[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----N.Y., MISS., USA, DEL.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Mar 2 16:54:29 CST 2006
Pataki renews call for death penalty in wake of officers' deaths
In the wake of the fatal shooting of 2 police officers in 3 days -
including a New Hartford police officer - Gov. George E. Pataki said today
he will renew his call to reinstate the death penalty for anyone convicted
of murdering a police officer.
"These incidents underscore the importance of strict laws to protect our
brave police officers and severely punish the brazen criminals who harm
those who defend our community," Pataki said in a news release.
New Hartford police Officer Joseph Corr, 30, was fatally shot Monday night
while pursuing a suspect in the robbery of Lennons-W.B. Wilcox Jewelers on
Commercial Drive in New Hartford. State police Trooper Andrew Sperr was
shot to death Wednesday in Big Flats, near Elmira, after confronting two
suspects in a bank robbery.
Under the Crimes Against Police Act I of 1995, anyone convicted of
intentionally killing a police officer faces a mandatory sentence of life
without parole, but Pataki said he would propose new legislation that
would permit a jury to impose the death penalty where the victim is a
police, peace or corrections officer.
"Their tragic deaths this week underscore the need to vote on and pass
this critical legislation," Pataki said.
(source: Utica Observer Dispatch)
Wallace nomination may end truce on Capitol Hill
- - - - -
MICHAEL WALLACE BIO
Born: Dec. 1, 1951, in Biloxi
Education: Bachelor's degree, Harvard University, 1973; law degree,
University of Virginia, 1976.
Family: Wife, Barbara; 4 daughters
Career: Clerk for Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Larry Walker, 1976-77;
clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist, 1977-1978;
partner, Sekul, Hornsby, Wallace & Teel, 1978-80; aide to Sen. Trent Lott,
R-Miss., 1980-83; associate at Jones, Mockbee, Bass & Hodge, 1983-1986;
partner at Phelps Dunbar 1986-present.
[source: GNS research]
- - - - -
A Capitol Hill truce over judicial nominees may have been shattered with
the nomination of Jackson lawyer Michael Wallace to the 5th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals.
Bitter fighting over judicial nominees last year - which threatened to
bring the work of the Senate to a halt - was quelled when a group of 7
Democrats and 7 Republicans agreed that nominees should only be blocked by
a filibuster, or extended debate, under "extraordinary circumstances."
Wallace's staunch conservatism, and criticisms from civil rights groups
for some things he did as an aide to Mississippi Republican Sen. Trent
Lott 20 years ago, may prompt Democrats to decide Wallace's nomination is
"extraordinary" and merits blocking, like that of former Judge Charles
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said President
Bush nominated Wallace, a partner at Jackson's Phelps Dunbar law firm, to
keep a campaign promise to fill the federal bench with loyal
That could cause problems for Bush, Turley said, because his slumping
popularity hinders his ability to win support on Capitol Hill for his
"Bush may be writing a political check that won't be covered in the
Senate," Turley said.
Wallace, 54, a Biloxi native and Harvard University graduate, has been
heavily involved in Mississippi GOP politics, including a failed run for a
state legislative seat.
"I have been involved in political campaigns ever since my parents took me
to Nixon headquarters in Biloxi in 1960," Wallace said in a questionnaire
he submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.
Wallace would fill the seat vacated by Pickering a little more than a year
ago. The court hears cases from Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
Critics of his appointment, including the NAACP and other civil rights
groups, have focused on his part in helping Lott lobby former President
Reagan on behalf of Bob Jones University. The then-segregated school was
defending its right to take federal tax deductions in a case before the
Wallace also worked with Lott to require that the intention to
discriminate, not just the effect of discrimination, be proven in voting
"It's like putting the fox in charge of the hen house when it comes to
civil rights," said Leslie Proll, Washington director of the NAACP Legal
His initials also are on a letter Lott wrote the Justice Department to
block federal inspections of Mississippi prisons. In that letter Lott
objected that a Justice Department official sought American Correctional
Association standards for medical care in county jails. Lott insisted
"only the minimal standards" should be expected in those jails.
The letter was written about a year before a fire killed 29 inmates in a
These issues were raised in the Senate in 1983, when Reagan appointed
Wallace to the Legal Services Corp., a government agency that provided
legal help to poor people.
Two of Wallace's toughest questioners more than 20 years ago - Sens.
Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., are members of the Senate
Judiciary Committee, which is required to approve judicial nominations
before they're sent to the full Senate for a vote.
"The controversy surrounding his previous nominations makes clear that
Wallace's confirmation to the federal bench is not a foregone conclusion,
" Proll said.
Wallace could not be reached for comment. But John Sneed, a colleague of
Wallace's at Phelps Dunbar, said the nominee is a complex person with
"excellent judicial convictions."
"He's not a one dimensional guy," Sneed said. "There's a lot to him."
Wallace's role as the lawyer of the Mississippi GOP in redistricting
fights in 1992, 1982 and 2002 also is likely to be debated. In those
redistricting fights, the Republican Party was accused of trying to weaken
the political power of black voters.
"The Mike Wallace I know has never been interested in diversity," said 2nd
District U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat and the only black member
of the Mississippi congressional delegation.
California Case Displays Absurdity of the Death Penalty
We have expressed our belief previously in this space that the death
penalty should be abolished. Without reiterating the reasons, we note this
week a news item out of California.
It seems a federal judge had bought into an argument that the states
method of administering the death penalty - lethal injection - may
constitute "cruel and unusual punishment" on the possibility that the
sedative administered as part of the dosage does not work properly.
In others words, if the sedative doesnt knock the convict out, the
paralyzing drugs that stops his heart may cause him pain.
So, he ordered that two doctors - anesthesiologists who, of course,
specialize in administering sedatives for surgery - be present at an
execution to ensure that an inmate would not be in "undue pain from a
The doctors, citing their Hippocratic oath that "first, cause no harm" to
a patient, refused. Shockingly (given the judges logic thus far) the judge
did not site them for contempt of court, nor did he throw them in jail.
The execution has been put on hold "while the court considers whether
lethal injections - the most common execution method in the country -
amount to unconstitutional 'cruel and unusual punishment,'" the news
For those of us who oppose the death penalty on moral grounds, this is
certainly good news. But the arguments and process only illustrates the
absurdity of the death penalty itself.
It would have been enlightening to have been in the courtroom to hear the
arguments. We can only surmise that an attorney painted a scenario of an
inmate whose sedative drug wasnt strong enough. He must have had some
evidence that the drug that actually causes death causes pain. They
certainly could not call any witnesses to whom this has happened. It was
surely all supposition, but enough that a judge believed it.
The absurdity is this: if we're comfortable enough in the process of
purposefully and methodically taking someones life, how concerned can we
be that it is a totally painless process? The insertion of the intravenous
needle to administer the drugs can be mighty painful on it's own. How much
concern can one have about the comfort of someone that you're killing?
It is apparently not uncivilized to kill someone; but it is uncivilized
that there is the possibility of the least bit of pain or discomfort in
This case only underlines the fact that the death penalty is archaic and
barbaric. It has no place in a society that considers itself civilized.
(source: Bluffton News Banner)
Capano gets life
In Wilmington, in a 2-minute proceeding this morning, Thomas J. Capano was
sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole by Superior
Court Judge T. Henley Graves for the 1996 murder of Anne Marie Fahey.
Capano, 56, who looked overweight and was dressed in an orange prison
jumpsuit, did not speak beyond answering, "Yes sir" when Graves asked him
if he was declining his opportunity to address the court.
The Delaware Supreme Court overturned Capano's death sentence in January
and last month Delaware Attorney General Carl Danberg decided not to
pursue a second death penalty hearing for Capano.
Fahey family members and friends of Anne Marie, were in court today and
silently watched from the front row.
Capano's attorney Joseph Bernstein pointed out to Graves that he had no
discretion in the sentence he would impose, so they had nothing to add.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ferris Wharton told Graves that while Capano
avoided the death sentence, he will not avoid dying behind bars, "which is
as it should be."
Graves then sentenced Capano, saying he hoped "this would bring, or start
to bring some closure to the family and friends of Ms. Fahey."
After Capano left the room, Anne Marie's brother, Kevin, said, "Good
(source: News Journal)
More information about the DeathPenalty