[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----OHIO, USA, GA., N.Y.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Sep 17 10:05:30 CDT 2007
Richey backers fight to change retrial venue
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to free death row Scot Kenny Richey have started a
petition to change the venue of his retrial.
Richey, 43, is expected to be moved off death row by the end of the week
as he prepares to return to court, after Putnam County Prosecutor Gary
Lammers agreed to a retrial.
Ohio Judge Randall Basinger, who tried the original case as a prosecutor,
has already asked that a different judge be appointed to Richey's retrial
because of his previous involvement.
Despite this, campaigners feel that Richey will not receive a fair trial
in Ohio, due to the strength of feeling surrounding the case, and have now
started an online petition to have the venue changed.
Richey, who was born and brought up in Edinburgh, has been on death row
since 1987, when he was convicted of aggravated murder over the death of
2-year-old Cynthia Collins in an apartment fire in 1986.
He has always maintained his innocence. Last month the US Sixth Circuit
Court of Appeals overturned his conviction based on inadequate
representation by attorneys at his 1987 trial. A date has yet to be set
for the retrial.
(source: The Scotsman)
Death sentence should come with limits
As the prosecutor in the murder trial of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford
described her last moments of life -- repeatedly raped and buried alive as
she futilely tried to claw her way through the dirt being thrown over her
living body until there was no more oxygen to sustain her, I felt sick and
angry at the same time. Can anyone anywhere deny that this murderous
animal should die for this crime. It is the only just punishment.
In almost every circumstance however, the punishment, if ever
administered, comes after decades of appeals and judicial wrangling. I
want these animals to be put to death within 90 days of their guilty
I know, the liberals are jumping up and down crying to themselves that
"many people have been found guilty of murder only to be proven innocent
at a later date." This seems to nullify any and all swift justice. That is
understandable. No one wants to see an innocent person put to death.
Therefore, I will offer my solution to that problem.
I propose that when 3 of the following conditions are met, the appeal
process will be denied and the perpetrator will be put to death within
that 90 day period.
DNA evidence linking the criminal to the crime
Video linking the criminal to the crime.
Of course this would apply to only a fraction of the criminals, but I
assure you, this would send shock waves through the human gutter, and
would be the most effective deterrent there could be. And, for a change,
the victim's family could experience closure, which many now do not live
long enough to see.
John Rhodes Sr.
(source: Opinion, The Mississippi Press)
Eyewitnesses get closer look in death-penalty cases
State lawmakers concerned about people wrongly sent to prison because of
inaccurate witness testimonies plan to examine the issue in depth with
defense attorneys, law enforcement agencies and researchers.
The 1st of 5 study committees about eyewitness identification is scheduled
for this morning at the Capitol.
All 6 Georgia men, including two from Savannah, who have been exonerated
after DNA evidence proved their innocence have been invited to attend and
speak to legislators.
"Every single one of those original convictions was based on faulty
identifications," said Rep. Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, D-Atlanta, who is
chairing the committee.
Douglas Echols and Samuel Scott were convicted in Chatham County in 1987
for kidnapping and raping a woman, who identified each man. Both were
released in 2001 when DNA evidence cleared them.
The pending death-penalty appeal for Savannah's Troy Anthony Davis, a
convicted cop killer, also is expected to be discussed as part of the
meetings. Because there was no physical evidence found in his case, his
trial depended largely on witness statements.
Because 6 of the 9 witnesses who testified against him have since
recanted, lawyers for Davis are trying for a new trial.
Benfield, a former public defender, has been researching eyewitness
identification and successfully pushed bills for the state to compensate
some of the wrongly accused men.
She introduced legislation this year to tighten requirements for using
witnesses to identify suspects, but it stalled out over several concerns
about expenses for police departments and the increased difficulty
prosecutors would have using witnesses at trials.
There also is dispute over some of the studies' results and how effective
changing witness questioning procedures will be.
"What I'd like to see come out of this study committee is a pilot project
in Georgia where we could select three law enforcement agencies of varying
sizes and test procedures for a year," Benfield said.
Supporters of witness identification reform point to techniques being
tried in other cities or recommended in research studies.
One example is a double-blind procedure in which neither the witness nor
the officer conducting a lineup knows who the suspect is so that the
officer does not unintentionally give out hints to the witness.
Another is requiring "confidence statements" from witnesses after they
single out lineup suspects so they can record how certain they are before
their memories gel over time.
Of the more than 200 convictions nationwide overturned eventually through
DNA evidence, incorrect eyewitness identification contributed to more than
75 % of the cases, according to the Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal
The group's Georgia branch has been canvassing the nearly 500 law
enforcement agencies in the state to survey them on their techniques for
identifying suspects through witnesses.
More than half have responded, and the results will be discussed as part
of the upcoming study committee meetings, said Lisa Georgia,
communications director for the Georgia Innocence Project.
"We really hope at the end of these hearings, we have an active
conversation going that includes the Legislature, law enforcement and
prosecutors and can reach a consensus on the need for eyewitness
identification reform," she said.
(source: Savannah Morning News)
Death Penalty for Accused Killer?
In Elmira, 31-year old Steven Colegrove will be arraigned in Bradford
County Court Monday. That's when the district attorney is expected to
announce if he will pursue the death penalty.
Steven is accused of killing his parents, Joseph and Marlene and brother
Michael in their Tuscarora Township home in August.
State Police say all 3 were found shot to death.
But at his preliminary hearing last month, Steven's lawyer told WETM 18
News, her client is innocent and will plead not guilty.
(source: WETM TV News)
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