd's
Tampa attorney. "It could exonerate Floyd. He didn't kill her."
Prosecutors are required to provide defense attorneys with copies of all
documents and evidence that could be material to a case. It was unclear
Thursday why the information was not provided to the defense.
Doug Crow, one of Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe's top
assistants, said the withholding of evidence most likely was an honest
"I've been here 30 years, and our office has never operated that way,"
McCabe said he didn't know if the state would bring Floyd to trial again.
The attorney who prosecuted Floyd at trial, Joseph Episcopo, also was the
attorney who prosecuted Rudolph Holton, who was released from prison in
2003 after 16 years on death row for a murder he didn't commit.
Episcopo, who is now in private practice in Tampa, was in New York on
Thursday taping segments for Court TV and CNN, an assistant said. He could
not be reached for comment.
Floyd's wife, Hannah, who married Floyd while he was on death row, said
she cried for an hour after hearing the news Thursday morning.
"I knew it was going to happen," she said.
Martin McClain, a lawyer for Floyd, said he didn't think Floyd would be
"I'm convinced that if they take it back to trial they cannot get a
conviction, based on what the neighbor lady saw," said McClain, a veteran
lawyer for death row inmates.
St. Petersburg police arrested Floyd for the Jan. 16, 1984, murder of
Annie Bar Anderson, who was known in her St. Petersburg neighborhood as
the "Butterfly Lady." She raised Monarch butterflies on her back porch.
Anderson had been stabbed 11 times in the stomach and once in the heart.
Detectives developed Floyd, then 23, as a suspect when he tried to cash
one of Anderson's stolen checks. Floyd gave conflicting statements at
first and provided a false alibi. A sock spattered with blood - the same
type as Anderson's - was found in Floyd's jacket pocket.
Several hairs also were found on Anderson's bed. This was before the days
of DNA testing, so all forensic experts could tell was that the hairs
belonged to a black person. Floyd is black, Anderson white.
Tire tracks found on a concrete slab in back of Anderson's home also were
"similar" to the tires on Floyd's motorcycle, police said.
Floyd, who worked as a custodian for a local church, told police he had
found Anderson's checks in a trash bin in an alley. He admitted forging
them, but denied killing Anderson.
After Floyd's arrest, a fellow inmate said Floyd told him that he had
stabbed a white woman. The snitch, a white man, admitted in court that he
didn't like black people.
The prosecution's theory was that Floyd sneaked into the house through a
back door, then went up to Anderson's bedroom. He attacked Anderson after
she discovered him inside, they said.
After the jury convicted Floyd, Anderson's daughter, a church missionary,
begged a judge to spare Floyd from death row. But Judge Philip A. Federico
sentenced him to die.
2 years later, the Florida Supreme Court set aside the death sentence
because Federico gave jurors confusing instructions. A second jury
recommended the death penalty and a new judge, Richard Luce, sent Floyd
back to death row.
Anderson's family members could not be reached Thursday.
In 1994, new defense attorneys got the full case file - and found the
Attorneys asked Luce for a hearing, but he refused. The Florida Supreme
Court later ordered Luce to hold one. Attorneys presented the new evidence
and asked Luce for a new trial. He refused. Years ticked by.
The attorneys took the case to the Florida Supreme Court, which ordered a
new trial for Floyd on Thursday.
"There is little dispute that the state possessed exculpatory evidence
that it failed to provide to Floyd," states the ruling.
Perhaps the most important evidence was the statement of a neighbor, Tina
Glenn, who said she saw two men pull up to Anderson's house in a car at
about the time she was killed. Glenn said the 2 men strode up to the house
and knocked on the door and went inside.
Glenn said it sounded as if they were ransacking the home. About a
half-hour later, she heard the door slam and saw the men running to the
car, "looking around suspiciously." They sped off.
A review of the records also found that letters written by the snitch, in
which he seeks a deal in exchange for his testimony, were not shared with
Nor were police reports that are inconsistent in their description of the
crime scene and that conflict with evidence presented at trial.
The most intriguing: Though police said they found a black person's hairs
in Anderson's bedspread and sheet, one police report says the bed was
"The assailant is not likely to leave a hair inside a made bed while
attacking the victim," McClain said. "It just doesn't make any sense."
Sworn statements from a woman who pointed to another suspect also were
left out. So were inconsistent reports about pry marks that were found on
Anderson's windows. So were polygraph results that showed a witness was
The court found fault with other evidence.
The sock? It was stained with Type O blood, which is the blood type of
about 45 percent of the American population.
The tire tracks? They were similar to the treads of Japanese motorcycles
that were very popular in 1984.
"It is clear that the case against the defendant was not among the
strongest we have encountered," the ruling states, later adding: "After
collectively examining the evidence suppressed by the state, it is
apparent that it could have provided a basis for reasonable doubt in the
minds of some jurors.
"We conclude that our confidence in the defendant's murder conviction has
clearly been shaken by the evidence that the state suppressed in this
(source: St. Petersburg Times)
Death penalty to be sought in slaying of motel clerk
Dauphin County prosecutors announced yesterday they intend to seek the
death penalty against a state prison inmate charged with killing a motel
clerk in Swatara Twp. 13 years ago.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William A. Behe, who is acting as a special county
prosecutor, filed a notice of aggravating circumstances -- the reasons a
jury can consider lethal injection -- at Jesse O. Kenley Jr.'s arraignment
Behe is seeking the death penalty because the state alleges Kenley stabbed
motel clerk Susan Behrens while committing a robbery at the Eisenhower
Boulevard Red Roof Inn on March 8, 1992.
Behe also alleges Behrens, who was stabbed numerous times, was tortured
before she died. He said he plans to present expert testimony that will
show how Behrens, a 44-year-old mother of 2 who was moonlighting at the
motel, suffered before she died.
Kenley pleaded not guilty at the arraignment. His attorney, Chief Deputy
Public Defender Paul Muller, declined comment on the move.
A trial is scheduled for May 16 before Judge Richard A. Lewis.
Kenley, who was a housekeeper at the motel at the time, was immediately a
suspect, police said.
Behrens would have had to let her killer into a secure booth where she was
Kenley arrived for work the next day acting nervous, with fresh scratches
on his hands, and said he was unable to work, authorities said. He also
gave inconsistent statements to police.
But police were unable to charge him because they lacked physical evidence
tying him to the crime.
Last year, however, with the help of a federal grand jury, investigators
said they were able to get him to confess.
Kenley is serving a 2 1/2- to 7-year term in state prison on drug charges.
He is charged with homicide, robbery and conspiracy.
Another man, Tyrone A. Poole, 32, of the 1800 block of South 12th Street,
whom Kenley implicated in the slaying, has pleaded guilty to a federal
charge of concealing information from the grand jury investigating
Behrens' death. He has agreed to cooperate, but was also indicted last
month on charges of distributing crack and powder cocaine to undercover
agents. Behe said he is trying to revoke Poole's bail because of those
Police said Behrens, a computer programmer in the state Office of
Administration who was moonlighting at the motel, was killed for $325.
A break in the case came in April when Kenley's ex-wife, Alicia, told
police she helped him clean bloody clothes and dispose of evidence, court
documents said. She said she was scared to tell anyone because Kenley told
her people would hurt her if she did.
When confronted with his wife's admission, Kenley told police that he and
Poole had planned the robbery for several weeks, authorities said. They
said Kenley told them he planned to use his motel identification to get
into the security booth, while Poole pretended to be a guest asking for
According to authorities, Kenley said when they got to the motel, he went
into the bathroom. While there, he said he heard a woman scream and came
out to find Poole stabbing Behrens. He said he pushed Poole away and
grabbed the knife by the blade. He then took money from the safe while
Poole emptied the cash register, Kenley told police.
He said they fled the motel and Poole made him get out of the car on Route
230. He said he gave the $100 he had stolen to Poole. He told police he
went home, had his wife clean his clothes and burned the bloody towels.
His wife said she disposed of the knife in a trash bin.
Authorities said Poole told a conflicting story. They said Poole said he
picked up a blood-covered Kenley after the robbery when a cab flashed its
lights at him.
(source: The Patriot-News)
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