[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----TEXAS, CONN., USA, NEB., TENN.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Apr 18 06:02:19 UTC 2007
Controversial Revelation of Death Penalty Injustice, Last Words from Death
Row, Scheduled for Release in April 2007
Nightengale Press will release Last Words from Death Row written by Norma
Herrera in April 2007.
Norma Herrera lived her brother Leonel Herrera's personal hell as he
waited on Death Row for the courts to decide if the new evidence that
proved his innocence would save his life. To fulfill her last promise to
Leo -- to tell his story, to tell the truth -- Ms. Herrera has authored
Last Words from Death Row.
In Last Words from Death Row (Nightengale Press, ISBN 1-933449-29-2,
$19.95) Ms. Herrera writes:
On February 16, 1992, Applicant filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus
in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. He
showed that he had important and compelling evidence of his innocence and
argued that because of his innocence it would violate the United States
Constitution to execute him. ... Collins v. Herrera, 754 F.2d 1029 (5th
Cir. 1992). The Fifth Circuit held that, based upon Supreme Court
precedent, innocence did not provide a basis for federal habeas corpus
In 1993, the court ruled in Herrera vs. Collins, 506 U.S. 390 (1993) that
a prisoner cannot simply argue in federal court that new evidence points
to his innocence. He first must prove that his trial contained procedural
errors (the technicalities that may free the guilty but also protect the
innocent). In this case, Leonel Herrera had been convicted of shooting two
police officers. Ten years later, he submitted affidavits from witnesses
who said that his now-dead brother had been the killer (one witness was
his brother's son, who says he saw the murders). Without considering the
statements, the court told Herrera to sit down and shut up. "Federal
habeas courts do not sit to correct errors of fact but to ensure the
individuals are not imprisoned in violation of the Constitution," it said.
In other words, being falsely imprisoned is not a violation of your
rights. Herrera was executed four months after the ruling.
Last Words from Death Row documents court events and press coverage, and
calls into question the landmark decisions that sent her brother to his
death. In the book, Ms. Herrera recounts the tribulations she and her
family suffered as they worked to free Leonel Herrera from his fate. In
his last words, Leonel Herrera said: "I am innocent, innocent, innocent. I
am an innocent man, and something very wrong is taking place tonight."
If all the court proceedings, including the Supreme Court's decision prior
to Leo's execution represent the visible tip of the death penalty iceberg,
Last Words from Death Row exposes the enormous human tragedy that resides
below the surface. Her questions drive a powerful wedge between the legal
process in capital cases and the truth. Why do the guilty go unpunished?
When is innocence not enough to free a convicted man? Does Truth not
prevail in the American Justice system? Who pays? Who is next?
Last Words from Death Row will be available through Nightengale Press
(www.nightengalepress.com), through online retailers and better bookstores
in April. For more information, or to interview Ms. Herrera, contact
Valerie Connelly at (847) 810-8498.
Supreme Court Refuses San Antonio Man's Death Row Appeal
A convicted killer condemned for an attack in which 2 of the 3 murder
victims were injected with household cleaner before they were stabbed to
death lost an appeal Monday at the U.S. Supreme Court, moving him closer
The court refused to hear appeals from Clifford Kimmel of San Antonio and
2 other Texas death row inmates -- Lionell Rodriguez, a Houston man
convicted of a notorious fatal carjacking, and Christopher Coleman,
condemned for a triple slaying in Houston. Rodriguez is scheduled to die
by lethal injection on June 20. Neither Kimmel nor Coleman has a pending
Kimmel and another man, Derek Murphy, were arrested for the April 1999
fatal stabbings of Rachel White and Susan Halverstadt, both 22 and dancers
at a topless bar, and Brett Roe, 29. Their bodies were found in a San
Kimmel, who had a previous burglary conviction, was arrested about 6 weeks
later for a parole violation and confessed to police. Court records show
he and Murphy injected two of their victims with the cleaner Tilex to drug
them before they robbed them. Kimmel pleaded guilty to capital murder, and
a jury decided he should be executed.
A defense psychiatrist testified at his trial the Kimmel, now 31, had been
a heavy user of methamphetamines since he was 13 or 14.
Kimmel's companion, Murphy, is serving a life prison term for his role in
Rodriguez is set to die for the 1990 shooting death of Tracy Gee, a
22-year-old woman gunned down while in her car at a stoplight. He was 19
at the time of the shooting and on parole only 3 weeks after serving 3
months of a 7-year sentence for burglary.
The random nature of the slaying put an intense spotlight on Houston
street crime at the time. Gee was returning from work and was only a few
blocks from home when she was shot in the head while waiting for a light
to change. She was pulled from her car and dumped in the street as her
attacker drove away, running over her.
Evidence showed Rodriguez, who had a long criminal history, drove around
for about 2 hours in the car, which was splattered with blood and bone
fragments, and was sitting in a pool of her blood when he was arrested
near his home in Rosenberg in adjacent Fort Bend County.
At his trial, jurors heard his confession where he said he wanted the
woman's car because his was just about out of gasoline.
Rodriguez, now 36, first was convicted in 1991 but the conviction was
thrown out because a list of potential jurors improperly was shuffled
twice when the law said it could be shuffled only once. He was retried in
1994, convicted again and sentenced a 2nd time to death.
In the other Houston case, Coleman, 35, was condemned for the shooting
deaths of 3 people in December 1995 in what was supposed to be a fake
robbery scheme involving a Colombian cocaine peddler.
Herimar Prado Hurtado, Jesus Garcia-Castro and Hurtado's 3-year-old
nephew, Danny Giraldo, were killed when evidence showed Coleman fired 11
times into a car.
According to testimony, Coleman was paid $12,000 to take part in a scheme
hatched by Genero Garcia so Garcia wouldn't have to pay an $80,000 drug
debt. Garcia and another man, Derrick Graham, received life prison terms
for their role in the plot.
Garcia-Castro's girlfriend, the dead child's mother, also was shot in the
attack but survived her wounds and identified Coleman as the gunman.
Coleman was arrested in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., where he acknowledged being
at the shooting site but denied being the gunman.
(source: WOAI News)
"For centuries the death penalty, often accompanied by barbarous
refinements, has been trying to hold crime in check; yet crime persists,"
(Albert Camus, Resistance, Rebellion and Death).
These words of Albert Camus, an Algerian-French author and philosopher,
best sum up my position on the death penalty and the prison system. The
death penalty is one of the most controversial issues of our time and it
garners opinions from people in all walks of life. I say it with a little
hesitation that I am against the death penalty. The death penalty and the
prison system are both intrinsically flawed.
The old adage "two wrongs do not make a right," is the first thing that
comes to mind when I think of the death penalty. As sad as it is to say,
when someone is murdered, nothing will ever bring that person back. I do
not believe that seeing the murderer die by lethal injection or any other
method will bring closure to the family of the victim. Anyone who says
that it does is either lying or trying to fool themselves. The hole will
always be there if a family member is taken away violently. Nothing will
ever make things right again.
According to the Web site www.balancedpolitics.org, there are some
legitimate reasons to ban the death penalty in the United States. It clogs
our legal system with appeals for inmates who have received the death
The financial cost of capital punishment is several times greater than
that of locking the inmate up for life. The death penalty has been in
place for about as long as our nation has existed and it still has not
scared potential criminals straight. This may be because the method of
execution has become more humane as time has gone on. Life in prison is a
more severe punishment and it is also a more effective deterrent.
The death penalty sends contradictory messages in several different ways.
First of all, it sends the wrong message that it is all right to kill a
person who has murdered someone else to prove that killing is wrong. It
does not take an Ivy League graduate to figure out that there is no logic
in that. Second, it takes sympathy away from the victim and the victim's
family and places it on the perpetrator of the crime.
Here is where the hesitation comes in on my part and I really could spend
many sleepless nights pondering on the situation. How would I feel if
someone murdered a member of my family? Honestly, I cannot answer that
question. Perhaps I would want to see him pay for the crime he has
committed by watching him hang from the tallest tree in the world. Or
maybe I would want him to have the rest of his life to think about his
crime in prison.
That being said, I believe there is another factor that should be taken
into consideration. The prison system is flawed in our country. In Texas,
there is not even the option of life without parole. The prison system has
gone too soft. With all the human rights activists getting prisoners equal
treatment, prison is not as scary anymore. It has lost a little of the
intimidation. I am not condoning beat-downs of prisoners like those that
occurred in the movie "Shawshank Redemption," but maybe if they mess up
again in prison, give them a few days in solitary confinement and see if
it gives them a new lease on life. They are already in prison for crimes
on the outside. Misbehavior inside the walls should be punished a little
Some criminals might even find that they would have a better life inside
the prison than outside of it. Think about it, inside prison they will
always have, clean clothes, shelter, three meals a day, some form of
employment and the possibility of education. These are things that are no
guarantees on the outside, especially for potential criminals.
It has been proven that some innocent men and women have been put to death
under capital punishment. It might help the United States gain more
respect in the international community if the nation moves away from the
"eye for an eye" revenge approach. Who are we, as a nation, to judge
whether other men should live or die? Some are truly apologetic for their
crimes, and others feel no remorse or deny that they committed the crime.
When we sentence a guilty man or woman to die, perhaps, we are no better
than they are.
Falkenberg: At least Dallas County gives 2nd chances
While columnist Rick Casey is on sabbatical for the next few months, we
are delighted to bring Chronicle readers 2 sharp new voices:
Lisa Falkenberg, a 5th-generation Texan from Seguin who joined the
Chronicle's Austin bureau in 2005, will appear on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Falkenberg has worked for The Associated Press, where she was Texas AP
Writer of the Year, and has covered everything from scandals in the state
lottery to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Lisa Gray, who has been arts editor of the Chronicle since 2005, will
appear on Sundays and Thursdays. Gray is a talented columnist and editor
who has also worked at the Houston Press, Washington City Paper and Cite:
The Architectural and Design Review of Houston. One look at James Curtis
Giles on our front page with his cobalt blue suit, smiling, relieved eyes,
his sister gripping his shoulder like a battle buddy returning from the
field has me both thrilled and furious.
Thrilled because for the 1st time in a quarter-century, the world knows
53-year-old Giles is an innocent man, no longer the scum-of-the-earth sex
offender convicted in the brutal gang rape of a pregnant 18-year-old.
Furious because he likely will be the 13th man proven by DNA testing to
have been wrongly convicted in Dallas County. 23. That's more DNA
exonerations than any county in the nation. Harris County has had only 4.
What's wrong with the justice system in Dallas? Is it really that much
worse than ours?
Harris County had tainted evidence and sloppy record-keeping from a leaky
police crime lab. Both counties have shared reputations for what critics
call a "conviction-at all-costs" mentality. And Harris, the so-called
death penalty capital of the world, is a lot more populous.
So, assuming Harris has its fair share of bad lawyers, overzealous cops
and mistaken eyewitnesses, why aren't we seeing the same parade of
The main answer is simple: Dallas is a pack rat, keeping evidence dating
back to the 1980s in catalogued freezers of a county-run lab; Harris
County is not.
It's not that Dallas' policy was born of benevolent foresight: It likely
was intended to aid prosecutors in fighting appeals.
But enter Craig Watkins, the new Democratic district attorney hell-bent on
airing his Republican predecessors' sins and busting out the innocent, and
you've got a recipe for long-awaited justice.
'Heads in the sand'
Harris County is a different story.
As we saw in the HPD crime lab debacle, precious evidence like bloody
clothing and rape kits got rained on, used up in one test or misplaced.
Even the evidence sent to other labs was routinely stored in crowded,
dusty warehouses, where exhibits were periodically tossed to make room for
In 1997, the rape kit that exonerated Kevin Byrd narrowly escaped the
trash bin. But a week after his pardon, court officials ordered 50 more
rape kits destroyed.
Harris County's tossing tendencies are common and legal. Texas law
requires evidence to be kept only until a convict is executed, dies or is
paroled. Curtis Giles might still be a registered sex offender today if
Dallas had followed that minimum standard; he was exonerated 14 years
after his parole.
Evidence isn't the only obstacle to freeing Harris County's innocent.
Critics point to a culture of denial at the office of District Attorney
Chuck Rosenthal, who's often painted as the archetypal red meat Texas
"I think it's a matter of them burying their heads in the sand so they're
not confronted with the possibility they made a mistake," David Dow,
director of the University of Houston's Innocence Network, said of
Rosenthal's office. "They often don't even answer our letters anymore when
we inquire about ... evidence."
Rosenthal denied stonewalling: "I'm not going to stand in the way and have
someone who's wrongly convicted stay in prison. That's awful," he told me
last week. "If we can't be ethical, we can't be anything."
To be fair, he was the 1st in 2003 to order retesting of DNA handled by
the HPD crime lab.
And Nina Morrison, staff attorney for Innocence Project of New York,
commends Rosenthal for a new, limited policy allowing her to retest any
DNA that was touched by the tainted HPD crime lab. She's gotten permission
to test more than five inmates so far, and she expects more. But that
doesn't cover all cases.
And even if Rosenthal isn't blocking DNA testing, he's not aggressively
trying to find the innocent guys, either.
When I asked him if there could be innocent people from Harris County in
prison, he said, "I'm sure it's plausible."
Yet, he says his office supports "very few" requests for post-conviction
Compassion for victims
How can it be ethical to acknowledge the possible incarceration of
innocent people and then do little to find and free them?
I admire Rosenthal's compassion for victims; he says he decided long ago
that if alleged rape victims braved stigma to come forward, he would stand
by them until evidence proved otherwise.
Why not the same compassion for victims of incompetent counsel and
Rosenthal should follow Watkins' example in Dallas: Throw open his doors
to the innocence attorneys and allow them to test whatever evidence exists
in disputed cases. He has nothing to lose, except his pride, but much to
gain. For every innocent person in prison, there is a murderer or rapist
who escaped justice.
(source: Houston Chronicle)
Judge rejects bid for new lawyers in death penalty case
A Superior Court judge has turned down a request for new defense lawyers
for a Bridgeport man facing the death penalty.
Russell Peeler Jr. was convicted in 2000 of ordering the 1999 killings of
a Bridgeport woman and her 8-year-old son to keep the boy from testifying
against him in a murder case.
Peeler was convicted in the shooting deaths of Karen Clarke, 29, and her
son, Leroy "B.J." Brown Jr. The boy was expected to be a key witness
against Peeler in the murder of Clarke's boyfriend. The two were gunned
down in Clarke's home.
A jury deadlocked on whether Peeler should receive the death penalty. He
has been in prison since his arrest a few weeks after the murders.
In court Monday, Peeler demanded new lawyers, saying the court-appointed
defense team is not quality legal representation.
"My life is hanging in the balance and I need more quality of defense,"
Peeler told Judge Jon C. Blue. "These attorneys are not committed, they
are acting like agents of the state."
But the judge said he considers the three lawyers the state has hired to
represent Peeler in the death sentence hearing - Erskine McIntosh, Mark
Rademacher and Jeffrey Beck - to be well-qualified and denied Peeler's
motion for new lawyers.
"I will agree with you on one issue this is absolutely a serious matter,
but I would disagree with you about the quality of your attorneys. Your
claim that they are agents of the state is preposterous, it is just
baloney," Blue said.
Judge Blue has set May 1 as the beginning of jury selection. A 12-person
jury, with four alternates, will be selected to determine if the death
penalty should be imposed on Peeler for his role in the killings.
Blue has tentatively scheduled the death penalty hearing to begin Sept.
Police claim Peeler ordered his younger brother, Adrian Peeler, to kill
the boy and his mother.
Adrian Peeler, however, was convicted only of conspiracy to commit murder
and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He is also serving a consecutive
35-year term on federal drug charges.
(source: Associated Press)
Death row inmates stage hunger strike to protest conditions
5 of the state's eight death row inmates started a hunger strike Monday to
protest conditions at Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, a
Department of Correction spokesman said.
The inmates said in a statement released through an anti-death penalty
group that they want to be able to participate in recreation outside their
cells with one another rather than alone. Death row inmates spend 23 hours
a day in their cells and have 1 hour of solitary recreation.
They also asked for additional privileges, including contact visits and
use of the gym for recreation, and for a meeting with the commissioner of
the Department of Correction.
"Death row convicts are suffering from high stress and depression caused
by our environment and current living conditions," said the statement,
which was written on behalf of the inmates by Eduardo Santiago, on death
row for carrying out a murder-for-hire. "We as a group say enough is
enough, something has to change. It's been 9 years."
Death row inmates staged a similar hunger strike in 2005. It lasted about
a week and prison officials said it did not lead them to change their
Department spokesman Brian Garnett would not say which inmates were
involved in the hunger strike, which started at breakfast Monday, or what
action department officials might take if it continues.
"Certainly they're being monitored by medical personnel, and we'll see how
it progresses," he said. "As I understand, they're concerned about the
conditions under which they're being held. We strongly believe that the
conditions they're held under are humane and are based upon safety and
security needs of not only the institution but of them personally."
(source: Associated Press)
ACLU Urges Supreme Court to Uphold Fairness in Juror Selection for Death
The American Civil Liberties Union today urged the United States Supreme
Court to uphold established constitutional and legal procedures that help
to ensure fair jury selection in death penalty cases.
The Court will hear arguments today in the case of Cal Coburn Brown, who
was sentenced to death in Washington State in 1993. The United States
Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned the death sentence in
2005, ruling that a potential juror had been incorrectly kept from the
jury that later found Brown guilty and imposed the death penalty. The ACLU
filed a friend-of-the-court brief agreeing with the federal appeals court
ruling and arguing that the state court did not properly apply established
federal law regarding the qualification of jurors for a capital case
"Death is the ultimate punishment. The stakes can't get any higher, so it
is of utmost importance that courts pick jurors fairly and in accordance
with the law," said ACLU Legal Director Steven R. Shapiro. The standard
for selecting jurors in capital cases is whether they can put aside any
personal beliefs about the death penalty and fairly apply the law. That
standard was not followed in this case, according to the ACLU. Instead,
the prosecution was improperly permitted to exclude "for cause" a
potential juror who stated that he would consider a defendant's future
dangerousness in deciding whether to impose the death penalty, but that he
would follow the courts instructions on the law and could vote for the
death penalty in an appropriate case even if the alternative were life in
prison without parole.
"If courts are allowed to dismiss every person who thinks carefully and
conscientiously about the death penalty, it would undermine constitutional
protections for fair trials in capital cases," said John Holdridge,
Director of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project.
The ACLU brief was written by Holdridge, Shapiro, and Brian W. Stull of
the national ACLU, ACLU of Washington Legal Director Sarah Dunne, ACLU of
Washington Staff Attorney Nancy Talner and Larry Yackle of the Boston
University School of Law.
The ACLU's brief is available at:
Chambers: Execution can't proceed because state didn't follow law
State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha says the execution of Carey Dean Moore
should not go forward because the state violated administrative rules.
In a memo to Attorney General Jon Bruning and Gov. Dave Heineman, Chambers
says the method of execution was changed three years ago without a public
hearing and oversight from the attorney general's and governor's offices,
as required by law.
Bruning said in a statement that his office will review the matter and
"It is a legal question directed at the attorney general, and we will wait
on his response," said Heineman spokeswoman Jen Rae Hein.
Moore was scheduled to be electrocuted May 8.
Death row inmates used to be executed with four separate jolts of
electricity on the electric chair. But that was changed in 2004 after
Scotts Bluff County District Judge Robert Hippe concluded that protocol
violated a state law that requires a continuous application of
electricity. Lawyers for inmate Raymond Mata Jr. had challenged the old
method in court, and prison officials changed it in 2004.
The new protocol calls for a continuous, 15-second current of electricity
at 2,450 volts.
"If any matter warrants public scrutiny and serious, informed,
professional and expert input, a protocol to extinguish a human life by
the state, does," Chambers says in his memo.
He has provided the information to attorneys for death row inmates,
Chambers said, and did not know whether any legal action would occur if
Bruning did not intervene based on his memo.
In a filing with the state Supreme Court in March, Moore said he was
stopping his decades-long fight against the death penalty and wished to be
If the execution were to go forward, it would be the 1st in the state
since Robert Williams was put to death in 1997.
On the Net: Nebraska attorney general: http://www.ago.state.ne.us/
(source: Associated Press)
Death Watch to Begin----Execution set for May 8
Death row inmate Carey Dean Moore goes on death watch as of Tuesday.
Guards will monitor the 49-year-old convicted killer until he's
transported to Lincoln to be executed on May 8th.
Cab drivers Maynard Helgeland and Reuel Van Ness were robbed and murdered
within a week's time. Now, 28 years later, their killer has given up legal
efforts to halt his execution.
His friends stand vigil outside the capitol. They say Moore is no longer
the cold blooded killer he once was.
Norma Fleisher says, "He's a born again Christian. He's a kind an mild
Crowds were rowdy during the nighttime executions of Willie Otey and John
Joubert in the mid-1990s. Moore's execution is scheduled to take place at
Walkthroughs will be conducted by penitentiary staff starting a week prior
to the execution.
Death row was moved to Tecumseh but the execution chamber was not. That's
so the guards that guard the condemned on death row don't have to deal
with the actual execution. That too goes back to lessons learned during
the Otey and Joubert executions.
Win Barber with the Nebraska Department of Corrections says, "When the
time of the execution occurred there were some feelings, for lack of a
better word, on the part of the staff. These are condemned inmates but we
had known them for a long time."
The executioner who carries out the sentence will not be identified.
Fran Kaye, with Nebraskans Against the Death Penalty says, "Nothing will
be gained except people will have something to be ashamed of and
Maynard Helgeland's son-in-law will be a witness to the execution. He says
he owes it to Maynard's memory and the grandchildren Helgeland never got
(source: WOWT News)
Scene sues for access to records detailing development of new execution
The Nashville Scene Tuesday upped its ante against the Department of
Correction (DOC), following up a February open records request with a
lawsuit asking the Davidson County Chancery Court to intervene on the
newspaper's behalf and force the DOC to argue in open court why it must
continue to keep records relating to the development of a new execution
protocol off limits to the public.
The dispute goes back to Feb. 1, when Gov. Phil Bredesen issued Executive
Order 43, which directed Correction Commissioner George Little to review
the state's lethal injection protocol and, by May 2, to "establish and
provide. new protocols and related written procedures for administering
death sentences in Tennessee, both by lethal injection and execution."
16 days later, the Scene, under the direction of Editor Liz Garrigan,
requested the DOC to turn over to the newspaper all records relating to
the development of that new protocol.
With the exception of one 40-minute public forum, the DOC has conducted
its review entirely behind closed doors, which has drawn the ire of death
penalty experts, among other interested parties, who have noted that other
states such as Florida and California conducted their death penalty
procedures in a more public setting.
"The public has a very strong interest in understanding the procedures by
which the State of Tennessee puts people to death in its correctional
facilities and that the public obtains information about such matters by
reading the Nashville Scene and other newspapers, as well as through other
media channels," wrote Nashville attorney John P. Williams on behalf of
Nashville's largest weekly publication.
It was a position that echoed earlier requests made by the Scene,
including in its original Feb. 16 letter to Commissioner Little as well as
a March 21 follow-up letter to Little and Bredesen.
But, as the new lawsuit spells out, the intervention by the State Attorney
General's Office, in which it held the position that certain requested
documents are "privileged" forced the Scene's hand.
Arguing that internal drafts, memos and e-mails relating to the
development of a new execution manual are not, in fact, "privileged," the
Scene contends that "Commissioner Little has no legitimate interest in
concealing from the public the thoughts, ideas and information contained
in the requested records and [the Scene] respectfully contend[s] that
production of these records will have no chilling effect on persons in the
working group, which is preparing the new Execution Manual."
Representatives from the State Attorney General's Office, the DOC and the
Governor's Office were not immediately available for comment.
(source: Nashville City Paper)
Nashville Scene sues state over death penalty protocols
Nashville's alt-weekly Nashville Scene has filed a lawsuit in Davidson
County Chancery Court against Tennessee's Department of Corrections,
seeking to make the state shed some light on its current effort to
fine-tune how it puts condemned prisoners to death.
According to the Scene's attorney, John P. Williams of the law firm Tune,
Entrekin and White, the lawsuit is a result of a open-records request that
has been denied by the Department of Corrections and its commissioner,
On February 1 of this year, Gov. Phil Bredesen issued an executive order
halting all executions for 90 days so that the Tennessee Department of
Corrections could perform "a comprehensive review of the manner in which
the death penalty is administered."
According to the order issued by the Governor, procedures for both lethal
injections and electrocutions would be reviewed by, among others, experts
from the legal, scientific, medical, and corrections fields. Additionally
the governor has asked that the department review practices of other
The Nashville Scene has been trying to obtain documents in advance of new
protocols being put in place in order to see what the committee appointed
by Little is discussing.
Scene Editor Liz Garrigan told NashvillePost.com today that she filed a
request 2 months ago under Tennessee's open-records law for information on
how the new procedures would be developed. Kleinfelter wrote back with a
copy of the current execution manual and some other documents, but told
Garrigan that some information had been held back on the grounds that it
was privileged material relating to policy deliberations.
According to the lawsuit, Assistant Attorney General Janet Kleinfelter,
representing the Department of Corrections, described some of the withheld
documents in her letter as "drafts of the [new execution] manual and the
handwritten notes and comments of the individual members of the working
group appointed by Commissioner Little, as well as a very limited number
of emails between members of this group."
"We think the process ought be transparent," Garrigan said today. "We're
talking about how we're going to go about killing people in this state. We
think that ought to be an open discussion." Sharon Curtis-Flair,
spokesperson for the Attorney General's office, said that her office is
not at liberty to discuss pending litigation.
A hearing has been set in Davdison County Chancery Court for Wednesday,
April 25 at 9 a.m. Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman will hear the complaint.
(source: Nashville Post)
More information about the DeathPenalty