[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----OHIO
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Jan 17 05:37:17 UTC 2007
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL UK / REPRIEVE / KAREN TORLEY ---- PRESS RELEASE
KENNY RICHEY: FRESH CALLS FOR SCOTSMAN ON DEATH ROW AS USA MARKS 30 YEARS
OF DEATH PENALTY
Amnesty International UK, Reprieve and Scottish anti-death penalty
campaigner Karen Torley today (17 January) issued fresh calls for justice
for a Scottish man on death row in the USA, as the US marks a 30-year
"anniversary" of the death penalty.
30 years ago today the US state of Utah executed Gary Gilmore by firing
squad, thus ushering in the "modern" era of judicial killing in the USA.
For half a decade before Gilmore's execution, US courts had banned all
executions, but since January 1977 the US has gone on to execute over
1,000 people, one of the largest numbers anywhere in the world.
On the 17 January "anniversary" of the modern era of executions, the US
state of Texas - by far the biggest executing state in the USA - is also
set to execute another prisoner despite concerns that the condemned man
(Johnathan Moore) was not competent to stand trial as a result of mental
Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:
"Today marks a shameful "anniversary" of 30 years of judicial killing in
the USA and for 20 of those Kenny Richey has endured the living hell of
"The death penalty is a human rights outrage, achieving nothing but
suffering and injustice.
It's high time for the USA to abandon this cruel punishment, just as it's
high time for Kenny to receive justice in his case."
Clive Stafford-Smith, the leading death penalty lawyer and founder of UK
anti-death penalty organisation Reprieve, said:
"Think about what you were doing 20 years ago. Imagine having spent 23
hours a day since, locked in your tiny cell with the courts refusing to
even consider compelling evidence of your innocence. When will Tony Blair
use his special relationship to bring this innocent Scot home?"
Mr Richey has also been the subject of a longstanding campaign from
Scottish anti-death penalty campaigner Karen Torley. Ms Torley said:
"I have been campaigning for justice for Kenny for over a decade and I
remain as convinced as ever of the need to push for a full hearing of
evidence that will show Kenny's innocence."
Mr Richey, who has a Scottish mother and grew up in Edinburgh, has fought
a long campaign to clear his name. He was convicted of arson and murder in
the state of Ohio in 1986 and sentenced to death on 27 January 1987. He
has been on death row since then, but has always protested his innocence.
Evidence has since emerged casting serious doubt on Mr Richey's guilt.
Meanwhile, Johnathan Moore, 32, is set to be executed later today
(17January) for the murder of a police officer in San Antonio in Texas in
There are serious concerns about the mental health of Mr Moore at his 1995
trial. However, despite evidence of Moore's mental incompetence to stand
trial, his lawyers did not ask for a competency hearing. It has been
claimed that Moore's mental state deteriorated during his trial and that
Moore had even begun to suspect his own lawyers of being part of a larger
conspiracy to kill him.
Though the trial heard that during his adolescence Moore had been
committed to a mental hospital and had suffered from increasing paranoia
as a young adult, the trial jury found him guilty. At his subsequent
sentencing hearing, his lawyers did seek a competency hearing but without
recalling mental health experts who therefore never testified at any stage
on the question of Moores competence to stand trial.
Next week (24 January) the case of Kenny Richey, who will have been on
death row in Ohio, USA for exactly 20 years on 27 January, will be
re-heard by the 6th Circuit Federal Court of Appeal in Cincinnati.
A panel of 3 judges will be re-considering Mr Richey's case, including the
question of whether evidence that came to light after his 1986 trial
should be fully re-examined.
(source: Amnesty International)
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