death penalty news---OHIO, USA, ARIZ., MD., CALIF., ALA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Mar 27 16:21:49 CST 2005
Inmate wants judge off appeals
A federal judge has been asked to remove herself from reconsidering a
British-born Ohio death row inmate's fate because she previously reviewed
his conviction while serving on the Ohio Supreme Court.
Kenny Richey's lawyers said U.S. Circuit Judge Deborah Cook, who was
appointed to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by President Bush, had
taken part in rulings that went against the 40-year-old prisoner in 1995
Traditionally, federal judges step down from reviewing cases where they
had a prior role and it is widely expected that Cook will follow
Richey, who was born in Scotland, is a cause celebre in Britain, where the
death penalty has been outlawed.
TV documentaries have been made for British audiences proclaiming he was
convicted on flawed evidence in Ohio, and the British government has filed
legal briefs on his behalf in the U.S. appeals court.
He has denied firebombing an apartment in Columbus Grove, a village north
of Lima, where a 2-year-old girl was burned to death in 1987.
The request that Cook step down came after the Ohio attorney general's
office moved for all 12 judges on the Cincinnati-based federal appeals
court to restore Richey's death sentence. So far, there has been no signal
from the appeals court, or from Cook, about the next step.
Last January, a three-judge panel ordered a new trial, saying there were
gaps in the evidence against Richey. The panel also found that Richey's
1st lawyer made "grave mistakes" and was incompetent to defend him during
the 1987 murder trial in rural Putnam County.
Assistant Attorney General Michael L. Collyer of Cleveland said the panel
exceeded its authority and "found its own facts without mention of
contrary facts" to rule in favor of Richey.
Richey's lawyer, Ken Parsigian of Boston, said the state was rehashing old
legal arguments. He said the appeals court should "permit the panel's
well-reasoned decision to stand."
(source: Cleveland Plain Dealer)
No shortage of women who dream of snaring a husband on Death Row --
Experts ponder why deadliest criminals get so many proposals
Scott Peterson, the man who was convicted of murdering his wife and unborn
child, had been on Death Row barely an hour when the 1st proposal arrived
from a woman who wants to be the new Mrs. Scott Peterson.
3 dozen phone calls came in to the warden's office on Peterson's 1st day
at his new home in San Quentin State Prison -- women were pleading for his
mailing address, and one smitten 18-year-old said she wanted to marry him.
As far as anyone knows, these women don't really know Peterson -- and
unlike Laci Peterson, they certainly haven't spent any time with him,
usually a requisite for getting married -- but, according to several
experts on the world of the condemned, it doesn't really matter.
What matters is the allure of marrying a notorious man, regardless of the
fact that he may well end his days with a state-approved needle sticking
out of his arm. There's the danger of it all, and, ultimately, the safety
of it: If things go wrong, the wife can walk away.
"They love the celebrity status," said Jack Levin, a criminologist who is
director of the Brudnick Center on Violence at Northeastern University in
Boston. Levin is co-author of the book "Extreme Killing: Understanding
Serial and Mass Murder," which explores, among other things, what Levin
called "killer groupies."
"These are the same women who might correspond with a rock star or a rap
artist," Levin said. When such a woman writes to a rock star, he said,
"the best she can hope for is a computerized signature on a photograph."
When she writes to a serial killer on death row, "she might get a marriage
Others give the potential prison brides more benefit of the doubt.
"A lot of women are really taken with the man's criminal case, and they
overwhelmingly believe these men are innocent," said Rick Halperin, a
history professor at Southern Methodist University and president of the
Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. "Many think the man
shouldn't be alone and that even if he doesn't get out, there should be
somebody there supporting him."
Prison weddings in California are a regular occurrence. In general, about
20 inmates get married in ceremonies held on the first Friday of
even-numbered months at San Quentin, and usually at least one condemned
inmate is among them.
And death row inmates have no shortage of suitors. In fact, the more
notorious the murderer, the less he has to work for female companionship,
San Quentin spokesman Eric Messick said.
"You take our 5 highest-profile killers here, and you've got your answer
about who the most popular inmates are," Messick said. "I think it's just
the publicity that attracts people."
Letters of adoration flow in daily to death row inmates from all over the
world, some of them 20 handwritten pages long.
Richard Allen Davis, the man who kidnapped 12-year-old Polly Klaas from
her Petaluma home in 1993 and killed her, "probably gets more mail than
most," Messick said. Richard Ramirez, the "Night Stalker" who killed 13
people and has more than a passing interest in Satanism, has women
virtually throwing themselves at him despite the fact he is already
Messick said "99 percent" of correspondence to the condemned is from
women. (There doesn't seem to be a similar clamoring among men for women
awaiting death. None of the 15 women on the state's female death row in
Chowchilla has gotten married in prison.)
A large proportion of those who contact San Quentin's death row inmates
are from Britain and Holland. The interest from Europe, according to
Messick, is probably rooted in opposition to the death penalty and
sympathy for those who are being subjected to it.
Ramirez married Doreen Lioy, a freelance magazine editor, in 1996 after an
11-year courtship in which she wrote him 75 letters in prison. He was
attracted to her, one of her friends said on her wedding day, because she
said she was a virgin.
"Satanists don't wear gold," he reportedly told her when they discussed
At the time, Lioy declared herself "ecstatically happy." She could not be
reached for comment for this story, and Messick said he hadn't seen her
around the prison in a long time.
Other women's interest in Ramirez continues even today, although "from
what I gather he's not real responsive to the mail," Messick said. "He's
not a big letter writer."
Some death row inmates meet their life partners in more mundane ways.
In the 1970s, a woman working for a drug treatment center in San Rafael
visited San Quentin and was mesmerized by a convicted murderer speaking
about a prison program that tries to keep youngsters from getting into
The woman, who did not want to be identified for privacy and job reasons,
married the inmate in 1977. He had been sentenced to death for abducting
and killing a gas station attendant with some friends on his 21st
birthday, but by the time she fell in love, his sentence had been commuted
Their marriage prompted numerous newspaper stories and appearances on
national television talk shows, raising the perennial question of why
someone would want to marry a killer behind bars.
"Why?" she said. "Love. He was like the mayor of San Quentin. He was
involved in everything. And I started to become involved in everything
relating to the prison."
She and her husband were allowed conjugal visits because he was no longer
on Death Row. She visited 2 or 3 times a week for 9 years until 1985, when
he was released. Throughout that time, she said, other women were
contacting him, at least one of whom tried to become more intimate.
She said they "grew apart" after his release and eventually divorced. He
remarried and now lives in another state.
"You just don't know how things will work out until you live with them,"
she said. "It just didn't work out."
She still considers him to be "an unusual, interesting man who is
charismatic. I wasn't desperate by any means. I just really liked him and
became attracted to him and wanted to be with him any way I could.
"It's too hard for me to try to figure out why other women would do this,"
she said. But she added that she had met several other wives of condemned
inmates, and that some had clearly "lost their marbles."
"They were attracted to men who did serious, ugly types of crimes, child
molesting and such," she said.
One woman whose husband is currently on death row said she became
attracted to the convicted murderer she eventually married through one of
the many prison pen-pal organizations.
The woman would not be identified out of fear that her husband's legal
prospects as well as her job could be jeopardized.
She said that from the outset she "didn't want to become some prison
girlfriend. He wasn't looking for a wife. I wasn't looking for a husband."
She was already married, but that marriage wasn't working.
Her husband said in a telephone interview from death row, "When she first
came up here and we met, we certainly were attracted to one another. But I
told her, 'No, go home and make your marriage work.'" Eventually, the
woman got divorced.
"My wife and I would not have stayed married for (all these) years had we
not been in love," the inmate said. But he conceded that when one spouse
is on death row and the other is free, "it's a very, very difficult
circumstance under which to conduct a marriage."
None of these marriages will ever be consummated unless the man somehow
gets off death row. Yet it wasn't always this way.
According to Kay Bandell, a registered nurse who has been tutoring and
corresponding with prisoners for some 30 years, at one time, San Quentin's
death row "used to have an open visiting area. To handle questions of
intimacy, (couples) would sneak in and out of the ladies room, or some
people would form a protective circle around a couple that wanted to have
"Now they have contact (but non-conjugal) visits in cages, with guards
around them. People have sex on the phone, verbal sex. And letters provide
a certain amount (of intimacy). But all these are vicarious forms of
intimacy. It's not the same as having a consummated physical experience."
San Quentin officials said they tightened up the visiting rules about 4
years ago, after a stabbing incident in the common visiting area.
For some women, the Death Row husband is someone she has been seeking all
her life, and it is frequently a life that has had some horrific knocks.
For her 1991 book "Women Who Love Men Who Kill," Sheila Isenberg
interviewed 30 women who were married to death row inmates.
"Most of these women had been abused in their earlier lives, by parents,
fathers, first husbands or first boyfriends," she said. "So a relationship
with a man behind bars is a safe relationship. The guy can't hurt them.
"Another thing," she added, is that in the pressure to get married, women
tend to look for "the most macho man around. He's the guy who pulled the
trigger. We tend to venerate the most violent men in our society.
Sometimes, it's the good guys, the cops on TV shows, sometimes the bad
By marrying a man on death row, Isenberg said, a woman finds a new life
that is "always dangerous and exciting. Can he make the phone call? Will
he be executed? Will he spend 30 years in prison? All these exciting
elements. It's never mundane.
"It's a very strange world behind prison walls," she said. "It's courtly
love, like the Knights of the Round Table. The man in prison has a lot of
time on his hands and can romance a woman the way most men can't because
they don't have the time. A man in prison can put a woman up on a pedestal
and pay attention to her."
"It's all gentlemanly and formal. The women I interviewed said they didn't
have sex (with their imprisoned husbands.) It was part of the appeal --
it was more exciting to sit at a table, under the watchful eyes of a
guard, and just stare."
(source: San Francisco Chronicle)
The price of freedom
Whats your freedom worth - literally, in dollars and cents? Unless you've
been, say, sentenced to a lifetime behind bars for a murder you didn't
commit, you probably havent given it much thought. But Ray Krone had 10
years with nothing but time on his hands to ponder the question.
Last week he got an answer: $1.4 million. Thats the settlement amount in a
wrongful murder conviction suit he filed against Maricopa County, Ariz. As
Krones mom, Carolyn Lemming of Dover Township, says: It sounds like a lot,
until you consider:
His lost wages and benefits for a decade.
His legal bills - about $800,000 total.
The misery of 10 years in jail.
Do the math, and the settlement adds up to about $380 a day rotting in
prison. Subtract his legal fees from that total and he got about $164 a
day - or about $6.80 an hour.
Thats just $1.65 more than minimum wage. Sounds like Maricopa County got
(source: Daily Record)
Life without parole
State lawmakers don't have to look to Texas or Virginia or Florida for
reasons to stop executing people. Maryland has plenty of examples.
Poor lawyering, prosecutorial misconduct, mistaken identity, withheld
evidence, DNA exoneration - for all of these reasons, death sentences here
have been overturned. Blacks who kill whites are more likely to be
sentenced to death than those whose victims are black. Bank robbers who
kill a teller in Baltimore County most certainly will face the death
penalty, but not if they commit the same crime in Baltimore city. Those
racial and geographic disparities in the application of the death penalty,
as reported in a 2003 University of Maryland study, have yet to be
As Maryland prepares to execute its fifth inmate in 11 years, legislators
should put an end to an imperfect system that can't correct for man's
fallibility. It's simply not enough for elected officials to uphold the
death penalty law because a majority of Marylanders support capital
punishment. The Maryland Catholic Conference, leading advocates for
repeal, say there is an alternative: life without parole. A poll
commissioned by the conference last month found that a majority of 625
voters surveyed - 56 % - support the death penalty. But responses to a
follow-up question showed the softness of that support. When asked, "As a
penalty for murder, do you believe that the sentence of life without the
possibility of parole is or is not an acceptable substitute for the death
penalty?" 63 % said yes.
State law now allows prosecutors to seek a sentence of life without parole
for 1st-degree murderers. But death penalty opponents say many people
don't realize that life without parole means prison for life. No chance at
freedom but for a gubernatorial pardon, sentence commutation or the
vacating of a conviction - all rare exceptions. Since taking office, Gov.
Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has received no clemency request from a
In rescinding the state's moratorium on capital punishment, Mr. Ehrlich
pledged to review every death penalty case before an execution. But a
case-by-case analysis can't correct the systemic problems revealed in the
Some victims' families are realizing that a death sentence prolongs their
grief because capital appeals can stretch for years. After former National
Security Agency cryptologist Darris A. Ware's death sentence was
overturned twice, families of his victims pressed Anne Arundel County
prosecutors last year to seek life without parole. It was more than 11
years after his conviction in 2 murders.
Vernon L. Evans Jr., convicted in the contract slaying of a federal
witness and a relative, has asked to delay his execution next month until
the Maryland Court of Appeals reviews another capital appeal that is based
on the UM findings of racial bias and geographic disparity. The study
remains a compelling argument for scrapping the state's death penalty law
- and Marylanders' apparent acceptance of life without parole offers yet
another reason, a sentiment that is growing across the country.
(source: Baltimore Sun)
Former prosecutor rebuts claim of jury bias
The longtime head prosecutor of death-penalty cases in Alameda County said
Friday there was no scheme to exclude Jews from juries in capital cases,
including a 1987 conviction that the California Supreme Court is
Meanwhile, a Montana lawyer summoned by the California attorney general's
office to impeach the credibility of former Alameda County prosecutor John
"Jack" Quatman, who made the bias charge, instead vouched for Quatman's
honesty in court in Friday.
The events in a San Jose courtroom marked the 4th 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 jury that helped send Fred Freeman 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
Quatman made his allegations in 2003, nearly six years after retiring from
Alameda County and settling in northwestern Montana. Quatman said that
during jury selection in the 1987 case he had struck prospective jurors he
believed were Jewish upon the private advice of Golde, who died in 1998.
It is illegal for attorneys to strike potential jurors because of their
race, ethnicity or religion.
But Jim Anderson, 61, who successfully prosecuted 10 death penalty cases
of his own and supervised attorneys who handled several others, testified
there had never been an effort to keep Jews off the Freeman jury.
Anderson, who helped send more men to San Quentin's death row than any
other lawyer in California, made only a handful of terse statements in
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Kevin Murphy ordered attorneys to
limit the probe to the Freeman case and the credibility of Quatman's
But outside court, Anderson said that any broad policy to exclude Jews or
black women would be not only illegal but also bad strategy. Not all black
women are liberals, he said, citing Condoleezza Rice and other
conservative African American women.
"It ain't the color that matters, it's the politics," said Anderson, who
retired last fall. "I always tried to kick liberals off my death-penalty
juries. ... I've booted people from Berkeley. They don't make good death-
Anderson's testimony was preceded by that of a lawyer and judge from
Flathead County, Mont., where Quatman has practiced law for nearly 7
years. Both men vouched for Quatman's honesty.
Whitefish City Judge Bradley Johnson said that Quatman had appeared in his
courtroom many times and that he considered him to be honest and credible.
David Stufft, of Kalispell, Mont., had long court battles with Quatman and
his lawyer wife, Phyllis, in 2000 after it was alleged the pair had
provided a woman with ineffective counsel in a sex and drug case.
Stufft was brought to San Jose by the attorney general's office to impeach
Quatman's credibility. But after Stufft said outside court that he
respected Quatman, prosecutor George Williamson decided not to call him as
However, Freeman's appellate attorney, Gary Sowards, called Stufft to the
stand -- and Stufft said Quatman was well-respected in Montana.
Sowards told the judge that Stufft's situation showed that the attorney
general's office and Alameda County district attorney's office were not
interested in determining whether Quatman's allegations were true, but
were playing "pin the hide of the defendant to the wall."
Sowards said prosecutors were only presenting negative information and
testimony about Quatman. "The focus of the investigation has been to kill
the messenger," Sowards said.
(source: San Francisco Chronicle)
Rudolph security readied for hearing----No traffic detours are expected
for Tuesday court date
When capital murder suspect Eric Robert Rudolph comes to town Tuesday for
a court hearing, security will be a little more relaxed than last time,
according to Huntsville police.
Federal marshals in the Huntsville office were tight-lipped Thursday about
the security plans and calls to the U.S. Marshal's headquarters in
Birmingham were not returned for comment.
However, an advisory from the office of the U.S. district court said there
will be room for the press and spectators in the courtroom.
The hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the federal courthouse
on Holmes Avenue.
Rudolph, 37, is charged with setting a bomb that blew up an abortion
clinic in Birmingham in January 1998. A police officer was killed and a
nurse was severely injured.
Rudolph was a fugitive for five years with a $1 million bounty on his
head. The search was spearheaded by federal authorities who focused on the
forests of his native state of North Carolina. He was scavenging for food
in a trash bin, when he was caught in May 2003 by a police officer on
routine patrol in Murphy, N.C. Rudolph is in federal custody in
U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith has scheduled Rudolph's trial to begin
in Birmingham on June 9 at 9 a.m. Jury selection is scheduled to begin
April 6, also in Birmingham.
Rudolph's hearing Tuesday will allow the judge to hear arguments over the
admissibility or validity of some expert testimony.
Rudolph's lawyers have asked Smith to throw out testimony from the
government's bomb and explosive experts. The lawyers argue that the lab
work conducted by federal agencies might have been contaminated or faulty.
Federal prosecutors argue a hearing is not needed, because mishandling or
faulty tests did not occur.
Local law enforcement agencies estimated that Rudolph's hearing in
Huntsville to decide the trial's location last June cost $27,000 to
provide security. In less than two hours, both sides agreed to hold the
trial in Birmingham and to pull jurors from across North Alabama instead
of just Jefferson, Blount and Shelby counties.
For that hearing, traffic was blocked on Holmes Avenue and Jefferson
Street. But authorities do not anticipate blocking or rerouting traffic
Tuesday, said Police Capt. Henry Reyes. Huntsville police, federal agents
and marshals will provide security, he said. There will be a place for
reporters to stage their operations in the parking lot on the west side of
the courthouse, Reyes said.
It is not yet certain if Rudolph will be held in the Madison County Jail
before the hearing. Sheriff Blake Dorning said federal authorities have
not requested a spot in the jail for Rudolph.
(source: Huntsville Times, March 25)
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