[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----N.H., TENN., KAN., S.C.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Sep 20 17:54:49 CDT 2007
Judge rejects death penalty challenges in Manchester officer's fatal
A judge rejected the first of several motions filed by lawyers challenging
the death penalty on behalf of their client, who is charged with fatally
shooting a Manchester police officer.
Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Kathleen McGuire this week denied
the 1st of 15 motions to strike down the death penalty. The motions were
filed by lawyers for Michael Addison, who is charged with capital murder
in last October's shooting death of Officer Michael Briggs.
Addison's defense team argued New Hampshire's death penalty law violates
constitutional protections against cruel or unusual punishment.
Defense lawyer Richard Guerriero said they plan to appeal McGuire's ruling
to the state Supreme Court.
Addison's trial is scheduled to begin next September. He faces the death
penalty if convicted of capital murder.
(source: Associated Press)
Tennessee bans lethal injection
Concerns over lethal injections have halted many executions
A judge in Tennessee has ruled the state's method of executing prisoners
by lethal injection is illegal because it is a cruel and unusual
Federal judge Aleta Trauger said inmates were not properly anesthetised
before the injection was administered.
This presented a "substantial risk of unnecessary pain" to inmates and
violated their constitutional rights.
Tennessee is among 11 states in which executions have been postponed or
blocked over concerns about injections.
STATES WHERE EXECUTIONS HAVE BEEN BLOCKED OR POSTPONED
[source: Death Penalty Information Centre]
Judge Trauger was presiding over the case of Edward Jerome Harbison, due
to be executed next week for murdering a woman in 1983.
Tennessee reviewed its lethal injection procedures in April, but the judge
said by failing to safeguard prisoners against pain, the new protocol
could "result in a terrifying, excruciating death".
Harbison could be legally executed once the state adopted a valid method
of execution, she said.
The state attorney's office is said to be considering whether to appeal
against the ruling.
Lethal injection is the main method of judicial execution in the US.
Florida suspended all lethal injections following the botched execution of
Angel Nieves Dias.
An autopsy showed the death row inmate took close to 35 minutes to die,
apparently in great pain, after the first injections were administered
New protocols have been issued, and the state's governor has since signed
a death warrant for a death row prisoner.
The governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, also ordered a complete
review of the state's death penalty programme following a court ruling
(source: BBC News)
U.S. Judge Blocks Lethal Injection in Tennessee
A federal judge on Wednesday blocked next week's scheduled execution of a
prisoner in Tennessee, ruling that newly revised lethal injection
procedures were unconstitutional.
Judge Aleta A. Trauger of Federal District Court here ruled that the state
cannot execute the prisoner, Edward J. Harbison, 52, because Tennessees
use of a three-drug lethal injection would present "a substantial risk of
unnecessary pain." Mr. Harbison had been scheduled to die by lethal
injection next Wednesday.
Tennessee is among 11 states in which executions have been postponed or
blocked over concerns about lethal injection and whether it constitutes
cruel and unusual punishment, according to the Death Penalty Information
Center, a nonprofit research group. 37 of 38 states with the death penalty
allow lethal injection; Nebraska requires electrocution.
In February, Gov. Phil Bredesen imposed a 90-day moratorium on four
executions while the state revised its death penalty protocols, which had
been criticized as a hodgepodge of conflicting, confusing instructions.
After the state released a clarified and updated set of procedures, it
resumed lethal injections in May, with the execution of Philip R. Workman.
Last week, Tennessee put Daryl Holton to death by electric chair.
A spokeswoman for State Attorney General Robert E. Cooper Jr. said no
decision had been made on whether to appeal Judge Traugers ruling.
Mr. Harbison, who has been on death row since he was convicted in 1983 for
beating an elderly woman to death, had appealed his sentence, arguing that
the new protocols were illegal.
In her ruling, Judge Trauger wrote that the protocols do not safeguard
against pain. If the three drugs are not administered with proper
anesthesia, she wrote, the result could be "a terrifying, excruciating
(source: New York Times)
DEATH PENALTY IS NOT NEEDED
2 related issues in the editorial "Kansas should rethink death penalty"
(Sept. 13 Opinion) are whether or not the death penalty deters others from
committing such crimes and why it takes so many years from the time of the
sentencing to the execution.
Regardless of the length of the "time gap," death penalty studies show
that it does not deter others. Some view this gap as the reason for this
lack of deterrence and want swifter punishment. In Kansas, all capital
sentences are automatically appealed to the Supreme Court, and this
process takes time as the appeal attorneys go over the transcript of the
trials looking for any instances where the defendant did not receive a
fair trial. The emphasis is on justice and not swiftness.
The value of the appeal process was confirmed when the Kansas Supreme
Court found a serious lack of justice in two capital cases. It found
multiple examples of misconduct on the part of the prosecutors in the
trial of Gary Kleypas and misconduct on the part of Judge Clark Owens in
the trial of Michael Marsh in Sedgwick County. Both will receive a new
The appeal process nationwide has resulted in the exoneration of 124
persons who were wrongly convicted of capital murder and awaiting
execution. It is critical that we try our best not to execute the
innocent, and the appeal system is the vital link in this process.
The editorial is correct -- it is time to rethink the value of the death
penalty. The money could be spent other places (crime prevention, for
example), and the public could be protected from "the worst of the worst"
by sentencing them to life without parole, which, according to the latest
scientific poll taken in January, is what the majority (65 %) of our
Kansas citizens want. This is almost exactly what the poll taken in 1994
It's time for the Legislature to catch up with where the citizens are now
(and have been for 13 years) and abolish the death penalty. It is also
time for The Eagle's editorial board to take a clear stand against the
Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty
(source: Letter to the Editor, Wichita Eagle)
State justices hear Stanko appeal
The South Carolina Supreme Court will hold a direct hearing this morning
for convicted murderer and rapist Steven Stanko.
He was sentenced to death in August 2006 in Georgetown County for killing
his girlfriend Laura Ling and raping her 15 year old daughter.
News 13 has a policy of not releasing rape victim's identity, but after
Stanko's trial, Christina Ling told her story to bring awareness for
victims of rape.
Katherine Hudgins with the SC Indigent Defense is representing Stanko in
She will present Stanko's case before the Supreme Court Justices in an
effort to overturn Stanko's death sentence.
Once all the evidence is heard, the court will render a decision which
could take up to a month.
Stanko is also scheduled to stand trial for the murder of Henry Lee Turner
of Conway later this year.
(source: South Carolina Now)
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