[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----OHIO, MD., CALIF.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Sep 15 11:12:55 CDT 2007
Parole board votes against offering death row inmate clemency
The Ohio Parole Board has unanimously voted against offering clemency to a
Cleveland death row inmate who joined a lawsuit challenging lethal
injection as unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment.
Romell Broom is accused of raping and stabbing to death a 14-year-old girl
in 1984. His execution is set for October 18th.
Broom is 1 of 15 Ohio inmates claiming the state's lethal injection
procedure may cause prisoners to suffer during an execution.
Broom wants his sentence commuted to life in prison, a decision that
ultimately rests with Governor Strickland. Strickland will likely follow
the Parole Board's recommendation.
(source: Associated Press)
'Dead Man Walking' author speaks Thursday
Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of
the Death Penalty in the United States, will speak about the death penalty
at 7 p.m. Thursday at St. Pius X Church, 6428 York Road, Towson.
A native of Louisiana, Sister Helen began her work against the death
penalty in 1982 when she began counseling death row prisoners. In addition
to Dead Man Walking, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and became
an Oscar-winning movie, she is the author of a second book: The Death of
Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions.
Kirk Bloodsworth, a Marylander who was the 1st death row inmate in the
nation cleared by DNA testing, will join her at the event. Christopher
Conover will also speak about living behind bars for 18 years before DNA
evidence resulted in his release in 2003.
The free event is sponsored by the Maryland Citizens Against State
Executions, a coalition of groups and individuals who want to end the
death penalty in Maryland. Information: 301-779-5230.
(source: Baltimore County Digest)
Hearing delay could extend ban on executions--Decision by a federal judge
means the court's ban on executions could stretch to two years. He plans
to visit the new death chamber.
A federal judge Friday postponed a major hearing on the state's new lethal
injection protocol, making it highly likely that a court-ordered
moratorium on executions in California will stretch to at least 2 years.
U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose pushed the hearing back from
Oct. 1 to Dec. 10 and 11. The judge also scheduled a formal visit Nov. 19
to a new death chamber under construction by the California Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Executions were halted in February 2006 in response to condemned inmate
Michael Morales' legal challenge to the state's lethal injection
procedures. Fogel last December ruled that the procedures violated the
constitutional bar against cruel and unusual punishment.
The state is trying to develop a new protocol, in part by building a death
chamber to replace the one at San Quentin State Prison, which Fogel found
was poorly lighted and designed as well as overcrowded.
Fogel's decision to postpone the October hearing came after a status
conference with lawyers from the attorney general's office and Morales,
who has been on death row for close to a quarter-century for the 1981
murder of Lodi teenager Terri Winchell.
California, like 3 dozen other states, uses a 3-drug cocktail for lethal
The 1st drug, sodium thiopental, is a fast-acting barbiturate that is
supposed to render the condemned inmate unconscious before the other drugs
-- pancuronium bromide, which paralyzes the body, and potassium chloride,
which causes cardiac arrest -- are administered.
The critical issue in the case, Fogel wrote in his December ruling, was
whether the procedure, as administered, "provides constitutionally
adequate assurance that condemned inmates will be unconscious when they
are injected" with the painful 2nd and 3rd drugs.
The judge said evidence developed in the case revealed that there were a
number of "critical deficiencies" in how the state administers the
procedure, including inconsistent and unreliable screening of execution
team members, a lack of meaningful training for the team and improper
mixing of the 1st drug.
In May, California corrections officials, after consulting with the
governor's office and the attorney general's office, issued a new lethal
injection protocol that they said "will result in the dignified end of
In July, however, Morales' attorneys asserted in a brief that the new
procedures are "even more ill-conceived and deficient than the older
The following month, Morales' attorneys requested that their challenge to
the new procedure be postponed until May to allow for pre-hearing
One of the attorneys, David Senior, explained that state officials, in
response to interrogatories, had indicated that the corrections department
had not picked a new lethal injection team or a team leader; had not
resumed work on a new execution chamber after it was halted amid
controversy; and "have refused to identify who is responsible for
constructing the chamber."
Senior said the two sides disagree about what material the state is
obligated to turn over to Morales' lawyers in advance of the hearing. He
said the attorney general's office had given the defense team a 157-page
list of items that it considered legally privileged.
Deputy Atty. Gen. Michael Quinn countered in a reply that the hearing
should not wait and that the state had turned over thousands of pages of
material. On Friday, Quinn reiterated those positions and said the
privilege claims had been pared to 104 pages.
Quinn also said it was his understanding that the new execution team would
be selected by Oct. 1 and would start training the following week.
"What would be at issue at the hearing" in December are the differences
between the new protocol and the old one and "whether the new one is
sufficient to address" the deficiencies identified in the court's decision
last December, Fogel said.
Also Friday, it was disclosed that a Superior Court judge in Marin County
has set a hearing Oct. 24 to hear a companion lawsuit alleging that state
officials violated the California Administrative Procedure Act when they
devised the execution protocol. In June, Fogel said he would not issue a
ruling on the legal challenge to the new execution protocol until the
Marin County suit is resolved.
The judge was concerned that if he ruled first, the state court could
"pull the rug out" by holding that corrections officials had violated
Fogel expressed the hope Friday that a ruling would be issued in the state
case before his hearings began Dec. 10.
(source: Los Angeles Times)
Riverside man convicted of murder in teen's shooting death
A Riverside man was convicted Friday in Riverside Superior Court of the
2004 murder of a 15-year-old Moreno Valley boy and attempting to murder
Marques Evans was at a house party March 26, 2004, in the 23800 block of
Mark Twain Street when about two-dozen uninvited teens attempted to crash
After the group failed to gain entrance, shots were fired. Evans was shot
in the back and died early the next day, Riverside County Superior Court
The Riverside County district attorney's office has said it would seek the
death penalty or life without the possibility of parole for Percy Andre
Bowen Jr. if he was convicted.
The jury found that Bowen committed the murder in furtherance of gang
activity, a special circumstance that makes Bowen eligible for the death
He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 2.
Bowen, who was 18 when he was charged in 2004, was also found guilty in
the attempted murder of another partygoer, a juvenile who's identity was
not released because of his age.
Evans, a freshman at Moreno Valley High School, played on the team's
junior varsity basketball team. He was described by his classmates and
teachers as funny and bright as well as well-liked and athletic.
The party was held to celebrate recent graduates of John W. North High
School in Riverside, who had come home for spring break, according to
Beryl Palmer, the woman who rented the house.
(source: The Press-Enterprise)
March opposes death penalty
Amnesty International and American Civil Liberties Union members and
others plan to start an 800-mile walk today from San Diego to Sacramento
to express their opposition to the death penalty.
The walk will start at the county Hall of Justice downtown at 9 a.m. with
a media briefing, a spokesman said. The walk will stop in 15 counties and
end at the state Capitol on Nov. 30. The group hopes to encourage district
attorneys not to seek the death penalty, a spokesman said.
(source: San Diego Union-Tribune)
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