[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----FLA., ALA., OHIO
rhalperi at smu.edu
Mon Sep 26 22:04:22 CDT 2011
Florida death penalty under scrutiny after Troy Davis execution, Manuel Valle
The state of Florida is under heavy scrutiny following the execution of Georgia
inmate Troy Davis. On September 23, 2011, Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-
Tallahassee, filed a bill to abolish the death penalty in the state. The move
comes one week before Florida is set to execute inmate Manuel Valle, who is
scheduled for execution on September 28, 2011 at 4:00 pm, ET. The ACLU of
Florida announced they will hold a vigil statewide and many protesters and
demonstrators are expected to attend. Amnesty International has urged those
against the death penalty to send urgent appeals to Florida Governor Rick Scott
asking him to commute the death sentence.
Valle was convicted of fatally shooting Coral Gable Police Officer Louis Peña
on April 2, 1978 and firing 2 shots at Officer Gary Spell. Spell testified
against Valle and he was convicted of murder and attempted murder. Valle’s
accomplice, Felix Ruiz was charged and convicted of being an accessory to the
crime and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Manuel Valle was sentenced to
death in May 1978, and then had a new trial in 1981. At that point, he received
another death sentence which was overturned by the US Supreme Court in 1986. In
1988, Valle was sentenced to death for a 3rd time.
On September 8, 2011, the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit refused to
issue Manuel Valle a stay of execution.
(source: The Examiner)
Spring Hill profs join death penalty protest----More than 160 theologians sign
2 Spring Hill College theology professors sign a petition calling for an end to
the death penalty.
Associate Professor of Theology, Dr. Stephen Wilson and Professor of Theology &
Spirituality, Rev. Christopher Viscardi, SJ were among more than 160 Catholic
theologians who called on the United States to abolish capital punishment, and
ask the Church to work "unwaveringly" toward that goal.
Dr. Wilson said, "One of the most heartening things about this statement is
that it comes from people who represent the diverse population that is
Catholicism in the United States. There are scholars with vary different
theological agendas and backgrounds that agree that this is important enough of
an issue for us to speak with one voice. It really is an eclectic collection of
scholars--liberal and conservative, virtue theorists and rights theorists--that
have come together to address this issue. Personally, I think the audience
response to Brian Williams's question about capital punishment to Rick Perry at
a Republican debate impressed upon many of us how much we are indeed surrounded
by what John Paul II described as a 'culture of death'. When the death of
anyone can be glibly applauded, then something has gone horribly wrong in a
The Catholic Moral Theology blog says, " Studies have shown that black
defendants are more likely to receive the death penalty . In many states with
capital punishment, defendants are from 3 to 5 times more likely to be executed
if their victim was white. In states that retain the death penalty, 98 percent
of district attorneys are white and only 1 percent are black. Execution is also
irrevocable, and innocent people have likely been victims of it. Since 1973,
138 persons have been exonerated from death row, most of whom were people of
color and economically poor."
The theologians cited Catholic teaching in its opposition to the death penalty
and said, "We therefore call upon lawmakers and President Obama to immediately
repeal the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which created the
legal conditions for executing a man whose guilt was not established beyond
(source: WALA News)
Ohio governor commutes sentence of death row inmate
Ohio's Republican Governor John Kasich on Monday commuted the death sentence of
convicted killer Joseph Murphy to life without the possibility of parole, his
2nd such action in the past 3 months.
The application of Ohio's death penalty came under question in July when a
federal judge issued a stay of execution for another inmate and called the
state's practices haphazard.
In commuting his sentence, Kasich called Murphy's 1987 murder of Ruth Predmore,
72, "heinous and disturbing," but the death penalty inappropriate given a
brutal upbringing and relatively young age at the time of the crime.
Murphy was 21 when he stabbed Predmore in the neck during a robbery, severing
the carotid arteries and jugular vein. His execution had been scheduled for
October 18 and the Ohio Parole Board had recommended that his sentence be
"Even though as a child and adolescent Murphy suffered uniquely severe and
sustained verbal, physical and sexual abuse from those who should have loved
him, it does not excuse his crime," Kasich said in a statement.
Kasich commuted another inmate's death sentence to life in June and has delayed
other executions. A joint state Supreme Court and bar association task force is
planned to review the state's administration of the death penalty.
The task force will not address whether the state should or should not have a
Ohio has executed 4 men in 2011, according to the Death Penalty Information
Center. Thirty-six people have been executed in the United States so far this
More information about the DeathPenalty