[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----TEXAS, ARIZ., ALA., GA., CALIF.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Oct 23 10:44:00 CDT 2007
Group hopes to raise death penalty awareness
The death penalty is reserved for criminals who have committed cruel,
inhumane crimes- acts that give their victims and their victims' loved
ones little room for compassion. But the members of Journey of Hope find
"No other group has power and authority to speak about forgiveness than
(the members of Journey of Hope). They have no reason to forgive, but they
do," Fernando Arroyo, chair of Waco Amnesty International, said.
Baylor National Association of Social Workers and Baylor Students for
Social Justice in association with Waco Amnesty International will join
Journey of Hope to speak about death penalty alternatives on campus
Thursday morning in Kayser Auditorium.
Step by Step, a documentary about Journey of Hope members will be shown
from 8:30 to 10 a.m., and Journey of Hope members will speak from 10:30
a.m. to noon. Each session will be followed by a question-and-answer
Family members of murder victims and the executed and exonerated lead
Journey of Hope. They conduct public education speaking tours to address
alternatives to the death penalty.
Amnesty International, an organization supporting different human rights
issues, is the umbrella organization for Journey of Hope. Their main
action for human rights is letter writing, but having an event on campus
is something Arroyo, said he has always wanted.
Arroyo said Amnesty International has received a lot of help from Baylor
students, especially in helping to promote 2 main campaigns - Journey of
Hope and genocide in Darfur and Sudan.
Last semester Amnesty International held 6 film sessions in Waco that many
Baylor students were involved in. This year, they hope more students will
be able to take something away from Journey of Hope since they will be
speaking on campus.
"We have the privilege of having the founders come," Arroyo said.
Executive Director Bill Pelke will speak to students and answer questions
on behalf of Journey of Hope.
"It's a platform for family members of victims to share their story, and,
in some cases, prove death row inmates' innocence," Arroyo said. "It puts
a human face on the death penalty."
Journey of Hope is not a Christian organization because it's mission is to
gather people of all belief systems who share in its mission.
"It's their faith that's helped them overcome hatred and revenge and it's
what has helped them overcome the bitterness creeping into their heart,"
Arroyo said. "They find healing and the miracle of forgiveness in their
hearts and want to pass is around in the lives of victims and their
McGregor senior Flor Avellanedo, president of Baylor's social work
association helped to organize the event. "It's a miraculous thing -- that
God gives people the power to forgive and speak on behalf of them," she
Members of Journey of Hope said they believe there's only an allusion of
closure when a murderer is executed.
Arroyo said family members end up destroying true reconciliation that
could take place after the murder of a family member.
"It's so sad to think how many innocent people we've sent to death row,"
he said "Even if it's one, it's too many."
Acknowledging that the death penalty is a controversial issue, Avellanedo
said, "We all have our opposing views of the death penalty, but it's
always good to be aware of other views so we can reflect and think twice
about what we think."
Andrea Brashier, Carrolton senior and association member, said she will
attend the event because she wants to support awareness of the justice
"I think we have a lot of room to grow in that area so I think this
program will open our eyes to thinking about other options, especially as
students of a Christian school," she said.
Arroyo hopes the event will start more dialogue about the issue and prompt
(source: The (Baylor Univ.) Lariat)
8 Mohave inmates still on death row; 2 nearing 20-year mark
The death penalty issue continues to rage in this country, especially with
an upcoming election.
The United States is the only democratic country in the world that has the
death penalty. Most of all executions carried out worldwide take place in
only four countries: China, Iran, Vietnam and the United States, according
to Amnesty International.
The U.S. Supreme Court turned down an appeal this week to stay the
execution of an Arizona inmate, Joe Clarence Smith, who has been on death
row for two murders for 30 years. The appeal claimed that it is cruel and
unusual punishment to be on death row for more than 30 years.
2 Mohave County inmates have been on death row for almost 20 years.
Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith, who supports the death penalty, said
the death penalty is limited as an efficient deterrent to murder. Some
criminals may realize before murdering someone what the ultimate penalty
would be but most do not.
"The pluses are that it is an eye for an eye," Smith said. "And you have
to consider the surviving victims."
The downside of the death penalty is the cost of the legal appeal process,
including court and attorney time. The appeal process used to take 7 to 8
years and now can take more than a dozen years, Smith said.
Death row is also an extremely horrific, isolated existence with a 23-hour
lockdown in a small cramped cell as compared to being housed with the
general population, Smith said.
District 2 Sup. Tom Sockwell previously said the death penalty should
apply only to pre-mediated murderers, if a kidnapping or rape victim is
murdered or if someone betrays their country.
There are 113 inmates currently sitting on Arizona's death row. Of those,
two are women, 12 are black, 14 are Latino, 4 are American Indians and 80
are Caucasian, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections.
86 men and 1 woman have been executed in Arizona since 1910. The last,
Robert Comer, was executed in May. The method commonly used was lethal
injection. The last time lethal gas was used to execute a prisoner was in
1999. The death penalty was not used in Arizona from 1963 to 1992. 8
Mohave County inmates are currently on death row. The last inmate, Charles
David Ellison, was sentenced to death in 2004.
Prosecutors are currently seeking the death penalty against Ari Benjamin
Feinner, 44, of Bullhead City. Feinner faces 2 counts of 1st-degree murder
for allegedly stabbing his wife and her wheelchair-bound mother in April
at their Bullhead City home.
Among those on death row:
- Danny L. Jones, 43, was sentenced to death in 1993 for the murder of a
Bullhead City man, his grandmother and his 7-year-old daughter in March
- Frank Anderson, 59, is on death row for the murder of the Golden Valley
family in August 1996. Bobby A. Poyson, 31, is also on death row for the
murder of the same Golden Valley family.
- Ellison, 42, of Lake Havasu City is on death row convicted of 1st-degree
murder and 1st-degree burglary in the 1999 killings of an elderly Kingman
- Daniel Wayne Cook, 46, was sentenced to death in 1988 for beating,
torturing and killing 2 men in Lake Havasu City in July 1987.
- Graham Saunders Henry, 61, was also sentenced to death in 1988 for
kidnapping and killing an elderly Las Vegas man in the desert about 40
miles north of Kingman in June 1986.
- Brothers, Roger W. Murray, 37, and Robert W. Murray, 42, also were
sentenced to death for the shotgun slaying of a Grasshopper Junction
couple in May 1991.
Others have seen their death sentence overturned, including:
- Clarence David Hill, 57, had been on death row until a Mohave County
Superior Court judge threw out Hill's conviction in 2005. Hill was
convicted in 1989 of 1st-degree murder in the burning death of his Mohave
Valley landlord. Hill pleaded guilty in October 2005 to 2nd-degree murder
and was sentenced to time already served in custody. He spent 16 years and
almost 4 months in prison. He died several weeks after his release from
- Michael Gene Blakley, 29, of Bullhead City was sentenced to death in
2000 for killing an 18-month-old girl in 1998. His sentence was overturned
on appeal and he was later sentenced to life in prison. - James E. DaVolt
II, 25, who as a 16-year-old murdered an elderly Lake Havasu City couple
in November 1998 and was also sentenced to death. His sentence was also
overturned because of his age and he received 2 life sentences.
(source: Mohave Valley News)
Alabama Schedules Execution Despite Controversy
Alabama Gov. Bob Riley on Monday rejected calls to postpone this week's
execution of convicted serial killer Daniel Lee Siebert despite his
terminal cancer and a national controversy over lethal injections.
Siebert's execution, scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m. CST (2300 GMT), will
be the first to go forward since the beginning of a "creeping moratorium"
that has halted executions in several U.S. states while the U.S. Supreme
Court decides whether lethal injections cause unacceptable pain.
"I would in essence be commuting his sentence to life in prison and that
is not the sentence he was given by a jury. His crimes were monstrous,
brutal and ghastly," Riley said in a statement dismissing calls to halt
the execution because of Siebert's cancer.
The governor added that Alabama had changed its lethal injection
procedures to make sure inmates were unconscious when the lethal drugs
were injected during executions and that the state would therefore move
forward with Siebert's sentence.
Siebert was convicted of the Feb. 19, 1986, murders of 2 students -- Linda
Jarman and Sherri Weathers -- at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and
Blind, plus Weathers' 2 young sons.
He was also convicted of murdering Linda Odum on March 8, 1986. Siebert
claims to have murdered several others in various U.S. states.
Executions in at least six U.S. states have been put on hold because of a
decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a challenge by 2 Kentucky
death-row inmates to the three-drug cocktail used in lethal injections.
The challenge says the method could cause excruciating and unnecessary
The only execution that went ahead despite the Supreme Court case was in
Texas on Sept. 25 and that was just hours after the court announced its
decision to look at the matter.
A Supreme Court decision on the Kentucky case is expected by the middle of
So far this year, 42 people have been executed in the United States,
according to the nongovernmental Death Penalty Information Center. Last
year, there were 53 executions.
All but 1 of the 38 U.S. states that carry out the death penalty use
lethal injection for executions, as does the federal government.
Lethal injection came under legal scrutiny after botched injections in
Florida and California in which it took inmates up to 30 minutes to die.
(source: Javno World)
GEORGIA----stay of impending execution
Georgia Supreme Court grants killer stay of execution
The Georgia Supreme Court granted a stay of execution Monday to a man
convicted of killing 2people in Spalding County in 1990.
Curtis Osborne had been set to die by lethal injection on Tuesday.
The court said it was granting an indefinite stay to Osborne because the
U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether lethal injection constitutes
cruel and unusual punishment.
The state Supreme Court issued a stay last week to convicted killer Jack
Alderman for the same reason.
The stay for Osborne renders moot a clemency hearing he had scheduled for
Tuesday before the state Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Osborne was convicted of killing Arthur Jones and Linda Lisa Seaborne, who
were found in an automobile by the side of a dirt road. Both had been
After investigation, Osborne was arrested, and eventually admitted opening
fire in the car, claiming that Jones had reached toward the floor for a
weapon, court records say.
However, the crime scene evidence suggested otherwise, court records say,
adding that ballistics and fingerprint evidence was used to convict
In Alderman's case, he was convicted of killing his wife in 1974 in
No one has been executed in Georgia since June, when a man convicted of
killing his wife and 2 stepdaughters 20 years ago was given a lethal
Several states have recently halted or delayed executions because of
questions over the constitutionality of lethal injection procedures.
(source: Associated Press)
Top Court in Georgia Again Delays an Execution
For the 2nd time in 4 days, the Georgia Supreme Court on Monday ordered a
stay of execution for a condemned prisoner, citing the United States
Supreme Courts decision to review the constitutionality of lethal
injection as a method of execution.
The prisoner, Curtis Osborne, who was sentenced to death for killing 2
people in 1991, had been scheduled to die on Oct. 23 by lethal injection.
His execution will probably be delayed until the Supreme Court issues its
ruling on lethal injection, expected next spring.
Mr. Osbornes stay made it clear that Georgia has joined 16 other states
that have effectively stopped lethal injections as they await a decision
in Baze v. Rees, the case before the Supreme Court that challenges the
deadly drug cocktail given to condemned inmates as a violation of the
constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
On Thursday, the Georgia court reversed an earlier decision and postponed
the lethal injection of Jack E. Alderman, who had been scheduled to die on
Arkansas, Ohio and Nevada also postponed executions last week.
Alabama, however, plans to execute a prisoner on Thursday, unless the
Supreme Court issues a stay. The Associated Press reported that the
prisoner, Daniel Lee Siebert, a confessed serial killer, is to be executed
by a new method that is supposed to make sure inmates are unconscious when
they receive a lethal drug. State officials have declined to provide
details of the method.
Opponents of the death penalty in Alabama have criticized Gov. Bob Riley
for proceeding with the execution of Mr. Siebert, who is months away from
dying of pancreatic cancer. Mr. Riley said in a statement that the jury
had sentenced the prisoner to be executed, not to live in prison until he
died of cancer. A stay by the Supreme Court could mean Mr. Siebert would
never be executed.
(source: New York Times)
Getting Away With Murder
Here is a particularly woeful crime statistic from the Federal Bureau of
Investigation: nationwide, nearly 40 % of all homicides go unsolved each
year. In California, the percentage of unsolved homicides is even higher,
but a groundbreaking measure signed into law earlier this month by the
states Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, offers a realistic hope
for bringing more murderers, gang members and other armed criminals to
Under the new measure the Crime Gun Identification Act manufacturers of
semiautomatic weapons will have to equip new guns sold in California
starting in 2010 with inexpensive technology known as microstamping. This
process involves using lasers to create microscopic markings that record
the make, model and serial number of a semiautomatic handgun onto its
firing pin and other internal surfaces. These markings automatically
transfer onto the bullet shell casing when a gun is fired, providing a
valuable lead for police investigators when, as commonly happens, casings
from the shooters weapon are found at a crime scene.
The new law, like any other single attempt to get Americas handgun crisis
under control, is not a panacea. It will not help solve violent crimes
committed with old weapons or with revolvers of any vintage. Gun casings
are not always found at a crime scene, of course.
But a huge number of gun crimes are committed with the sort of
semiautomatic handguns the law covers. Each new tool like this that is
handed to law enforcement increases the chances of solving crimes; each
tool denied them, like access to gun-sale records in other states, reduces
those chances. This laws value to law enforcement should grow over time as
older guns are replaced by new ones equipped with microstamping.
Meanwhile, it represents no inconvenience at all to law-abiding gun
owners, and only a minor increase in the price of a weapon.
In signing the bill, Mr. Schwarzenegger stood up to united opposition from
Republican state legislators and intense lobbying from the National Rifle
Association to protect public safety. California has set a laudable
example for other states, and for Congress. 2 Democrats, Representative
Xavier Becerra of California and Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts,
are presently preparing federal legislation to make microstamping a
nationwide requirement, much as it should be.
(source: New York Times)
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