[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----TEXAS, CONN., USA, ARK., CALIF., KY.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Sep 4 14:06:05 CDT 2007
Not 'innocent,' but . . .
Gov. Rick Perry did the right thing last week when he spared the life of
Kenneth Foster, sentenced to die for his ill-defined role in a 1996
Foster was driving a car when the passenger engaged in a street
altercation that resulted in the shooting. Whether he shared the guilt or
was a victim of circumstances was rendered moot by the specious principle
called the "law of parties," in which someone loosely associated with a
murder is equally to blame.
The injustice was compounded because he was tried alongside the shooter.
Perry rightfully has called the law of parties unjust. He should follow up
his commutation and urge the next session of the Texas Legislature to
The death penalty is for killers, not bystanders.
(source: Editorial, Waco Tribune-Herald)
Rell names task force to review sentencing and parole system
A retired judge, a victim's advocate and a retired prosecutor will head a
review of sentencing and parole that Gov. M. Jodi Rell ordered after a
home invasion and triple homicide in Cheshire.
Rell appointed a 20-member commission to review all procedures and
practices for charging, sentencing and releasing convicted criminals in
Connecticut. The commission will examine how police charge individuals,
how courts sentence convicted defendants, and how the criminal justice
system releases convicted criminals into the community. It will then
recommend changes and improvements to the governor.
The gubernatorial commission will be chaired by Thomas West, a retired
state Appellate Court judge, Lisa Holden, executive director of the
Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Mary Galvin, a
retired state's attorney.
2 appointees, Judge Barbara M. Quinn, deputy chief court administrator for
the state Judicial Department, and Thomas Kirk, the commissioner of the
Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, live in
Cheshire. Rell announced the commission's formation shortly after a
Cheshire mother and her 2 daughters were raped and murdered. 2 paroled
burglars are accused of murder and a slew of other charges in the July 23
homicides. Both face the death penalty.
In announcing the appointments, Rell said the facts of the Cheshire case
should be used as a touchstone for the commission's examination.
(source: The Waterbury Republican-American)
Doctors and medical ethicist discuss whether doctors should participate in
Should doctors be involved in the state-ordered administration of capital
punishment? In the September issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 3
anesthesiologists and a medical ethicist take an in-depth look at this
question in a commentary and 2 editorials.
None of these articles debate whether capital punishment is justifiable.
Instead, the authors explore the current position of the American Medical
Association (AMA), which prohibits physician participation in legally
authorized executions. Here are a few highlights of the arguments
presented in these articles.
In a commentary column, David Waisel, M.D., an anesthesiologist practicing
at Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, asserts that it is
time to reassess the AMA's position on this issue and allow doctors to
participate in state-mandated executions to help provide the condemned a
more humane path to death. Dr. Waisel cites numerous details about the
technical problems associated with lethal injection, the form of capital
punishment most commonly used in the United States today. Dr. Waisel
reasons that doctors, particularly anesthesiologists, possess the skills
to administer the medications used in lethal injections in a manner that
prevents undue suffering.
"If state administration of capital punishment is legal and ongoing,
humane methods of execution should be sought and applied. It is honorable
for physicians to minimize the harm to these condemned individuals and
organized medicine has an obligation to permit physician participation in
legal execution," he writes.
2 editorials that follow Dr. Waisel's commentary arrive at the opposite
conclusion. In one editorial, William Lanier, M.D., editor in chief, Mayo
Clinic Proceedings, and Keith Berge, M.D., who are anesthesiologists at
Mayo Clinic applaud Dr. Waisel for "bringing forward this emotional issue
so that it can be pondered and discussed by a broad audience." But the
authors oppose doctors' participation in capital punishment, arguing that
the Hippocratic corpus that guides doctors prohibits medical professionals
from assisting in executions.
"In the case of capital punishment, we believe that whatever theoretical
good might emerge from a successful and well-executed judicial killing,
there is certainly harm in causing the death of a person under a
physician's care," says Drs. Lanier and Berge.
Drs. Lanier and Berge propose replacing the anesthesia-related drugs
currently used in lethal injections with personnel and tools that are
"clearly distinguished from representing medical care."
In a 2nd editorial, Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., a medical ethicist at the
University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, also argues against the
participation of doctors in execution. Dr. Caplan asserts that a doctor
does not have a duty to alleviate the suffering of a condemned person
unless that prisoner has a previous medical relationship with that doctor.
"It seems a bit late for physicians to step forward in the context of an
execution and say they are motivated by a duty of mercy given that many
prisoners suffer miserably because of the poor state of prison-based
medicine," says Dr. Caplan.
Dr. Caplan also suggests that involving doctors in capital punishment may
affect the overall moral standing accorded the practice of execution
because "physician prestige and the respect afforded medicine are in part
transferred to executions when physicians are involved."
Dr. Caplan asserts that physicians are not needed to serve as executioners
using lethal injection because "... governments and societies committed to
execution using this technique can achieve this goal by properly training
The commentary and editorials on this topic are available online at
A peer-review journal, Mayo Clinic Proceedings publishes original
articles, reviews and editorials dealing with clinical and laboratory
medicine, clinical research, basic science research and clinical
epidemiology. Mayo Clinic Proceedings is published monthly by Mayo
Foundation for Medical Education and Research as part of its commitment to
the medical education of physicians. The journal has been published for
more than 80 years and has a circulation of 130,000 nationally and
internationally. Articles are available online at
To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to
Mental illness to be explored at hearing ---- Prosecutor to ask death
sentence be carried out
A death row inmate from White County will have a hearing Friday on his
application for executive clemency.
Jack Jones Jr., was convicted in 1996, of the brutal murder and rape of
Mary Phillips, 34, and trying to kill her 11-year-old daughter, Lacy
Phillips. Now 42, Jones was sentenced to death by lethal injection, and in
2005 pleaded guilty to the 1991 murder of Lorraine Anne Barrett, 32, in
Gov. Mike Beebe has set an Oct. 16 execution date for Jones.
The hearing will take place in the Varner Supermax Unit and will begin at
9 a.m. Jones will appear before a panel of the Arkansas Post Prison
A protesters hearing will be held at 1:30 p.m. the same day at the office
of the Arkansas Parole Board, Two Union National Plaza, 5th floor, 105
West Capitol Avenue in Little Rock.
"The Post Prison Transfer Board will make a non-binding recommendation to
the governor," Prosecuting Attorney Chris Raff said.
Raff has said he plans to appear at the hearings and ask that the death
sentence be carried out.
In Jones' application for executive clemency, he claimed significant
mitigating circumstances concerning his background and mental illness were
not presented at his trial.
David Freedman, a mitigation investigator for the Capital Resource
Counsel, filed an affidavit in 2005 that described his findings in the
case. Defense presentation at Jones' trial was minimal, Freedman claimed,
including the failure of the defense attorneys to fully investigate Jones'
The jury took only 30 minutes to return a guilty verdict and the defense
case included only a single witness, a professor of pharmacology who only
testified about the effect on the brain of methamphetamine abuse and gave
no information about Jones' udrug use just before the murder, Freedman
The defense should have shown strong evidence of a major mental illness
with genetic components, according to the affidavit.
A defense witness at Jones' trial was a physician whose license had been
surrendered due to alcohol and drug abuse and who left Jones' medical
chart in his car the morning he testified, Freedman said.
Freedman's investigation revealed that Jones had attempted suicide on two
occasions and that Jones has an anti-social personality and bi-polar
disorder, the affidavit claimed. Six months before the murder Jones spent
6 days in a mental hospital, Freedman wrote, and had been involuntarily
admitted to a psychiatric facility in 1991.
On his 1st birthday, Freedman claims, Jones suffered a high fever and
convulsions, and was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. Given
Ritalin at about the age of 5, Jones began to hallucinate, probably caused
by the Ritalin, Freedman said.
Jones began to use illicit drugs at an early age, including marijuana, the
Jones' mother had "a serious gambling problem," Freedman said, and his
father "is described as an alcoholic."
The 17th Judicial District, for which Raff is prosecuting attorney,
consists of White County and Prairie County but at one time included
Lonoke County. Raff has prosecuted 3 death penalty cases: Barry Lee
Fairchild in Lonoke County, Edward Charles Pickens in Prairie County and
Johnny Michael Cox in White County, all of whom have been executed. The
1990 conviction of Cox, who killed 3 people in Kensett, was the 1st death
penalty case in White County in 55 years.
(source: The Daily Citizen)
The Continuing Saga of Steve Champion and Anthony Ross in the Wake of
Tookie Williams' Execution----Buried Alive on San Quentin's Death Row
When death row inmates are subjected to degrading and grossly unjust
treatment, the rest of us ought to pay close attention, whether we
subscribe to Mathew:40 or not: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of
the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Prisons
officials are public officials, acting on our behalf, presumably for our
benefit. If through our inattention or neglect we license prison officials
to mistreat prisoners-some of the most helpless, abject souls among us-we
license public officials to treat the public at large with contempt.
In its broad outline, Steve and Anthony's story, which I first began to
tell in January 2006 (see "Why are They Rounding Up Tookie Williams'
Friends?"), is straightforward. A few days prior to William's execution on
December 13, 2005, they along with several other inmates were rounded up
and detained in the Adjustment Center, San Quentin death row's "hole," on
charges they had conspired to retaliate against prison officials for their
friend's execution. For the past twenty months, they have been held there
in stark cells on property control and with no phone privileges. From day
one, both men have vehemently denied involvement in any kind of
conspiracy. Indeed, judging by their many and varied writings, both have
long-since transcended their violent gang pasts, explicitly repudiating,
as did their friend Tookie Williams, the sorts of values, beliefs, and
behaviors that fuel gangs and destroy communities. Both men, however, are
award-winning prison writers and outspoken critics of San Quentin and the
prison industrial complex in general. And therein lies the rub.
As I reprise their never-ending story, over a year and a half in now, the
question of credibility looms large. Why should I, much less anyone else,
believe two condemned men, 2 people who have nothing to lose by lying,
and, perhaps, something to gain in the form of winning the sympathies of
supporters and drawing the attention of prison critics.
But the same kind of logic can be used to establish the credibility of our
informants. Unlike many of us living "free," they have nothing to
lose-jobs or social standing-by telling the bald truth. In a recent letter
to me, Anthony Ross notes: "We have nothing to hide, which is more than I
can say about them."
As with any institution, the more corrupt a prison, the greater its stake
in polishing its image, preserving it legitimacy, and squelching stories
that subvert the official one it tells the public about itself. And
near-absolute power, of the kind prison officials hold over death row
inmates, can too easily, through all manner of manipulation, cripple the
people who would tell subversive stories. If you think corporate whistler
blowers take risks, imagine blowing the whistle from inside a death row
In becoming well-read, self-reflective thinkers and accomplished writers
while in the hell of death row, these 1 men, like Tookie Williams himself,
have symbolically defeated the system designed to dehumanize and,
ultimately, to destroy them. Through their essays, stories, and poems,
they have vehemently insisted on their humanity and steadfastly maintained
their dignity. Such self-redemptive effort undermines the familiar and
necessary assumption that men sentenced to death have, by their own
conduct, forfeited their humanity-have become, as is often suggested,
"animals." And we can kill animals, so the magical thinking goes, without
becoming animals ourselves. If we can kill them with impunity, all the
more reason we can mistreat them in the meantime. Who will care? Who will
defend them? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals?
The human voices of Ross and Champion put the whole inhumane, barbaric
American killing apparatus on trial, and such a reversal cannot stand.
The darkly ironic truth revealed by Steve and Anthony's interminable
ordeal is that San Quentin officials themselves are the ones conspiring to
retaliate-against the late Tookie Williams and his friends! For what? For
liberating themselves and for expressing their humanity in writing-while
still in confinement on America's morally bankrupt death row.
Of course, the ins and outs of the tale are complicated, involving false
charges, time-devouring grievance procedures, published articles, various
letters and documents, and lots of bone crushing time in the hole for
Anthony and Steve. The opaque complexity of disciplinary procedures and
appeals in prison is itself very often strategic, yet another way to
punish inmates and confound transparency and accountability. Who on the
outside can possibly stay abreast of internal prison proceedings? Who can
possibly bear witness?
On occasion, however, moments of clarity present themselves, and Anthony
Ross has seized upon one of these as the occasion for the following
article, which I quote below in its entirety. I received this article and
a copy of the document Ross refers to (Form # CDC-128-B (4-74)) on August
28, 2007. Although I cannot reproduce the California Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) document here, I can attest to its
prima facie authenticity and official form and format.
Writing Under Fire: Resisting the Regime by Anthony Ross
"Neither hegemony nor power can determine truth."
-Prof. Molefi Kete Asante
In May 2007, my brother Steve Champion and I co-authored an articled
entitled "The Paradigm of Abuse: San Quentin's Adjustment Center
Revisited," which was published in The San Francisco Bay View newspaper.
In this article, we mention George Jackson to illustrate the stark
similarities between the hostile environment of the Adjustment Center (AC)
in 1971 and the hostile environment of the AC in 2007. This comparison was
based on factual events and personal experience and is demonstrative of
both eras. Now we have received a CDCR 128 Report that targets us for
investigation into gang activity. According to the report, the basis for
this is our use of the word "comrade" in relation to George Jackson.
According to Agent T. De La Rosa, this constitutes gang sympathy or
association, and anyone who uses the term "comrade" (a name descriptive of
George Jackson) must be, ipso facto, a gang member.
This notion of a priori culpability, whereby one's very philosophy, ideas,
or character renders them criminal, suggests an insidious and racist
mindset within the CDCR. Yet such flights of myopic thinking are common
features of a system wherein humanity and justice have been supplanted by
degrading abuse and repressive prison policies [see the Bay View article
I am reminded of the weeks and days leading up to the execution of our
brother Stanley Tookie Williams. San Quentin Spokesman Vernell Crittenden
went on a virulent smear campaign to paint Tookie as an active gang
member, offering no proof and despite the fact that Tookie had been
cleared of any gang association by the former Warden, Jennie S. Woodford.
Then, of course, in his statement justifying his denial of clemency,
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger argued that since Tookie had mentioned
Malcolm X, Assata Shukur, George Jackson, and Geronimo Pratt in his book
on prison life, Life in Prison, he could not have redeemed himself.
This pattern of criminalizing and vilifying black leaders and personages
is an old one. And some San Quentin officials are taking this practice a
step farther by making the mere mention of a name a gang offense. This
bizarre leap of flawed logic provides them with an erroneous catalyst for
action against us. It sets in motion a malicious process that can disrupt
our mail, personal property, visits, and trust account-indefinitely!
There is a real and present danger here. This intentional misreading of
language makes it possible to write up any prisoner who elects to use
certain appellations in his writings, such as comrade, chairman, minister,
brother, homeboy, etc.
The retaliatory targeting of prison writers has a clear objective: to
intimidate and discourage those voices willing to expose violations of
basic human rights and degrading conditions in prison. If successful, this
strategy becomes an unwritten policy for censorship and will eventually
leave only one version, one interpretation, of life in the CDCR-that of
It is worth noting that our Bay View article consisted of over 1,300
words, yet only 3-"comrade George Jackson"-were plucked from their context
and reinterpreted as something criminal or, worse, seditious. Agent T. De
La Rosa's semantic alchemy defies the criteria for gang activity as
defined in the CDCR rules and regulations, as well as the standard set
forth in the 1994 case Castillo v. Alameida, Jr. [No. 94-2974], which
establish specific guidelines for gang identification. The use of the word
"comrade" is not included in either of these sources.
It is a relatively easy matter to persecute us. There is no real redress
here. The inmate appeal process is controlled by the very people who
violate policy and abuse prisoners. Now, the intent is to silence truth.
P.S. During a unit search on July 11, 2007, all of my writing paper was
confiscated and all of Steve Champion's reference books were taken. We
were never given a reason for this. We believe it was a blatant attempt to
disrupt the writing projects we are currently working on. Since December
2005, we have been isolated in the Adjustment Center on the bogus
allegation of conspiracy to assault staff in the wake of Stanley Tookie
Williams' execution. We are in an on-going legal battle to fight this
false charge and regain our dignity and the very modest "privileges"
afforded to death row prisoners. To these ends, we are seeking legal
assistance and/or monetary donations [see contact information at the end
of this article].
When we consider how hard it is to confront the deceptions and lies of
this country's leaders, including Bush, Cheney, Libby, Gonzales and
others, we can only imagine the daunting challenge faced by death row
prisoners confronting deceptions and lies perpetrated by their keepers.
There are no meaningful checks and balances. And with the exception of
some mainstream, highly sensationalized and largely pro-prison, media
depictions of life inside our prison industrial complex, the system, as a
whole and in its parts, remains a closed book-a black hole in a putatively
As their editor and long-time correspondent, I am convinced that Steve
Champion and Anthony Ross, with no help from San Quentin, have in their
twenty-five years on death row made themselves over. They have evolved
from young, admittedly violent gang members into mature, thoughtful men
who have reflected long and hard on their past lives and on their present
circumstances as black men on death row in America. Although they might,
like most of us, defend themselves if attacked, both have become strong
advocates of non-violent remedies to personal and political problems. They
have become writers who can tell the stories of their transformation and
defend themselves against degrading treatment and excessively punitive
prison policies, and for this they have been buried alive on death row.
You can write either man to express your concern or offer support at these
Anthony Ross, C-58000, San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin, CA 94964
Steve Champion, C-58001, San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin, CA 94964
(source: CounterPunch----Tom Kerr is Associate Professor of Writing and
Rhetoric and Ithaca College)
Prosecutors oppose release of a former motorcycle gang member serving time
for a double murder
Marin County prosecutors are opposing the release of a former motorcycle
gang member serving time for a double murder nearly 40 years ago.
Johnny Lee Sommerhalder is serving a life term for the murders of Curtis
and Shirley Ackley in their trailer home in San Rafael in 1968.
Sommerhalder and a 2nd man convicted in the murders were sentenced to
death for the murders, but their sentences were commuted to life in prison
in 1972 when the Supreme Court struck down the death penalty.
After his prosecution in Marin County, Sommerhalder later pleaded guilty
in a different case involving the 1967 murder of a 19-year-old Sonoma
State College student.
He was sentenced to life sentence in that case.
Sommerhalder is scheduled to appear before a parole board on September
20th in Vacaville.
Marin County Deputy District Attorney Dorothy Proudfoot says she'll attend
the hearing to argue that Sommerhalder should never be released from
(source: Associated Press)
Walk to Stop Executions
Death penalty opponents from Death Penalty Focus, California People of
Faith Working Against the Death Penalty, and Amnesty International USA
will embark on a 800 mile Walk to Stop Executions on September 15, 2007.
The purpose of the walk is to draw attention to the issue of the death
penalty, unite local activists, and to encourage the district attorney in
every county along the walk route not to seek the death penalty in any
The kickoff rally will be 9:00 am Sat. Sept 15th. There will be speeches
by the 2 main walkers and local activist leaders, we'll sell t-shirts, do
media interviews, etc., so we hope for a good crowd for TV. The march
itself will begin at 10:00 sharp. We encourage supporters to walk 1 mile,
5 miles, or whatever. the first day will end at Miramar Rd. and Kearney
After that we will continue with stops at the 15 county courthouses along
the way (with a detour to San Quentin) and ending at Sacramento on Nov.
at each main stop we will have a rally, meet with the local DAs, talk in
schools, colleges and churches, etc.
No more death sentences!
Did you know California has the highest rate of death sentencing in the
While annual death sentences have dramatically decreased each year since
1999, when there were 42, the number is still alarmingly high. Last year
16 death verdicts were returned and so far 7 have been handed down in
As a result, 666 men and women now sit on California's death row.
It is time for us to say to our elected District Attorneys, "No more death
sentences!" We have seen over and over that the pursuit and imposition of
the death penalty only perpetuates the suffering of survivors, focuses all
of the attention and resources on the accused instead of the victims, and
costs the taxpayers far more than a sentence of life without parole.
Please take 30 seconds to send a letter to you District Attorney today!
Posted by Death Penalty Focus
End Wrongful Convictions in California
Anyone pledging at least 3 cents per mile ($24) by September 15th will
receive a Walk t-shirt. Only a limted number will be available.
Details about supporting the walk
We are very excited to tell you about the 2007 Walk to Stop Executions,
which starts on September 15th. The Walk will begin at the San Diego
County Court House and will cover more than 800 miles, ending at the State
Capitol in Sacramento on November 30th. The Walk will stop in 15 counties
to encourage the district attorneys in each location not to seek the death
penalty in any case. The walk will also unite local activists and draw
attention to the issue of the death penalty along the way.
We have set a fundraising goal of $6000 for the Walk to Stop Executions.
Funds raised will be used by Death Penalty Focus and California People of
Faith Working Against the Death Penalty, to continue our work to educate
the public about the inherent flaws in the death penalty.
Please consider supporting the 2007 Walk to Stop Executions by pledging
$.03 to $.75 for each mile the walkers complete.
Individuals donating $24 (3 cents per mile) or more by September 15th will
receive a 2007 Walk to Stop Executions t-shirt.
A gift of any size is appreciated. Every dollar will help bring us closer
to our fundraising goal of $6000.
Meet a walker: Emily Hammargren
Emily Hammargren grew up in beautiful Bloomington, Indiana. After
graduating with a degree in Communications from Webster University in St.
Louis, Missouri, she created exhibits for the Alaska SeaLife Center in
Seward, Alaska. Emily moved to Seattle, Washington in 2000 where she
worked as a Broadcast News Assignment Editor. Three years later, she moved
to Los Angeles, California and worked as an Assistant Editor and Editor
for various television productions. Emily started anti-death penalty work
as a volunteer with Amnesty International during high school and college.
She worked as the Office Manager for the Washington Coalition to Abolish
the Death Penalty during her time in Seattle. Currently, Emily is the
Southern California Coordinator for California People of Faith Working
Against the Death Penalty and Assistant with the Chowchilla Family
Express, a free transportation service for family and friends of women
serving time at the prisons in Chowchilla, CA. Emily and her husband,
John, share their apartment with Shooter the kitty.
Emily will be walking to stop executions.
Meet a walker: Jeff Ghelardi
Jeff Ghelardi was born in London, England in 1937. He immigrated to the
United States in 1946. He was raised in San Francisco and then moved to
San Diego for his senior year of high school. He earned a B.A. in
sociology from San Diego State University in 1964. He was active with the
U.S. Marines Corp from '57 thru '59. Jeff did a two year stint with the
peace corps in Bolivia with his wife, Suzanne. He has managed a
residential rental business since 1972.
Jeff and his wife Suzanne have been death penalty abolitionists since
1959, the year they were married. He continues to be active with the San
Diego Chapter of Death Penalty Focus, California People of Faith, the
Ocean Beach Amnesty International Chapter, and many other civil rights and
social justice groups.
Jeff participated in the 1st California walk aimed at educating the public
about the death penalty, which occurred in the year 2000.
The Walk to Stop Executions will cover more than 800 miles and will
include stops in at least 15 cities. You can participate in this exciting
1) Joining the walkers for a 5 mile segment during the course of the walk.
(Information on how to meet up with the walkers will be available on this
site once the walk has begun.)
2) Attending one or more of the 15 scheduled rallies.
3) Becoming a "virtual walker." By financially sponsoring the walkers, you
can participate in this event from wherever you live. A pledge of 3, 10,
or 25 cents per mile will help us cover the costs for this event and will
help us continue our important work to end the death penalty.
For example, a donation of 3 cents per mile (x 800 miles) = a tax
deductible donation of $24.
Virtual walkers who pledge at least 3 cents a mile before September 1st
will also receive an event t-shirt that can be worn throughout the course
of the event.
Meet the walk organizer: Richard Carlburg
Richard Carlburg led the first walk against the death penalty in 2000. He
is a State Death Penalty Coordinator for Amnesty International USA in
California, the Vice Chair of California People of Faith Working Against
the Death Penalty, and an active member of Death Penalty Focus and the
L.A. Coalition Against the Death Penalty. He served in the U.S. Military
from June 1958 to June 1982 and retired with rank of Major. He was a
Project Manager with Northrop Gruman and retired in 1998. Richard will be
reporting regularly from the walk.
Posted by Death Penalty Focus
* ALL EVENTS START AT NOON UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED
* Sat., Sept. 15 - 9am - Walk begins at the San Diego Hall of Justice, 330
W. Broadway, San Diego
* Fri., Sept. 21 - Riverside County Court House
* Mon., Sept. 24 - San Bernardino County Court House at 351 N. Arrowhead
Ave., San Bernardino
* Thu. Sept. 27 - Orange County Court House
* Thu., Oct. 4 - Los Angeles County Criminal Court Building, W Temple St
and N Spring St.
* Thu., Oct. 11 - Ventura County Court House
* Fri., Oct. 19 - Santa Barbara County Court House
* Thu., Oct. 25 - San Luis Obispo County Court House
* Thu., Nov. 1 - Monterey Court House (Salinas)
* Wed., Nov. 7 - Santa Cruz County Court House
* Mon., Nov. 12 - Santa Clara County Court House (San Jose)
* Thu., Nov. 15 - Alameda County Court House
* Sun., Nov. 18 - 2pm - San Quentin State Prison
* Mon., Nov. 26 - Contra Costa County Court House (Martinez)
* Friday, Nov. 30 - Walk ends in Sacramento
(source: Death Penalty Docus)
The unlikelihood of death penalty
If convicted, it's pretty unlikely Man-ling Williams will die by lethal
Williams, 27, stands accused of stabbing her husband, Neal, 27, to death
with a sword and smothering her 2 small children with a pillow in their
Rowland Heights apartment Aug. 7.
The former Marie Callender's waitress is charged with the murders and the
special circumstances of lying in wait before killing her sons, Devon, 7,
and Ian, 3.
She has appeared in court twice since her arrest and has yet to enter a
plea. A defense attorney and homicide detective both said she confessed to
Even with the special circumstances allegation, statistics seem to
indicate there's little chance a death sentence in the case would ever be
handed down by a judge, much less considered by a jury.
In Los Angeles County this year the District Attorney's Office has filed
capital murder charges against 85 defendants - 7 of them (including
Williams) women, according to spokeswoman Jane Robison.
What happens when these cases get before a jury is a completely different
As of Jan. 1, of the 3,350 inmates on death rows in the U.S., just 59 were
women. 15 of those were from Californiia, according to statistics compiled
annually by the criminal justice project of the NAACP.
The disparity comes down to differences between the sexes, said Stefanie
Faucher, program director of the San Francisco- based Death Penalty Focus,
an anti-capital-punishment organization headed by actor Mike Farrell.
"Women tend to commit different crimes than men," she said. "They aren't
serial killers. They aren't typically killing people they don't know.
"A large number of women who end up committing horrible crimes are usually
committing crimes involving family members; husbands, acquaintances,"
"Frequently these are crimes of passion," she said. "Maybe there was abuse
involved. There's frequently a lot of drugs and alcohol. And women in
these situations usually aren't acting alone."
No matter the circumstances, handing down the death penalty is a tough
deal. In 1995, a jury found 3 Pasadena men guilty of killing 3 children on
Halloween night 1993. But it hung in the death penalty phase of the trial.
That, despite the fact that the killers sat through court laughing at the
prosecutors and threatening witnesses.
It was only after a retrial of the penalty phase that a 2nd jury opted to
recommend death for Herbert McClain, Lorenzo Newborn and Karl Holmes. In
what some would call poetic justice, the verdict came back on Halloween
In a solemn proceeding nearly 3 months later, Superior Court Judge J.D.
Smith sentenced the 3 men to die for killing Edgar Evans, 13, and Stephen
Coats Jr. and Reggie Crawford Jr., both 14.
Epithets and mocking laughter were shouted by the snarling defendants, who
were manacled and wearing shock belts and surrounded by armed deputies in
the downtown courtroom.
What a contrast that image is to the sight of Man-ling Williams in court
Big, tough, muscular, predatory gangbangers.
Little, sniffling, soft-voiced mom.
Both cases have one thing in common: 3 innocent victims.
(source: Whittier Daily News)
Death penalty sought in fatal shooting
Prosecutors this morning said they will seek the death penalty against 2
men charged with shooting a 2-year-old and killing her mother in their
home in May 2006.
James L. Quisenberry, 26, and Kenneth A. Williams, 22, are charged with
murder, attempted murder, robbery, tampering with physical evidence and
possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Both men pleaded not guilty in Jefferson Circuit Court today. They are
being held in Metro Corrections on $1 million cash bonds.
Earon Harper and her daughter, Erica Hughes, were shot in their home
around 3:30 p.m. May 18, 2006, at 1784 Wilson Ave.
Erica, now 4, was struck in the head, with the bullet exiting through her
cheek, damaging her teeth and leaving her blind in her right eye. She also
had gunshot wounds in her shoulder and leg.
"The whole city wants to see these guys pay for what they've done," said
Judith Harper, Earon Harper's mother and Erica's grandmother.
Since Earon Harper was killed in her home at 18th Street and Wilson
Avenue, Judith Harper and her husband, Harold Harper, have switched from
their roles as grandparents to fill in as parents.
(source: The Courier-Journal)
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