[Deathpenalty] [POSSIBLE SPAM] death penalty news----CALIF., OHIO
rhalperi at smu.edu
Sun Oct 16 12:01:16 CDT 2011
California's execution machine could crank up
Amid renewed efforts to repeal California's death penalty and nearly 6 years
into a de facto moratorium on executions, San Quentin's death row has quietly
piled up an unprecedented number of inmates who have exhausted their legal
appeals and would face imminent death by lethal injection if the state resumes
carrying out the ultimate punishment.
At least a dozen inmates could be executed in a span of a few months if an
oft-stalled legal challenge to the state's lethal injection method is resolved,
roughly the same number of condemned murderers California has put to death in
more than 3 decades of capital punishment.
A Bay Area News Group review shows 12 death row inmates have been turned away
in their appeals all the way through the U.S. Supreme Court, generally
considered the final stage in the lengthy death penalty review process. At
least 2 other inmates have lost their appeals through the 9th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals, which ordinarily is the last, best hope to overturn a death
sentence, while others are awaiting rulings from that court.
Three Bay Area condemned killers are among the 12 -- David Allen Raley, from
Santa Clara County; Harvey Heishman, from Alameda County; and Douglas Mickey,
sentenced in San Mateo County. The dozen inmates eligible for execution dates
have averaged 27 years on death row, where 720 prisoners await their fate.
For a state where executions have been such a rarity, the prospect of a flurry
of them could test California's appetite for the death penalty, possibly at a
time when foes of capital punishment are working furiously toward a November
2012 ballot measure that would abolish death sentences altogether.
"If California were to begin executing at the rate of other states, it seems
like people would care about the issue more one way or another," said former
California Department of Corrections chief and San Quentin warden Jeanne
Woodford, now executive director of a major anti-death penalty group. "It is
kind of abstract at this moment."
Added Michael Laurence, head of the leading state agency representing death row
inmates: "We've not seen any kind of execution rate like that since the 1950s.
We're barely limping along now. You add 12 scheduled executions, and I don't
see how the system functions."
The timing of a resumption of executions is no sure thing. The lethal injection
challenge continues to languish in the federal courts, but may get moving early
next year because prison officials recently notified a federal judge they
finally will have a new execution team in place by this coming week. Lawyers on
both sides had been awaiting that development to proceed to a hearing.
But if the case continues to drag on, that will only add to the backlog of
inmates who finish their appeals. Even the generally liberal 9th Circuit has
been upholding more death sentences in recent years, and has found itself
quickly reversed in several instances by the U.S. Supreme Court when it has
attempted to overturn them.
The prospect of executions certainly has all sides in the death penalty debate
on edge. U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel put them on hold in early 2006 in the
case of death row inmate Michael Morales, who first raised the argument the
state's lethal injection procedures were flawed and could result in a cruel and
inhumane death. Until those claims could be resolved, Morales' execution has
been put off for the 1981 Central Valley rape and murder of 17-year-old Terri
Morales is among the 12 inmates who could be first in line to be executed, and
Winchell's family is ready for the wait to end.
"As long as he's alive and not given the justice the court and judge sentenced
him (to), this crime will live with us every day of our lives," said Barbara
Christian, Winchell's mother.
Experts say there could be a variety of reactions and results if California
becomes a state that regularly carries out executions, including further
strains on the legal system. Ohio's state Supreme Court, faced with a similar
rush a few years ago, has now scheduled one execution per month through 2013 to
pace the process. In California, prosecutors would need to turn to judges in
their counties to secure execution dates for each inmate, a scattered process
that could take months or longer to unfold.
In addition, Gov. Jerry Brown and his approach to the death penalty would be
quickly tested in a string of clemency requests; no California governor has
commuted a death sentence in the modern death penalty era.
Death penalty advocates say executions would remove one common argument against
capital punishment in California.
"If we do actually start carrying out executions, it would undermine the
argument that the death penalty is not being enforced and we should get rid of
it," said Kent Scheidegger, director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.
But death penalty critics say executions will not alter the persistent problems
in the state's death penalty system. Arthur Alarcon, a 9th Circuit judge who
co-authored a recent study that found the death penalty costs California an
additional $184 million per year, said a dozen quick executions will not dent
the mammoth death row or the decades it takes to resolve appeals.
As for the political fallout, former Attorney General John Van de Kamp said, "I
don't know what the public reaction would be. It's going to depend on the cases
and crimes themselves."
Based on Ohio's experience, California could simply just grow accustomed to
executions, with positions for and against the death penalty remaining firmly
entrenched across the state.
"As you have a couple, people get exhausted," said Douglas Berman, an Ohio
State University law professor and sentencing expert. "There's always less
attention for number 2 and number 3 and number 5. You get less of a fight
progressively down the line."
(source: Mercury News)
Death penalty sought in Calif. salon killings
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a man accused of shooting and
killing 8 people in a Seal Beach, Calif., salon.
Scott Dekraai, 41, is charged with eight counts of special circumstance
1st-degree murder and 1 count of attempted murder in connection with the
shoot-up of Salon Meritage in Seal Beach where his ex-wife worked, the Los
Angeles Times reported.
"Wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with 3 firearms, he walked through the
salon shooting anyone close enough to hit," said Orange County District
Attorney Tony Rackauckas. "He stopped to reload, and then continued gunning
people down. He was not satisfied with murdering his intended target, his
Officials say Dekraai used at least 2 handguns and wore body armor.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Erick L. Larsh postponed the arraignment to
Nov. 29, granting attorney Robert Curtis time to assemble a defense team and
for a medical evaluation of Dekraai to be performed.
"I won't be surprised if we get an insanity plea," Rackauckas said.
(source: United Press International)
Warren man faces death penalty for parents murder
31-year-old Louis Mann entered a not guilty plea as he was arraigned in Judge
McKay's court Friday afternoon.
He is charged with two counts of aggravated murder in the deaths of his parents
Phil and Frances Mann.
Those charges carry death penalty specifications.
Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins says, "We're dealing with the deaths
of two citizens and aggravating circumstances that bring about the capital
According to an affidavit by the detective who interviewed Louis Mann, it was
two weeks ago when Mann, who had been just released from jail, was cooking a
hamburger in his parents Jefferson Street home.
He and his mother suddenly got into a dispute about his child.
Mann grabbed a clothesline and strangled his mother to death.
Philip Mann then came into the room with a rifle, but Louis got the gun away
from his father, then beat his father with a flashlight before shooting him.
Mann was arrested, Saturday, October 1st at the Capri Motel in Howland.
Mann is being held in the Trumbull County Jail without bond.
Columbus attorney Greg Myers is assisting the public defenders office in
A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for November 18th.
(source: WFMJ News)
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