[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----IND., IDAHO
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Nov 7 01:05:25 CST 2007
Editor explains shift of paper's position----Chicago Tribune supports
death penalty suspension
The editorial page editor for the Chicago Tribune spoke Monday night about
the paper's conversion to supporting the moratorium on the death penalty.
The speech by Bruce Dold, the editor, was part of a lecture series hosted
by Notre Dame Against State Killing (ND ASK), a campaign pushing for a
moratorium on capital punishment in Indiana.
Dold started as a reporter for the Tribune in 1978. He was appointed to
the paper's editorial board in 1990 and was named editorial page editor in
2000. The paper has had a long history for its liberalism, Dold said,
citing an instance in the 1940s when Tribune reporters, under then-editor
Robert McCormick, reported on America's cracking of Japanese codes during
World War II.
Despite this, the paper has an almost 150-year-long history of support for
the death penalty.
This stance changed, however, in March of 2007, when Dold formally
announced a shift in the Tribune's position. The paper's editorial page
emphasized its support for the Illinois moratorium, or temporary
suspension, of executions. The state announced the moratorium in 1999,
The state went on in 2003 to reform many facets of its judicial system,
making the death penalty more difficult to implement. For example, Dold
said, the state cannot impose the death penalty on an inmate simply on the
testimony of one eyewitness, since that one person's testimony is often
Further, Dold said, police have begun taping interrogations of suspects to
prevent false confession, a common error in death penalty convictions.
The newspaper's announcement last spring was meant to send a message of
"You do not have to take a life to save a life," Dold said. "I do not
think that this is an ambiguous question anymore."
Even though the Tribune adopted this new stance, not all others have.
Citing last month's Gallup poll, Dold said 69 % of Americans do support
the death penalty in cases of murder. Additionally, 66 % of the nation
believes the practice to be morally acceptable, and 50 % of Americans say
there should be more death penalty convictions.
"We are going to have the death penalty, we are just going to have to be
more careful about how we use it," Dold said, referring to the recent
reform of the criminal justice system. Complete abolition, he said, is
very difficult for people to fathom, but there is generally tremendous
support for a moratorium.
Inmates are no longer executed for having "dime store," or less capable,
attorneys, he said.
People in favor of capital punishment, Dold said, may believe certain
crimes are so heinous that they deserve no other punishment but death. But
there are problems with that thinking, he said.
"No government is flawless enough to decide who lives and who dies," Dold
While the Catholic Church's teachings about the right to life is often
discussed at Notre Dame, ND ASK director Andrea Laidman said students
don't pay much attention to the death penalty.
"Most students here are 'pro-life,' but are they really committed to it?"
said Laidman, a senior. "They seem to not want to take a stance. These
issues should be about the same thing."
ND ASK continues its lecture series this Wednesday and Thursday with talks
by Bud Welch, an internationally known advocate against the death penalty
whose daughter was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing.
(source: The Observer)
Duncan seeks to suppress statements, void death penalty
Convicted killer Joseph Edward Duncan III on Monday asked a federal judge
to suppress statements he made to detectives and a jail chaplain after his
arrest in the summer of 2005 for the kidnapping of two northern Idaho
In a flurry of motions filed in U.S. District Court here, Duncan's legal
team also argued that the judge should throw out the death penalty sought
by prosecutors and that the federal death penalty should be declared
Duncan is scheduled to go on trial in January for the kidnapping of Dylan
and Shasta Groene, and the killing of 9-year-old Dylan at a remote
campsite in western Montana. Shasta, then 8, was rescued weeks after her
abduction, at a Coeur d'Alene restaurant where Duncan was arrested.
Duncan has already pleaded guilty in Idaho state court to killing members
of the Groene family at their Coeur d'Alene-area home in May 2005. Brenda
Groene; her fiance, Mark McKenzie, and her 13-year-old son, Slade Groene,
were bound and bludgeoned to death with a hammer. Prosecutors alleged he
killed the three so he could kidnap the younger children for sex.
Duncan, a native of Tacoma, Wash., was sentenced to life in prison without
parole for kidnapping the three older victims. But the state judge
deferred imposing punishment on the murder counts to give federal
prosecutors time to pursue their case, which is centered on events in
Montana after the children were abducted.
In the weeks after his arrest, Duncan met several times with Kootenai
County sheriff detectives and FBI agents. A motion filed Monday focuses on
incriminating statements Duncan made in a July 19 interview with FBI
agents seeking fingerprint evidence to use in other missing children
Defense attorneys contend statements made from that interview should be
tossed out because Duncan had previously invoked his right against
self-incrimination and expressed the desire to have his attorney present.
They are also seeking to strike statements Duncan made days after his
arrest to jail chaplain Robert Smalley, arguing those remarks are
protected under the clergy-penitent privilege.
"Given that Mr. Duncan was emotionally distraught and seeking to speak
confidentially with a chaplain, it was not reasonable for the jail to
furnish him with an individual ostensibly holding himself out as such a
figure, but who was not actually willing to extend the full scope of the
privilege," Duncan's lawyers wrote.
Similar defense motions were filed in Duncan's state case, and a judge
ruled the statements could be used in court. But a plea agreement was
reached before the case went to trial.
Federal prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty, but the defense
contends the death penalty should be dismissed because the government's
notice with the court was flawed and insufficient. They have also filed
briefs arguing that the federal death penalty is unconstitutional.
Depending on what happens in the federal case, Duncan could still face the
death penalty in state court.
Other briefs filed by the Monday deadline set by the judge call for:
-Dismissing the indictment because the rules used for convening the grand
jury are unconstitutional.
-Suppressing evidence, including computer files of child porn, because of
illegal searches of Duncan's vehicle and North Dakota apartment.
-Exclude testimony from 2 government forensic experts hired to study duct
tape, hairs and fibers collected from the Montana crime scene.
Prosecutors allege that Duncan, who spent most of his adult life in
prison, held the children captive at a remote campsite for weeks, sexually
abusing them and producing child pornography before killing the boy.
Duncan has also been charged in a California court in the 1997 slaying of
10-year-old Anthony Martinez. Prosecutors there have said they also intend
to seek the death penalty. In addition, Duncan is a suspect in 2 1996
killings in Washington state.
(source: Associated Press)
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