[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----CALIF., OHIO
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Oct 10 22:14:33 CDT 2008
Death penalty discussion
Activist Mike Farrell criticized "state-sponsored killing" under Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger in an address at Pitzer College Wednesday night.
Calling the governor "a coward" for "refusing to stand on principle," the
former star of the television series M*A*S*H spoke to an audience of
roughly 200 students and community members on behalf of the newly formed
Inland Valley Death Penalty Focus.
Mr. Farrell said that the justice system is inherently flawed and
occasionally condemns innocent people. "Since the death penalty was
reinstated in 1979, 130 death row inmates have been exonerated," he said.
"Of course, we dont know how many innocent people have been killed in the
history of the US under this system."
He also argued in economic terms against the death penalty. In July, the
California Commission of the Fair Administration of Justice found that
abolishing capital punishment would save $125 million a year. It costs an
extra $90,000 per prisoner per year to hold on death row rather than in
the general maximum security prison population, the commission found.
"The report has been ignored entirely by the governor," Mr. Farrell said.
With 670 prisoners on death row, the figure adds up to $63.3 million
annually just to house them, he said, even though most die of natural
causes or commit suicide before they are executed. California has executed
13 prisoners since 1979.
Death Penalty Focus advocates sentencing violent criminals to life in
prison without the possibility of parole and channeling the extra money
into prisoner rehabilitation programs, child abuse programs, enhancing law
enforcement capabilities and crime labs and compensation for victims.
Mr. Farrell believes that the death penalty continues because many
politicians want to appear to be tough on crime. In response to questions,
Mr. Farrell said that Presidential Candidate Barack Obama privately
opposes the death penalty and believes "we will move closer to the
direction of abolishment of the death penalty if Obama is elected."
In an interview before the address, Mr. Farrell said Death Penalty Focus
has made concrete advancements since its inception in 1986. Last year, the
state of New Jersey repealed the death penalty. National opinion polls
show that support for capital punishment is slowly eroding, Mr. Farrell
"If the death penalty will end in the United States is no longer the
question," Mr. Farrell said. "It's a question of when."
2 other speakers also addressed the audience. Gloria Gillian, was wrongly
accused of a crime she did not committee; an armed robbery that resulted
in a death. Prosecutors sought the death penalty in her case but she was
instead charged with life in prison. Her former boss was later found to be
guilty of the crime but not before Ms. Gillian spent 17 years behind bars.
"The system is too flawed and there's no way we can ever take the chance
of executing another innocent person in this country."
David Leverings 13-year-old daughter was the victim of rape and murder as
she walked home from church. "To refer to this experience as devastating,
doesn't come close," he said. When he was asked what should be done to the
perpetrator, he would tell people, "Of course, he should be separated from
society, but there is no punishment that could be inflicted upon him that
would bring our daughter back."
Ohio Death Row Inmate Appeals to US Supreme Court
Lawyers for an Ohio death row inmate who unsuccessfully argued that his
obesity prevents humane lethal injection filed an appeal Friday with the
U.S. Supreme Court to halt his execution, planned for next week.
The Ohio public defender's office filed the application on behalf of
Richard Cooey a few hours after Gov. Ted Strickland declined clemency.
Cooey, 41, is scheduled to be executed Tuesday for killing two University
of Akron students in 1986.
The Ohio Supreme Court and the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on
Thursday denied Cooey's requests for a stay of execution. The Ohio Parole
Board unanimously rejected his request for clemency last month.
His attorneys had argued that prison food contributed to a weight problem
that would make it difficult to access a suitable vein for lethal
injection. Cooey is 5 feet 7 and weighs 267 pounds.
''Even today, Cooey is not certain how Ohio intends to execute him,'' his
lawyers told the court.
They also said a drug he is taking for migraine headaches could reduce the
effect of the anesthetic used in the execution process. In the appeal
Friday, the lawyers said the state has not offered other ways to
anesthetize Cooey during the 3-drug lethal injection.
State and federal courts have rejected Cooey's arguments, saying he failed
to appeal his sentence within time limits.
(source: Associated Press)
More information about the DeathPenalty