[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----KY., USA, CALIF., ALA., FLA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Feb 7 06:02:20 UTC 2007
Lawyer Radolovich to give up license ---- Perjury charge came in
Fred Radolovich, the Louisville lawyer who once falsely claimed to have
prosecuted a Serbian war criminal at the World Court, has agreed to
surrender his license to practice.
Radolovich agreed Friday to resign from the bar in exchange for
prosecutors dropping a charge that he perjured himself when speaking under
oath about his experience in death penalty cases.
"It has always been our belief that the interests of justice would be best
served by removing Mr. Radolovich from practice, and we have accomplished
that," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Jeanne Anderson.
She said the deal was designed to protect criminal defendants and civil
clients whom Radolovich represents now or would have in the future.
Radolovich, 60, who must resign by March 31, was in court in Lyon County
yesterday, according to a message on his voice mail, and he didn't return
calls seeking comment.
His lawyer, Frank Mascagni, said: "In matters where our defense of clients
overlapped, I found him to be a competent attorney. I am not going to say
anything bad about the man."
The perjury charge was one of a string of embarrassments in recent years
for Radolovich, who was probably best known for representing Tina Conner,
the mistress of former Gov. Paul Patton.
In November, seven members of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals said
Radolovich did a poor job representing James Earl Slaughter, who was
sentenced to death for murder in 1983. Radolovich never discovered his
real name or that he had an untreated skull fracture as a child, which
might have resulted in a lesser sentence.
In April, a three-judge panel of the same court found Radolovich filed an
"incoherent brief" in the appeal of a civil-rights case against the city
of Muldraugh. It was so inaccurate he should have known it was frivolous,
the panel said. The court fined him $9,500.
In January 2002, The Courier-Journal reported that Radolovich had falsely
asserted to the newspaper two years earlier that he was licensed in
England as a barrister and that he was heading to the World Court at the
Hague to prosecute a Serbian general.
In May 2000, a Jefferson Circuit Court jury ordered him to pay $72,000,
including $60,000 in punitive damages, to a Louisville neurosurgeon who
claimed Radolovich filed a medical malpractice suit against the doctor
without any evidence of negligence and without consulting an expert.
Radolovich conceded that the only doctor he consulted before filing the
lawsuit was one of his own clients -- a family practitioner accused of
fondling patients during gynecological exams.
Radolovich's deal with prosecutors stems from his indictment on a perjury
charge in July 2003. He was accused of lying during a 1994 hearing in a
post-conviction appeal filed by Slaughter, who said Radolovich had
provided ineffective counsel at Slaughter's trial 11 years earlier.
During the 1994 hearing, Radolovich said that before representing
Slaughter, he had tried six death penalty cases, including four when he
worked briefly at the New York district attorney's office. He also said he
had headed an organized-crime unit there. But the prosecutor who
supervised Radolovich in New York said in an affidavit that neither
assertion was true.
In an agreement approved by Judge James Shake, Radolovich agreed to
withdraw from the Kentucky Bar Association and from any other state or
federal bar where he is authorized to practice.
Marguerite Neill Thomas, who represents Slaughter as manager of the state
Department of Public Advocacy's post-conviction branch, said, "It is
commendable that the commonwealth recognizes that Mr. Radolovich shouldn't
represent clients anymore, but they should also set aside Mr. Slaughter's
death sentence, which resulted from Mr. Radolovich's poor representation."
Slaughter was convicted in the January 1983 murder of Esther Stewart, who
owned a Louisville consignment store, and is on death row at the Kentucky
State Prison at Eddyville. The 6th Circuit's 7-7 vote sustained his
conviction and sentence; Thomas said she expects to file a motion by March
1 asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.
Anderson, the prosecutor in the perjury case, said in an interview that
she believes the bar could have acted against Radolovich more quickly
after his indictment four years ago. The case was set for trial several
times but continued.
KBA President Bob Ewald said the bar usually waits until a prosecution
runs its course because a felony conviction means that disciplinary
sanctions against the lawyer are automatic. "We don't like to interfere
with commonwealth's attorneys and their prosecutions," he said.
The bar's chief disciplinary counsel, Linda Gosnell, confirmed it had
investigated Radolovich for his assertions about his role at the World
Court. But the investigation foundered because Radolovich claimed through
counsel he was misquoted, and the newspaper declined to provide notes or
tape recordings of its initial interviews in which it said he made the
claims, Gosnell said.
The Courier-Journal's lawyer, Jon Fleischaker, told the bar in a May 2002
letter that the reporter who wrote the story had left the newspaper and
that the newspaper didn't know if any notes or tapes any longer existed,
although it generally doesn't provide such materials to state agencies
anyway. But he said Radolovich never told the newspaper that the original
article was "false or misleading in any respect."
Several Louisville lawyers who have practiced with Radolovich described
him yesterday as a competent trial lawyer with a tendency to exaggerate.
Is the tide turning on the death penalty?
IS AMERICA'S execution system grinding to a halt? Following a series of
court rulings and decisions by governors, the death penalty is on hold or
not used in more than 1/2 of U.S. states--which together account for
nearly 2/3 of the population.
The total number of executions in the U.S. dropped again last year to 53,
a decline of almost 50 % in the past 7 years since the high point of the
1990s surge in executions. The number of death sentences imposed by juries
also fell last year, to the lowest level since the death penalty was
reinstated in 1976.
Capital punishment has been under scrutiny throughout the decade, but the
issue is back at center stage right now--chiefly because of questioning of
the lethal injection procedure used in 37 of the 38 states that have the
death penalty. Long considered a swift and humane method of execution,
evidence has come to light showing that lethal injection may be little
more than state-sanctioned torture.
On the same day in December, California and Florida, which have the
largest and 3rd-largest death rows respectively, halted death sentences
being carried out--as a result of botched executions in both states.
What you can do
For more information on the struggle against the death penalty and how to
get involved, see the Campaign to End the Death Penaltys Web site.
At the beginning of this month, Tennessee became the latest state where
the death penalty was put on hold, when the pro-death penalty governor
stopped four executions until state officials reviewed the lethal
injection procedure. In North Carolina, judges halted 3 executions at the
end of January after the North Carolina Medical Board decided any
participation by a doctor in executions violated its ethics policy.
The effective moratoriums related to lethal injection aren't permanent.
The Florida halt on executions, for example, could be reversed by the new
governor this month or next. And Texas, the capital of the U.S. death
machine, isnt slowing its murder spree.
Nevertheless, the extent of recent legislative developments around the
death penalty shows how far the tide has turned.
In New Jersey, an independent commission supported abolishing the death
penalty because of "increasing evidence that the death penalty is
inconsistent with evolving standards of decency," according to the
commission report. The state legislature is expected to pass abolition
legislation in the coming months, and Gov. Jon Corzine has said he will
In Maryland, where executions were halted in December because of a lack of
public review of the lethal injection procedure, the new governor, Martin
O'Malley, has said he, too, will sign a bill abolishing the death penalty
if the legislature passes one.
In Illinois, state Sen. Mattie Hunter will unveil legislation to abolish
the death penalty later this month. Illinois has had a moratorium on all
executions, declared in January 2000 by former Gov. George Ryan. 3 years
later, Ryan cleared the state's death row, granting pardons to 4 prisoners
who were shown to be innocent, and commuting the death sentences of every
Other states ranging from Kansas and Nebraska to New Mexico and South
Dakota are considering legislation to stop the death penalty. Though these
bills are less certain of passage, they have advanced much further in the
legislative process than previously, when they typically stalled in
committee, without being debated.
"The changes that have taken place in just the last few months are
astonishing," says Marlene Martin, national director of the Campaign to
End the Death Penalty. "The number of abolition and moratorium bills being
put forward right now is I'm sure the most ever since reinstatement.
"That's not only because lethal injection is raising questions, but more
generally the unraveling of the death penalty system--because of innocent
people walking off death row, because of activists exposing the flaws of
the system, because of continued pressure inside and outside the
"Now, judges are literally scrambling to come up with a humane way to kill
someone. But doctors and anesthesiologists are standing up and refusing to
be part of the process. The problems around lethal injection are
snowballing, and it's going to be hard for them to 'fix' the system. They
will try. But it would be a mistake if abolitionists were to see lethal
injection as a technicality that can be easily pushed aside.
"The courts and the politicians are under pressure to sustain the
legitimacy of the criminal justice system. Innocent people walking off
death row and revelations of the barbarism and incompetence that takes
place in the death chamber are giving the whole system a black eye. This
is a crack in the system that activists can push open--and say that no
matter how you mix the chemicals, theres no right way to do the wrong
thing. We have to push forward on every front right now."
(source: Socialist Worker Online)
Danielle's killer will die of old age
In reading the article on the loss of a beautiful little girl ( "Van Dam
case helped change sexual predator laws," Feb. 1), I read nothing but
smoke to sell papers and nothing to stop any other like happening from
occurring again, because the sanctions imposed never take place.
There isn't one law or bill proposed that will prevent the same thing
happening again here in California. Even if one was written, all three of
the main bodies of this government think more of protecting this killer
than seeing that his punishment is carried out as written in law.
It doesn't take a genius reporter to write something that will inform the
public that for killers like David Westerfield, when they do a like deed,
meaningful punishment could descend upon them but doesn't.
In today's legal process the attitude is "don't make waves" and delay this
punishment happening to where the public's mind is on other issues and
this killer will be housed for 25 more years with the possibility of the
court action that will be started all over again with the same aftermath.
Reporter Teri Figueroa fails the public miserably by not informing them
that more than 150 death row inmates have been on death row for more than
20 years with no end to their appeals in sight, or that there are two that
have been on death row since 1978 with no end to their appeals in sight.
All of this information implies that Westerfield has an almost 100 %
chance of dying of old age on death row than being punished as the court
What does this tell other animals that molest children? It states in
gigantic letters that if they do get caught, they will be in another
society wherein the government houses and feeds them and gives them better
medical treatment than the hardworking, morally sound people on the
outside will ever get.
This reporter failed to inform the public that more than 700 killers have
been sent to death row and only 13 have been punished as assigned. It
doesn't take a grade-school child to do the math and understand that if
you kill someone here in California, your chance of being executed is 1.8
percent. So where is the deterrence?
Any punishment is supposed to send a message to the masses that, if they
do a like deed, this will happen to them. As it stands now, no matter what
the trial states, when you receive the death penalty, you have a better
chance of getting a college degree on death row than of ever being
With this article, Ms. Figueroa and the editorial staff of the North
County Times have done nothing to stop this brutalization of small
children. They shed a tear. Did you read one sentence in this lengthy
article that informed the Van Dam family that they will be on hold for
another 25 years waiting to see if the judiciary starts their hurt all
By this paper's inaction, could it be stated that it is a party to this
type of crime against children?
(source: North County Times---- Carlsbad resident George H. Cullins has
been an advocate for crime victims and expedited death sentences since his
daughter, Janette Anne Cullins, was slain in her Pacific Beach home in
1984. Her murderer, Dean Phillip Carter, was also convicted of murdering
three other women in Los Angeles County that year, among other crimes.
After he was sentenced to death in 1991, it took the state Supreme Court
more than 15 years to affirm the sentence; Carter's sentence is now in the
federal appeals process)
Needling us to action
THE ISSUE: Tennessee's governor has put executions on hold while the state
studies its procedures for lethal injection. Alabama needs to go even
By most standards, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen didn't do anything
amazing. But it is hard to imagine such an extraordinary thing happening
Which is a shame.
All Bredesen did was acknowledge problems in the state's protocols for
lethal injection - problems he said required him to call a 90-day
moratorium on the death penalty and postpone four pending executions.
Mind you, the governor didn't change sides in the death penalty debate. He
didn't call for a big, open-ended moratorium on capital punishment. He
merely conceded that the state's specific execution guidelines were
outdated, vague and vulnerable to legal challenges.
Bredesen said lethal injection procedures will be reviewed "from top to
The development in Tennessee mirrors a larger national trend as states and
courts examine lethal injection procedures. A federal judge ruled last
year that California's methods violate the Constitution's ban on cruel and
Closer to home, then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush suspended all executions in his
state last year and appointed a commission to review lethal injection
procedures. Bush's action came after a flubbed execution in which the
needle overshot an inmate's veins, resulting in what experts fear was a
painful, 34-minute death.
We're well aware that a slow, agonizing death is what some people believe
convicted killers deserve. But in a civilized society, desires for
vengeance must be tempered by humanity and justice. Our Constitution
requires it. If there are valid concerns about lethal injection
procedures, the only right response is to hold off on any executions and
to ensure the methods are medically sound and humane.
So how much more should executions be suspended in Alabama, where the
problems with capital punishment go far beyond how the needle is inserted,
what drugs are injected and at what intervals?
Here, people facing the ultimate punishment too often don't even receive
adequate legal representation, much less the vigorous defense that should
be required in death penalty cases. Juries can unanimously recommend a
life-without-parole sentence, only to be overruled by a judge who can't
afford to appear "soft on crime" as he seeks re-election. The difference
between life and death often seems to come down to such arbitrary factors
as race, social standing, even geography.
Yet year after year, proposals to temporarily stop executions die an
agonizing death in our Legislature.
Since legislators have failed to act, Gov. Bob Riley should build on the
example set by his Tennessee counterpart.
As governor, Riley can singlehandedly block executions, and he doesn't
even have to have a good reason. But the truth is, Riley has no shortage
of good reasons to call at least a temporary halt to executions until the
state ensures the death penalty is applied fairly and accurately.
It would be an extraordinary action for Riley to take, for sure. But it is
the right thing to do.
(source: The Birmingham News)
Expert: Executioners ignored key signs in botched killing
Executioners ignored clear signs something was wrong as they administered
drugs to a convicted killer who took twice the normal time to die and had
chemical burns in his arms, an expert told a panel reviewing Florida's
lethal injection procedures Monday.
Dr. Denise Clark, a physician from Orlando who specializes in vein
therapy, testified the executioners who reported trouble pushing a deadly
chemical mix into the veins of Angel Nieves Diaz on Dec. 13 should have
known their intravenous lines were not properly inserted.
"You would know right away. You would see there is a problem," Clark told
the panel Monday. "It shouldn't be difficult. If it is in the proper
place, it shouldn't require a lot of force."
Diaz's execution took 34 minutes -- twice as long as usual -- and required
a rare 2nd dose of lethal chemicals because the needles were incorrectly
inserted through his veins and into the flesh in his arms, a medical
An autopsy found chemical burns in both his arms, and some experts said in
interviews that Diaz probably suffered excruciating pain.
"It seemed to be a clearly diagnosable problem," said panel member Rodney
Doss, who is also the director of victim's service for the Florida
Attorney General's Office.
Testimony from members of the execution team was delayed Monday because of
technical difficulties with a telephone device to disguise their voices.
They will testify Friday.
Prison officials last week told the panel the intravenous lines appeared
to be inserted correctly and the execution went normally except for the
length of time it took Diaz to die.
But a Department of Corrections review found the 4A-person execution team
deviated from established procedure by continuing the execution after
noticing problems with the first injection site. They are supposed to stop
and check the site, the report said.
After the botched execution, then-Gov. Jeb Bush created the panel to
examine whether improvements can be made to the way lethal injections are
administered. Executions in Florida have been halted until the panel
releases its report, which is due to be sent to new Gov. Charlie Crist by
Diaz, 55, was sentenced to death for killing a Miami topless-bar manager
27 years ago. He proclaimed his innocence to the end.
Death penalty opponents have seized on the Diaz execution to bolster their
claim that Florida's lethal injection procedure violates the U.S.
Constitution's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
(source: Associated Press)
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