[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----KAN., PENN., MONT., OHIO
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Feb 13 02:57:19 UTC 2007
Death penalty opponents say voters on their side----Poll suggests that
most Kansans believe penalty is meted out unfairly
Most Kansans would support alternatives to the death penalty, according to
a poll released Monday that was commissioned by a group seeking a ban on
"There is not an overwhelming support for the death penalty where there is
an alternative available," said Ben Coats, with the Kansas Coalition
Against the Death Penalty.
The poll of 500 frequent voters showed that nearly 2/3 of Kansans would
prefer a sentence of life in prison without parole in which the inmate
would work in prison to pay restitution to the families of their victims.
The poll also found that many Kansans thought capital punishment was
handed out unfairly.
57 % of Kansans believe that some people are executed while others serve
prison terms for the same type of offense.
The poll was conducted Jan. 20-21 by Jayhawk Consulting Service. The
survey has a plus or minus margin of error of 4 %.
The death penalty in Kansas was reinstated in 1935, repealed again in 1972
and finally reinstated in 1994.
Since the death penalty was last reinstated in Kansas, there have been 10
death sentences but no executions. One sentence was removed by the
prosecutors request and 2 have been vacated by the Kansas Supreme Court.
(source: Lawrence Journal-World)
PENNSYLVANIA----new death sentence
Jury Makes Decision In Death Penalty Case----Van Divner Convicted Of
Jurors chose the death penalty after deliberating for about four hours
A jury made a decision in a life or death case after a man was convicted
James Van Divner, 57, was given the death penalty for the murder of his
ex-girlfriend in Fayette County in 2004.
Police said Van Divner shot and killed 41-year-old Michelle Cable and
wounded her son Billy outside her Grindstone home
Last week, Van Divner's family testified in his defense.
Daughter Jamie Bennett said, "I don't think anything is fair. It took 12
jurors half an hour to 45 minutes to decide the fate of my dad. Thats
what, like 3 minutes a piece? They're making him out to be this monster,
but I still feel like a victim in all of this, too. He's a human."
Jurors decided Monday afternoon that Van Divner will be executed by lethal
(source: WPXI News)
Mumia Abu-Jamal legal update, reply from mayor of Paris
The following edited letter was sent on Jan. 30. Go to
www.millions4mumia.org for more background information on this development
and other legal updates.
Since last spring we have been engaged on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal in
briefing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit,
Philadelphia. It is the most extensive I have seen in three decades of
specializing in capital litigation. The pending issues concern the death
penalty, racism that has permeated the proceedings for a quarter of the
century, and prosecutorial and judicial abuse. They are of great
constitutional significance. Last fall I was notified by the court that
oral arguments would be scheduled for January, but that was later
rescinded. At this time we have no indication as to when we will be
permitted to orally argue the merits of the issues.
In November Mumia and I together sent letters to the Mayor of Paris and
its Council. It was in response to an appalling letter sent to Paris by a
few misguided politicians from the Philadelphia area. I wrote: "Their
demand that the honorary citizenship of Mr. Abu-Jamal be revoked is an
affront not only to the citizens of Paris, but is insulting to people
around the globe who are opposed to the death penalty and human-rights
Mumias letter eloquently pointed out that "these people are merchants of
death who wish to trick you into their campaign" to not only kill my
client, but also "to wipe [his] name from the face of the earth." Their
deal "is but another lie, a devils bargain that they are powerless to
grant under any stretch of American or international law."
I am pleased to advise that the Mayors office has responded in a most
positive manner. In the great French tradition of championing human
rights, the December 5 response to me said: The Mayor of Paris has
received your letter concerning the situation of your client, Mumia
Abu-Jamal and thank you.
"As mentioned in your mail, some representatives of the city of
Philadelphia have recently wished to express their disapproval toward the
decision of the Paris City Council to have selected in December 2001,
Mumia ABU-JAMAL as 'honorary citizen of the City of Paris.'
"Though the denunciation by these representatives is concentrated on the
Cities of Paris and of Saint Denis, nobody ignores that many other Cities
in France, in the United States and in the world, have shown their support
to Mumia Abu-Jamal.
"We have established that the arrival of this Delegation in France,
announced for end of November, has simply never taken place.
"It is clear that the city of Paris stays mobilized in this fight and wish
to affirm with force its (engagement) commitment in order that the capital
punishment shall one day disappear of the planet.
"I will be grateful for you to transmit this information to your client
and assure him of the support of the City of Paris of which he is honorary
We will keep you informed as there are further developments in the case.
With best wishes, Robert R. Bryan
Law Offices of R.R. Bryan, Lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal
2088 Union Street, Suite 4, San Francisco, Calif. 94123
(source: Workers World)
Readers back death penalty
Last week's Question of the Week asked whether the Legislature should pass
a bill to abolish the death penalty. 3 out of 4 readers said no.
Among 516 responses to this unscientific survey, 390 favored capital
punishment, while 126 said it should be repealed.
Some readers' comments:
-- No. As barbaric as it may seem to others, as long as people commit
murder and deprive their victims of their right to life, then society
should have the right to deprive the perpetrators of their right to life.
The people of the great state of Montana should never forget the suffering
of the victims of these crimes and their families.
-- What the Legislature should do is pass a bill limiting the appeals that
go on for 20 years. Iraq may have it right.
-- It is reasonable to question whether a society that puts people to
death is truly civilized. We execute knowing there is not 100 %
reliability of guilt to many on death row. We execute with full knowledge
that at times there has been misconduct and incompetence by the state
crime lab, such as that of Mr. Melnikoff's testimony, which helped convict
Jimmy Ray Bromgard of rape about 15 years ago in Billings. Although these
kinds of problems are not rampant, over the last few years DNA science has
freed dozens of wrongly convicted folks on death row all across the
country, sparing them from an irreversible mistake. When it comes down to
it, the death penalty with an "eye for an eye" vengeful appeal may in the
end leave us all less civilized and morally blind.
-- Life imprisonment without the possibility of release is simply no
guarantee that a convicted murder will not kill a correctional officer or
another inmate or to contract the murder of people outside the prison. The
risks are simply too great to abolish the death penalty.
(source: Helena Independent Record)
Judges spare convicted killer from death penalty
The 3-judge panel that convicted Reginald Tucker of aggravated murder
spared his life Monday.
After deliberating for about 2 hours, Judges Mary Katherine Huffman,
Gregory F. Singer and Michael L. Tucker of Montgomery County Common Pleas
Court sentenced Reginald Tucker to life in prison. He will be eligible for
parole in 43 years.
On Thursday, the panel convicted Reginald Tucker of 2 counts of aggravated
murder, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and having a weapon while being a
convicted felon. The charges were from the Nov. 27, 2005, shooting of
Antoinette "Toni" Hollingsworth, 22, a Toledo native and former Dayton Job
Corps Center student. Hollingsworth did not know Reginald Tucker or Sean
Rutledge, a juvenile who will be tried in March in connection with
Hollingsworth's death, according to Dayton police.
Reginald Tucker, 24, who did not testify during the guilt phase of his
trial, did make an unsworn statement Monday. Because the statement was
unsworn, prosecutors could not cross-examine Reginald Tucker, a convicted
rapist who has also since been indicted in 1999 rape case.
Defense attorneys brought in Reginald Tucker's younger brother, a Dayton
public school teacher who met Tucker through a mentoring program and the
chaplain of the Montgomery County Jail to speak on Reginald Tucker's
behalf during the mitigation phase Monday morning.
Harry Calloway, Jr., the chaplain, said he was impressed and moved by
Reginald Tucker's religious values during the 14 months since he met him.
The teacher, Douglas Marsee, testified that Reginald Tucker wanted to go
to church before turning himself in to authorities following the rape he
was convicted in.
When cross-examined, both said the fact that Reginald Tucker had been
convicted of rape did not change their views of his character.
Both Reginald and Chris Tucker, 22, spoke about the difficulties at home
during their childhoods. Reginald Tucker also said that his religious
values helped him through his 5 year prison term, which ended with his
parole 5 months before Hollingsworth's death.
"God helped me get through that because it was hard," Reginald Tucker
said. "It made me grateful for the little things, just going to a store,
going out to eat."
Reginald Tucker and Rutledge, then 16, saw Hollingsworth as she left the
Family Dollar Store, 2808 Germantown St., according to testimony during
the guilt phase.
Witnesses testified this week that they saw Reginald Tucker and Rutledge
with a woman believed to be Hollingsworth minutes later at a nearby
Minutes after that, Hollingsworth was shot after struggling with a man in
the alley behind the 800 block of Burwood Avenue, according to county
prosecutors. Soon afterward, police arrested Reginald Tucker and Rutledge
at a nearby market.
(source: Dayton Daily News)
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