[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----IDAHO, ALA., OHIO
rhalperi at smu.edu
Sun Oct 2 13:51:21 CDT 2011
Seldom-sought Death Penalty Remains Possible for Cleveland
Death Penalty Info
States with death penalty: 34
States without death penalty: 16 plus District of Columbia
Number of people executed since 1976*: 1,270
Number of people executed in Idaho since 1976: 1
Number of inmates on death row, nationwide: 3,251 as of Jan. 1, 2011
Number of death row inmates in Idaho: 14
Number of people exonerated since 1973: 138
* U.S. Supreme Court reinstated death penalty
[source: Death Penalty Information Center]
Death row and the Magic Valley
The state attorney general’s report on death row inmates lists only 2 convicts
from the Magic Valley who were sentenced to death since the penalty was
reinstated by the Supreme Court in the mid-1970s. Both cases resided in Jerome
County’s jurisdiction. Neither man was executed.
• Jamie Charboneau was convicted of the 1st-degree murder of ex-wife Marilyn
Arbaugh in May 1985. She was shot 15 times with a rifle almost a year prior,
and in January 1986, 5th District Judge Phillip Becker ordered Charboneau to
death. The Idaho Supreme Court later resentenced him to a fixed life sentence.
• Jimmie Thomas died in prison in 2005, after serving nearly 16 years on death
row for the 1997 murder of Steven Louder, the fiance of Thomas’ ex-wife. At age
54, Thomas was convicted in 1999 and ordered to death by Judge Monte Carlson.
With a signature, Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs can ask a jury to
decide if a convicted killer should live or die.
As a Nevada man accused of causing July’s deadly hostage crisis in Twin Falls
waited in jail this week, Loebs was granted more time to decide if he’ll seek
the death penalty in the first-degree murder case against Clark Cleveland.
Cleveland, 26, stands accused of fatally shooting Utah resident Tracey Ivie in
July, when police say he committed a string of 12 felonies, including
1st-degree murder. If convicted by a jury of that charge, Cleveland could be
sentenced to death if Loebs decides to pursue that punishment by his new Oct.
Cleveland has pleaded not guilty to his alleged crimes, and could be tried for
them as early as January 6, 2012.
“It’s an important decision,” Loebs said Monday of whether to pursue the death
penalty. “I want to look at all sides of the issue, but it’s (requesting the
extension to file) not indicative of a decision.”
It’s Loebs’ policy not to discuss case specifics, but it’s not likely that
Cleveland will face potentially dying for his crime.
Since taking office in 1997, Loebs has dealt with 38 first-degree murder cases.
He said the death penalty was in consideration for only two, but those
defendants pleaded guilty and accepted prison terms instead of going to trial.
So far, Loebs hasn’t put a defendant on death row, and he’s not alone in that
characteristic among Gem State prosecutors.
Currently, 14 people sit on Idaho’s death row. The state hasn’t executed a
prisoner since 1994, when double-murderer Keith Eugene Wells dropped all
appeals and demanded lethal injection.
Speaking in general, Loebs said that when making an important decision such as
whether to seek the death penalty, he relies on his own feelings and beliefs
and takes guidance from case law, statutes and advice from colleagues.
“It’s (my) signature on the document,” he said. “It’s understandable that so
few are sought. It’s not a decision any prosecutor takes lightly.”
Since the U.S. Supreme Court forced a legal change in 2002, juries, not judges,
can impose capital punishment. Prosecutors have 60 days from the time a
defendant enters a plea in district court to file their intent to seek the
Once a defendant is convicted of 1st-degree murder — 2nd-degree murder and
manslaughter charges don’t carry the option for capital punishment — a 2nd jury
hearing determines whether the convicted should be put to death. As with a
conviction, the jurors’ decision to condemn a convict to death must be
If Loebs were to seek the death penalty for Cleveland and a jury was to reach a
conviction, the ensuing hearing could cost the court system thousands of
dollars in time and resources. But those factors shouldn’t weigh in the
decision to pursue such a hearing, Lobes said.
“You don’t decide it upon the technicalities of court scheduling,” he said.
“You file for it if you think it’s the appropriate punishment.”
(source: Magic Valley News)
Cory Maples' 'mailroom error' death row case gets U.S. Supreme Court hearing
The Alabama death row inmate who lost his chance to appeal because of
misdirected paperwork becomes the focal point Tuesday of a national debate over
whether states are providing adequate legal aid to the condemned after their
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear arguments on whether Cory Maples'
missed filing deadline should be excused because it was an administrative
oversight out of his control.
A ruling for Maples would allow him another day in court to argue that his
lawyers made mistakes during his trial and sentencing, and possibly change the
way states think about their post-conviction appeals process.
Alabama, unlike other capital punishment states, doesn't provide legal
assistance for death row inmates to challenge issues raised after trial, such
as ineffective counsel.
"He is set to be executed without any federal habeas review of serious
constitutional claims because of a missed deadline stemming from external
factors wholly beyond his control, including the state's own actions," wrote
former U.S. Solicitor General Gregory Garre, who will argue Maples' case before
On the other side of the table will be Alabama's Solicitor General, John Neiman
Jr., who will argue that the paperwork mishap affected only some of Maples'
volunteer lawyers, not all of them, and that the state wasn't responsible.
"Maples is unquestionably guilty of murdering 2 people, and his conviction is
now 15 years old," Neiman wrote. "He has received some form of judicial review
of every claim he has made."
Maples, now 37, was convicted in the 1995 shooting deaths of 2 acquaintances as
they sat in a car in his driveway late at night after he had been drinking,
according to prosecutors. He was found by police 2 weeks later in Tennessee in
the car of one of his victims.
Maples was convicted by a Morgan County jury later that year, and the jury
voted 10-2 for the death penalty. The evidence included a videotaped
Written notice that his original appeal was rejected was mailed by a court
clerk in Alabama to New York, where lawyers were handling his case pro bono.
But 2 of them had left the firm while the appeal was pending, and the notice
was returned unopened to the clerk in Alabama. The mixup wasn't discovered
until after the deadline for his next appeal had passed.
As his case wound its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, Maples has collected the
support of death penalty opponents, criminal defense attorneys and even some
former judges in Alabama who told the justices in writing that the system is "a
labyrinth in which many a hapless inmate has become hopelessly lost, sometimes
through no fault of his own."
The state of Alabama has garnered its own supporters, as 20 other states say
that allowing Maples another appeal would open the floodgates of new challenges
from prisoners in cases that should be settled.
The state-level appeals process will also be scrutinized in a 2nd case on the
justices' docket Tuesday, a clear signal that the court is taking a closer look
at the precedent that people do not have a guaranteed right to counsel after
their direct appeal has been rejected.
"The problem is that state post-conviction for years has just been a backwater.
There is no constitutional right to an attorney in that proceeding," Lee
Kovarksy, assistant professor of law at the University of Maryland School of
Law, said in a recent interview. "They've actually got to sit down and think
seriously about whether structural safeguards are in place for criminal,
sentenced defendants at that phase of review. This court has decided to engage
in that process."
Because Alabama leans so heavily on volunteer defense attorneys, nonprofits
like the Equal Justice Initiative help fill the void. The whole issue being
debated Tuesday in Washington is not new to the Montgomery organization, led by
"I think what were seeing here these last few years is the court reevaluating
whether the states are really committed to providing full and fair
representation in death penalty cases," Stevenson said Friday.
"We don't rely on volunteer police, volunteer prosecution, volunteer
correctional management. These are the core, critical components of a criminal
justice system," Stevenson said. "But somehow we tolerate a system (where)
condemned prisoners have to find volunteer lawyers, and that is a tension I
believe the court is recognizing."
Asked if he'll be in Washington to attend Tuesday's hearing, Stevenson said he
is busy working on multiple death penalty cases, all with urgent deadlines
"And I've got 3 letters on my desk from death row inmates who don't have a
lawyer," he said.
(source: Birmingham News)
Sam Williams will face death penalty for Straub/Clarke murders
Sam Williams was indicted by a grand jury for the murders of Johnny Clarke, 21,
and Lisa Straub, 20, in January.
Williams was charged with 2 counts of aggravated murder, 1 count of aggravated
burglary and 2 counts of kidnapping.
This is a death-penalty case.
Straub and Clarke were found dead in the home of Straub's parents. The two had
their wrists bound with duct tape and plastic bags covering their heads.
Both families have maintained the murders were not random acts of violence.
(source: WTOL News)
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