[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----TEXAS, ORE., CONN/.USA, FLA., OHIO, S. DAK.
rhalperi at smu.edu
Sat Oct 22 16:49:37 CDT 2011
20 Death Row Exonerees to Lead 12th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty
The 12th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty will be held Saturday,
October 22nd, 2011 at the Texas Capitol at 2 PM (on the north side of the
capitol). A rally will begin at 2 PM followed by a march through the streets of
downtown Austin at 3.
The march will be led by 20 death row survivors who each spent many years on
death rows around the U.S. despite being innocent. The 20 exonerees are coming
to Texas as members of Witness to Innocence. Some of the exonerees are in Texas
for a speaking tour across the state and all of them will be in Austin for the
Witness to Innocence "Gathering" from October 20-23. Witness to Innocence is
the nation's only organization composed of, by and for exonerated death row
survivors and their loved ones.
Many people at the rally and march will carry signs that say "Perry/Willingham
2012" to suggest that if Rick Perry becomes president of the U.S., it will be
over the dead body of a person whose execution Perry allowed even though he was
given information before the execution discrediting the forensic science used
to convict Todd Willingham. After Willingham's execution, Perry abused his
power as governor to interfere with the investigation of a governmental body
into the Willingham case. Rick Perry's actions regarding Todd Willingham raise
serious questions about Perry's character and judgement. Perry is not ethically
qualified to be president of the United States.
One of the signs marchers will carry is below:
>From Todd Willingham
Before his execution, Todd Willingham told his parents,"Please don't ever stop
fighting to vindicate me."
Before his execution, Troy Davis told his supporters in a letter,"There are so
many more Troy Davises. This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost
through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent
person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this unjust system
city by city,state by state and country by country."
Texas has executed 475 people since 1982 (as of Oct 16, 2011). Under current
Texas Governor Rick Perry, 236 people have been executed, including some with a
strong case of innocence. 12 people have been exonerated while on death row in
Texas, the most recent being Anthony Graves in 2010. Since 1976, there have
been 138 death row exonerations in the United States.
A recent CNN poll showed that when given a choice of sentences between life in
prison without parole or the death penalty for the crime of murder, more
Americans (50%) would opt for the life sentence than for death (48%).
"We will be urging all Texans to join us at the March to Abolish the Death
Penalty on October 22 in Austin", said Ron Keine, formerly on death row in New
?"As they see what the death penalty really means, in my case and others, more
and more Texans believe that Texas can do without the death penalty," said
exonerated death row survivor Clarence Brandley, from Conroe, Texas, who has
been fighting for compensation from the state of Texas for over 20 years.
Each October since 2000, people from all walks of life and all parts of Texas,
the U.S. and other countries have taken a day out of their year and gathered in
Austin to raise their voices together and loudly express their opposition to
the death penalty. The march is a coming together of activists, family members
of people on death row, community leaders, exonerated former death row
prisoners and all those calling for repeal of the Texas death penalty.
The annual march is organized as a joint project by several Texas anti-death
penalty organizations and their allies: Texas Moratorium Network, the Austin
chapter of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, the Texas Death Penalty
Abolition Movement, Texas Students Against the Death Penalty, Witness to
Innocence, Journey of Hope ... From Violence to Healing, Texas Civil Rights
Project, International Socialist Organization, Amnesty International at The
University of Texas, Kids Against the Death Penalty, The Austin Chronicle,
NOKOA, Gray Panthers and Democrats for Life.
(source: Burnt Orange Report)
Impending executions in Texas
date------# under Gov. Perry----name------------------# in Texas since 1982
Oct. 27---237--Frank Garcia------------------------------476
Nov. 9----238--Hank Skinner------------------------------477
Nov. 16--239--Guadalupe Esparza-----------------------478----50 % of all Tx.
executions carried out under Gov. Perry, since 2001
Jan. 26--240--Rodrigo Hernandez-----------------------479----more than 50 % of
all Tx. executions now carried out under Gov. Perry's tenure
(sources: TDCJ & Rick Halperin)
DOJ wants death penalty petition ignored----Anti-capital punishment group works
to halt planned execution
Attorneys for death row inmate Gary Haugen are expected next week to submit to
the Oregon Supreme Court their written response to a petition filed with the
court by an organization that is seeking to block Haugen's execution.
After the filing by Haugen's attorneys, the high court could set a hearing for
additional legal arguments on the petition or issue a decision without a
The state Department of Justice on Friday filed legal papers asking the Oregon
Supreme Court to throw out a petition that seeks to block the planned execution
of death row inmate Gary Haugen.
The high court should dismiss the petition because it was filed by an
organization, Oregon Capital Resource Center, that lacks legal standing to
intervene in the case, argues a brief filed with the court by the state DOJ.
The center is led by lawyer Jeff Ellis, a board member of Oregonians for
Alternatives to the Death Penalty, a non-profit advocacy group whose stated
goals are to prevent Haugen's execution and repeal Oregon's death penalty law.
In asking the Supreme Court to throw out Ellis's petition, the state DOJ's
legal brief says: "Nothing in Ellis's request alleges any facts that would
provide a basis for this court to conclude that either he or the OCRC has any
particular interest in this proceeding — or in the impending execution of
defendant — that is different from that of any other citizen. Therefore, this
court should dismiss Ellis's request."
In his petition, Ellis maintains that Marion County Circuit Judge Joseph
Guimond erred this month when he conducted a mental competency hearing for
Haugen and then deemed him legally sane to be executed.
Ellis asserts that the judge failed to properly consider key information that
casts doubt on the 49-year-old inmate's competency — a three-page affidavit
prepared by psychologist Muriel Lezak, who visited Haugen at the state
penitentiary and concluded that he is delusional and not competent to waive his
Ellis is asking the Supreme Court to vacate Guimond's finding that Haugen "is
competent to be executed and that he knowingly, intelligently, voluntarily and
competently waives post-conviction review."
The anti-death penalty lawyer also is asking the high court to "issue an order
directing the trial court not to issue the death warrant until this court's
review is complete."
Guimond has indicated that he plans to sign Haugen's death warrant soon. The
execution is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 6.
Ellis's petition is the latest effort by death penalty foes to block the
execution of Haugen, a twice-convicted murderer who has repeatedly sought to
drop his appeals and be put to death.
Haugen previously was scheduled to be executed on Aug. 16. But in late June the
Supreme Court — at the request of Haugen's former attorneys Andy Simrin and
Keith Goody — ordered Guimond to cancel the execution and conduct another
review of Haugen's competency.
Guimond ruled on Oct. 7 that Haugen was competent to waive his appeals. In
part, he relied on the findings of a clinical psychologist, Richard Hulteng,
who met with Haugen for 10 hours and testified that the inmate was mentally
In his recent filing, Ellis said Guimond repeated the same mistake he made
previously — excluding Lezak's findings that Haugen suffers from delusions and
"didn't have a rational understanding of the connection between his crime and
In the rebuttal brief filed on Friday, the state DOJ notes that Guimond
excluded Lezak's affidavit after Haugen complained that Simrin and Goody
manipulated him into cooperating with Lezak and that the attorneys "then
improperly disclosed and used her opinion without his informed consent and in
violation of his privilege."
According to the state's brief, Guimond "scrupulously" complied with "every
step" of the previous Supreme Court directive, including ordering an assessment
of Haugen's "mental capacity to engage in reasoned choices of legal strategies
and options" and then conducting an evidentiary hearing.
It also notes that Hulteng "independently evaluated" Haugen and "concluded
without qualification" that he is competent.
(source: Statesman Journal)
Capital Punishment No Solace To Survivors
I know of no one in our state who has followed the horrible story of the home
invasion in Cheshire, where a mother and 2 daughters were cold-bloodedly
murdered, who wouldn't want to yell, "Kill the killers!"
I have talked to many who strongly support Dr. William Petit Jr., the lone
survivor of this unspeakable crime, who has sought the death penalty for the
murderers of his family. And believe me, I empathize with all of them, even
though I believe strongly that they are wrong to want more murders, even if
done so-called legally by the state.
Like Dr. Petit, I faced unspeakable torment when a Montana sheriff called in
August 1993 to tell me that my son John and his beautiful wife, Nancy, had been
murdered in their newly purchased home in Big Fork. We didn't know for five
months who the killer was, but then we found out — it was the 18-year-old son
of the people from whom John had bought the house. The killer entered through a
basement window, sneaked up into their bedroom where they were sleeping and
shot them to death.
Montana had only recently re-established capital punishment, and the boy,
"Shadow" Clark, was facing death. I had always opposed the death penalty and my
children were raised to believe as I had. I remember kneeling in that room of
death with my surviving sons and we all grasped a truth so clearly — that
unnatural death at the hands of another is wrong, except in a clear case of
self-defense. The state is no more justified in taking a life than is an
individual. Killing cannot be sanitized by calling it "official" and "legal."
And so, my then 5 living children and I wrote to the Montana judge asking him
not to seek the death penalty for Shadow Clark. We knew it is only a delusion
to believe that one's pain is ended by making someone else feel pain. We were
relieved when the young murderer took a plea bargain and received a life
sentence, avoiding the death penalty.
My daughter Mary expressed our belief well.
"The truth is, no one in my family ever wanted to see Shadow Clark put to
death. We felt instinctively that vengeance wouldn't alleviate our grief. We
wanted Clark in prison, removed from society forever, so he could never hurt
another person. But watching Clark suffer and die would have done nothing to
help us heal. Worse, wishing Clark would suffer and die would only have
diminished us and shriveled our own souls. We had had enough pain already,
dealing with the indescribable horror of our loved ones' brains and blood
splattered all over their bedroom walls. We didn't need to increase our own
torment by demanding more blood."
And Mary emphasized where we all stood: "Hatred doesn't heal. Mercy,
compassion, moving on with life, turning toward good people, walking into the
light of love as much as possible, that's what victims need. And our lawmakers
have the capacity to help us do that by abolishing the death penalty and along
with it, the fantasy that it will make the pain go away."
Sadly, the United States, which so often claims to be the world champion of
human rights, is the only Western industrialized country that still practices
this barbaric punishment. We do have 16 states without the death penalty, but
unfortunately, Connecticut is not one of them.
I am often asked about my opposition to the death penalty, and I give credit to
my Catholic faith. I well remember when the Catholic bishops first called for
an end to the death penalty nearly 40 years ago. In the fall of 2005, they
launched the Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty, saying we
must be people who affirm life. "State-sanctioned killing in our names
diminishes all of us," they said.
Many of us are working to end the death penalty in Connecticut. We who belong
to the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty believe we have the
means to punish convicted criminals without having to resort to killing them
for protection, vengeance or retaliation.
(source: Antoinette Bosco of Brookfield is the author of "Choosing Mercy, A
Mother of Murder Victims Pleads to End the Death Penalty," (Orbis
Inmate's attorney argues against execution
An attorney for a condemned inmate is arguing that a jury should again be given
the chance to decide if the man should live or die.
Oba Chandler listened by telephone and said little Friday as his attorney, Baya
Harrison III, told a judge that Chandler's rights were violated in his 1st
trial. Harrison argued that the jury and not the trial judge should have been
the ultimate decider of whether he got the death penalty.
A lawyer for the Florida Attorney General's Office called the claim baseless.
The judge said he expects to rule Monday.
The 65-year-old Chandler was convicted in the 1989 murders of Joan Rogers and
her teenage daughters, Michelle and Christe, of Ohio. Gov. Rick Scott signed
Chandler's death warrant Oct. 10.
(source: Associated Press)
Clermont County sheriff appointed to death penalty task force
Sheriff A.J. Rodenberg of Clermont County has been appointed by Ohio Supreme
Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor to serve as a member of a newly created
task force to review the administration of Ohio’s death penalty.
The task force will be comprised of 20 members including attorneys, judges, and
professors. It will not discuss nor debate whether or not Ohio should have a
death penalty, but rather, review current law and procedures to determine if
the penalty is being imposed and implemented in the most fair and judicious
The 1st meeting of the task force will be in November at the Ohio Judicial
Center in Columbus.
“I am honored to have been selected to serve as a law enforcement
representative for this important endeavor," said Sheriff Rodenberg. "Hopefully
my background in criminal justice as a student, professor, defense attorney,
prosecutor, and sheriff will allow me to bring something of value to the
(source: WCPO News)
Execution options added----Amid questions about 1 drug, S.D. turns to 3
possibilities for lethal injection
The South Dakota Department of Corrections this week officially altered its
lethal injection procedures to allow for a one-, two- or three-drug execution
Corrections Secretary Denny Kaemingk signed off Wednesday on the new injection
policy, according to a news release sent out Friday by DOC spokesman Michael
The new system will allow the state to use either sodium thiopental or
pentobarbital during 1-drug lethal injections. It also allows the state to
substitute pentobarbital for sodium thiopental as the initial sedative in the
other 2 methods.
On Friday afternoon, Winder confirmed that the state does have pentobarbital in
its possession. Because of ongoing litigation, he declined to comment further.
Death penalty opponents long have argued that one-drug executions are less
likely to cause unnecessary pain and suffering for condemned inmates.
Travis Schultze, organizer of South Dakotans for Alternatives to the Death
Penalty, opposes executions regardless of the method but agrees that a single
drug is preferable
. "There are less complications with fewer drugs," he said last week.
The state used a 3-drug method to execute Elijah Page in 2007. The next death
row inmate in line for execution is Donald Moeller, who kidnapped, raped and
killed 9-year-old Becky O'Connell in 1991.
Attorney General Marty Jackley has said Moeller's appeals are likely to run out
within 2 years.
Moeller's appeals cases were given new life this year, however, when his
lawyers seized upon a purchase in March of sodium thiopental from Mumbai,
India. They challenged the quality of the drug in court documents filed this
summer and fall.
Last month, the Drug Enforcement Administration advised South Dakota against
using the product, prompting the state to inform Moeller's lawyers in early
October of the possible protocol change. Kaemingk's signature this week made it
"It remains the state's expectation that the proceedings should reach a
conclusion within the two-year time frame," Jackley said earlier this month,
even before this week's protocol change. "The state plans to have the
substances or means necessary to carry out the jury and the court's sentence."
Sodium thiopental's only U.S. manufacturer ceased production last year,
prompting many states to switch to pentobarbital, a sedative used in animal
euthanasia. That drug's Danish manufacturer, Lundbeck Inc., decided in August
to cease sales of the drug to U.S. states that use lethal injection.
(source: Argus Leader)
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