[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----TEXAS, IND., MD., OKLA.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Jan 16 18:22:48 CST 2009
Open letter to Mr Craig Watkins, Dallas District Attorney
Dear Mr Watkins,
On November 5th, 2008 I contacted you regarding Robert Jean Hudson, who
was scheduled to be executed on November 20th. The nature of my letter was
to seek a stay for Mr Hudson on the grounds that his trial and appeals
process were far from adequate. Many people from all over the world
contacted you for the same reason. However, it appears that our pleas were
completely ignored. You did not even acknowledge receipt of my certified
mail to you nor did you take the time to let me know whether your
administration had reviewed Robert 's case or not.
Robert Hudson was needlessly executed, apparently without any
consideration for his life or for our fight to save him, leaving me
despairing and his daughter fatherless, not to mention taking away the
life long friend of many people - a friend who everyone knew had done his
upmost to gain mercy through his remarkable efforts regarding personal
You have always described yourself as being "deeply conflicted about the
death penaly". It would appear that the compassionate justice you were
seeking went a.w.o.l when you had the opportunity to excersize your
I'm not doubting that when you came into office you were concerned about
innocent and re-formed people being executed, and judging by your
allocation of personal time to the victims of Mr Sparks (who has recently
been sentenced to death at your demand and with your intervention), you do
have empathy for innocent people in general. However, and this is the
difference between you and a person with "real" compassion and a desire
for justice: you allow your political position to rule over your heart by
applying compassion as a commodity to exchange with your seniors for a
longer term, rather than standing tall and using it as god given virtue to
benefit all... But what happened to Robin, Mr Hudson's daughter, and I
being comforted by you after our loved one was executed without any
consideration for our loss and after being ignored by you in such critical
moments? Do you not class us as innocent human beings? If this is the case
I'd like you to clarify what we ever did wrong for you to ignore us like
you did or not want to comfort us through our loss. I think the reason
quite obvious - you made the conscious choice not to do so to remain
"respected" by the mob you depend upon for re-instatement. This was
Anyway, I hope you have a great new year spending time with your family,
after forgetting about the ones you have left behind in the pursuit of
developing your political status by ruining the lives of other good human
beings without mercy or consideration.
Happy New Year Mr Texan of the year !
Chantal Rae - Hudson
Indiana should pass bill to prevent death penalty for severely mentally
Thank You, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel editorial staff for your continued
strong objection to reinstating the death sentence for Joseph Corcoran.
Your editorial on Jan. 5 inspired me to continue the fight.
Please, please, Gov. Daniels, choose to commute the death sentence of
Corcoran to life in prison without parole. End this pathetic injustice and
enormous waste of money.
Order the Indiana attorney general's office to forgo any further appeals.
Surely, they have more useful, productive ways to spend their time and
In the official study of the death penalty in Indiana, commissioned by
Gov. O'Bannon and published in 2002, the costs to the county and state for
an average death-penalty trial through all appeals totaled $568,836. That
total did not include the cost of the defense in federal court and in
clemency proceedings, all of which are paid by the federal courts and are
substantial. The death penalty and its enormous cost should be reserved
for the worst of the worst, if it continues to exist in Indiana at all.
Words cannot express Fort Wayne National Alliance on Mental Illness
members' disappointment that the U.S. Court of Appeals has permitted
Indiana to choose to reinstate the death penalty for Corcoran once again.
Corcoran is extremely mentally ill. This truth is no longer in question.
Corcoran is absolutely consumed with the brain illness, paranoid
schizophrenia. Absolutely no one denies this truth after his 10 years in
prison. Three experts say his mental illness is so severe that he is
incompetent to make rational decisions. The state did not contradict this
expert testimony. Corcoran's pattern of behavior over the last 10 years
verifies this truth. One of the three appeals court judges, Judge Ann
Claire Williams, agreed that Corcoran was mentally incompetent to waive
his right to having the trial court review his case.
This man is so ill with schizophrenia that all he wants to do is die. His
profound schizophrenia prevented him from cooperating with his defense
when he was first tried and convicted. His current defense attorney told
me that no one wanted to take his case because he is so uncooperative in
his delusions. He just wants people to help him die, signing waiver after
waiver of his appeals rights.
Putting Corcoran to death serves no moral purpose. Killing him will not
deter future criminal activity driven by mental illness.
There is no logic, no rationale, no plan, nothing gained when a severely
mentally ill person is overcome by the voices in his head and commits a
capital crime. It is not an act of conscious will or choice. There is no
way to deter total irrationality by punishment. Deterrence comes only from
treatment. Members of NAMI who live with mental illness will often tell us
about irrational, regrettable behavior that resulted from their brain
malfunction, not their conscious will. They will tell us how sorry they
are when they return to sanity by effective treatment. They will tell us
how hard they work to fix the damage the illness caused. Indiana chose not
to execute children and the severely retarded. Indiana should also exempt
the profoundly mentally ill.
No one is clamoring for Corcoran's execution except the attorney general's
office. The grieving family has steadfastly remained silent. Let the
torment of the resurrection of Corcoran's impending death pass from them.
Release them from reliving this grief every 2 years.
The Indiana Legislature must change the law by passing Senate Bill 22. It
will prohibit the death penalty in cases where a defendant is found to be
afflicted with severe and persistent mental illness, carefully defined to
avoid abuse. Senate Bill 22 will save the state of Indiana a lot of money.
The proposed law has been passed out of the Bowser Commission, established
by the Senate for thorough examination and review. It is strongly
supported by the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological
Association, Mental Health American, NAMI National, the American Bar
Association, many other organizations and most law enforcement personnel.
The state of Indiana should save its money and spend it on treatment,
instead of punishment. Treatment is the true source of safety for all of
(source: Fort Wayne News-Sentinel; Guest Column----Kathleen A. Bayes is
executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Fort Wayne)
O'Malley Begins Quest To Repeal Death Penalty
Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said yesterday that he will for the 1st time
personally sponsor a bill and do "everything in [his] power" to abolish
capital punishment in Maryland, signaling his desire to make the issue a
chief accomplishment as he enters the second half of his term.
O'Malley said in an interview that he plans to invest heavy political
capital to persuade the General Assembly to pass a repeal bill during its
current 90-day legislation session, even asking lawmakers to work around a
Senate committee that has kept such a bill from passing before if
During his first 2 years, the governor has established a track record of
muscling through difficult legislation, including a bill setting up a
public vote on slot-machine gambling and a package of tax increases and
spending cuts. But his promised introduction of a death-penalty repeal
bill will face strong opposition, probably leading to a major political
O'Malley said the death penalty is not a deterrent, wastes resources that
could be better spent fighting violent crime and leaves the state open to
the possibility of executing innocent people. "That risk alone should be
enough to repeal it and substitute it with life without parole," he said.
The governor's stepped-up effort comes at a time when other states have
been rethinking the merits of the death penalty and with Maryland at a
crossroads on the issue. A state commission led by former U.S. attorney
general Benjamin R. Civiletti recently recommended abolition, but local
prosecutors who support capital punishment have urged O'Malley to issue
the regulations needed to end a court-imposed moratorium on executions.
The 37 executions that took place nationally last year marked a 14-year
low and continued a downward trend after peaking in 1999, according to the
Death Penalty Information Center. In late 2007, New Jersey became the
first state in a generation to abolish the death penalty; others are
"I'm going to lobby people on the merits of the issue," said O'Malley, a
Catholic who has long opposed the death penalty. "I just feel personally
compelled to try."
After a meeting with O'Malley yesterday, Senate President Thomas V. Mike
Miller Jr. (D-Calvert), a capital punishment supporter, said he would
continue to talk with the governor but said changing votes will be tough.
"When you're middle-aged, your mind is pretty much set on issues like
this," Miller said. "It's not an issue you can lobby. He's going to push
hard, but I'm not sure he's going to be successful."
It is unclear how many minds O'Malley would need to change, because repeal
bills have not been debated by the full House or Senate in recent years.
Death penalty opponents claim that a majority in both chambers support
repeal, although the bill could face a filibuster in the Senate, further
Maryland has executed 5 people since it reinstated the death penalty in
1978. 5 inmates are on death row.
The state has had a de facto moratorium on capital punishment since
December 2006, the month before O'Malley took office, after the state's
highest court ruled that procedures for lethal injection had not been
properly adopted. O'Malley has declined to issue new regulations allowing
executions to resume.
O'Malley indicated yesterday that he would like to see votes on a repeal
bill by the full House and Senate before allowing regulations to be put in
place. He said he is hopeful that the Senate committee would approve the
bill during the session that started this week, sending it to the floor
for a vote by the full chamber. But the membership of the 11-member
committee has not changed since 2007, when a repeal bill fell one vote
short, despite testimony by O'Malley urging its passage.
Last year, the committee declined to vote on a similar bill, given the
likelihood of the same result.
Sen. Brian E. Frosh (D-Montgomery), the committee's chairman, said
yesterday that he was not aware of any votes that have changed but that it
is possible O'Malley's imprint on the bill could make a difference.
"There's a little more force behind it," said Frosh, who supports
repealing the death penalty.
If the bill remains stalled in committee, O'Malley suggested that the
chamber consider using one of several parliamentary procedures that could
allow the proposal to move to the floor without committee approval.
Those moves are very rare, although O'Malley said one was used when the
Senate reinstated the death penalty in Maryland. At the time, O'Malley's
father-in-law, J. Joseph Curran (D), a death penalty opponent, was
chairman of the committee that was bypassed. He later served as Maryland's
Miller said he urged O'Malley during their meeting to work within the
committee system. In a recent interview, Miller said bypassing the
committee "would mean turmoil on the floor."
The House of Delegates has not taken any votes on repealing the death
penalty in the past 2 years while the bill has been stalled in the Senate.
House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) said in a recent interview
that he believes there are enough votes to pass a repeal bill in his
chamber but that he would like the Senate to act first.
In yesterday's interview, O'Malley cited the General Assembly's decision
to let voters decide last November whether to authorize slot-machine
gambling in Maryland, ending years of legislative paralysis on the issue.
"If that had enough moral gravity attached to it to do that, certainly the
repeal of the death penalty has enough moral gravity attached to be
considered by the full House and Senate," O'Malley said.
(source: Washington Post)
Miller Given Death Sentence ---- Jurors Deliberate About Two Hours Before
Jurors deliberated for just about two hours before deciding to send Victor
Cornell Miller, 45, to his death.twice.
They decided that the convicted killer deserved 2 death sentences, rather
than the one he had gotten at his 1st trial for killing a man and a woman.
The 1st trial was held more than 9 years ago. The 2 death sentences were
handed to the killer last week for the murders of Mary Agnes Bowles and
The jury spoke loud and clear, Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris
said after the trial.
Associate Tulsa County District Judge Dana Kuehn heard the case.
Mr. Miller was found guilty on Nov. 14, and prosecutors said the murders
occurred as Mr. Miller robbed Mrs. Bowles of her car.
During the following Monday's sentencing stage, Mr. Miller took the
witness stand to claim that he had not shot either of the victims.
He said in a prepared statement that he is deeply troubled that, because
of the actions of "some of my associates," 2 "good and productive citizens
lost their lives."
"[I] allowed myself, inadvertently, to be connected" to 2 brutal murders,
Mr. Miller testified.
"[The defendant] tells you he is a changed man," Assistant District
Attorney Bill Musseman told jurors, but he still wont take
Prosecutors believe Mr. Miller and co-defendant George John Hanson
carjacked Mrs. Bowles, 77, a retired banker and community volunteer, from
a Tulsa Promenade shopping mall parking lot on Aug. 31, 1999. They believe
that the two men drove her to a secluded area in north Tulsa County, where
Mr. Thurman, 44, an Owasso trucking company owner, happened to be picking
up a load of dirt. Prosecutors said Mr. Miller shot Mr. Thurman and that
Mr. Hanson shot Mrs. Bowles.
Family members of the victims told jurors about the impact of the murders.
"There is not one day that goes by that I dont think of my husband," said
Sherry Thurman, widow of one of the murder victims.
It has now been nine years, and our hearts are still broken, Betty
Thurman, the slain mans stepmother, said during the trial.
"Aunt Mary held the role of family matriarch," is how Sara Mooney, a niece
of the other murder victim, described her aunt, adding that her mother and
Mrs. Bowles conferred with each other on "all important life decisions."
During the sentencing part of the trial, jurors learned that Mr. Miller is
serving a life sentence plus 157 years in prison for convictions on 16
federal counts for an array of robbery and firearms crimes.
The jury was told that he was sentenced to 30 years in prison for three
armed robberies in 1981. Pete Silva, Mr. Miller's attorney, urged jurors
to extend mercy to Mr. Miller, who he said "will never walk the streets as
a free man for the rest of his life."
Prosecutors said 4 "aggravating circumstances" support the death penalty:
that Miller created a great risk of death to more than 1 person, is a
continuing threat to society, has a previous violent felony conviction,
and murdered to avoid or prevent an arrest or prosecution.
At an earlier trial for the same 2 murders, Mr. Miller got only 1 death
penalty, but the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals overturned his
conviction, and granted him a new trial in 2004.
At the 2002 trial, Mr. Miller was convicted of both murders, but was
handed the death penalty only for the Thurman killing.
He received a life sentence without the possibility of parole for killing
In 2001, yet another jury convicted Mr. Millers co-defendant, George
Hanson, of both murder counts and gave him the death penalty for killing
Mrs. Bowles and a life without parole sentence for murdering Mr. Thurman.
The appeals court affirmed Mr. Hansons murder convictions and the
no-parole life sentence, but overturned his death sentence.
At a 2006 re-sentencing trial, a different jury again gave Mr. Hanson a
death sentence for murdering Mrs. Bowles.
(source: The Black Chronicle)
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