[Deathpenalty] [SPAM] death penalty news----TEXAS, OHIO, CONN., KY.
rhalperi at smu.edu
Wed Apr 25 22:52:04 CDT 2012
TEXAS----stay of execution lifted--impending execution
Appeals Court Lifts Order Stopping Texas Execution
Death row inmate Beunka Adams, 29, is still scheduled to receive a lethal
injection Thursday evening in Huntsville for killing an East Texas man after
robbing a convenience store, after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted
the reprieve that a federal judge in Texarkana gave him on Monday.
Adams, who still has appeals pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, is
scheduled to die just after 6 p.m. Thursday in Huntsville for the September
2002 slaying of Kenneth Vandever, 37, outside of Rusk.
Vandever and 2 women who worked at the store were abducted during the robbery.
1 of the women was raped, and then all 3 were shot.
The women survived, but Vandever died.
On Monday, Adams’ lawyers convinced U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider in
Texarkana that the execution should be delayed until the courts review
allegations that Adams had poor legal help in the early stages of his appeals.
But the 5th Circuit agreed Wednesday with arguments from the Texas Attorney
General's office that the reprieve was improper.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Adams in October 2011.
The robbery happened on Sept. 2, 2002.
Authorities say Adams and his co-defendant Richard Cobb, who’s also on death
row, entered the store wearing masks and demanded money.
Cobb, authorities say, was armed with a 12-gauge shotgun.
Vandever was the only customer in the store at the time.
Adams ordered him and the 2 women, who both worked at the business, to the
front of the store and then demanded cash from the register.
After getting the money, he demanded keys to a car that was parked in front of
the business and one of the women, who borrowed the vehicle to get the work,
The three victims were forced into the car and Adams drove toward Alto,
eventually pulling into a field, authorities said.
Adams, Cobb and the three victims got out and Adams ordered one of the women
and Vandever to get into the trunk.
Then he led the other woman away and raped her, authorities said.
Later Adams and Cobb ordered the three victims to kneel on the ground.
A short time later the women heard one shot, and then a second, authorities
A few moments later, the women said they heard Vandever cry out, “They shot
A 3rd shot struck one of the women in the shoulder and the other, who tried to
play dead, was injured when the shotgun was fired net to her face.
The 2 women ran after Adams and Cobb left.
Officers found Vandever dead of a shotgun wound to the chest.
(source: KWTX News)
Appeals court lifts court order stopping execution
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted a reprieve given earlier this
week to a Texas death row inmate facing execution Thursday in Huntsville.
Beunka Adams' lethal injection for a fatal shooting during an East Texas
convenience store robbery 10 years ago was stopped Monday by a federal judge in
Texarkana. Attorneys contended he had deficient legal help at his trial and in
early stages of his appeals.
But the 5th Circuit agreed Wednesday with arguments from the Texas attorney
general's office that the reprieve was improper.
The 29-year-old Adams is 1 of 2 men sent to death row for the 2002 abduction
and shooting death of 37-year-old Kenneth Vandever of Rusk.
Adams has appeals before the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the execution.
(source: Associated Press)
OHIO----request for information
If you have information to assist, please contact Andrew directly at his
contact info below:
I am looking for jurisdictions where prosecutors either over-indict capital
cases--file lots of cases with death penalty specs, then drop the specs and
plea bargain the cases--or where the law is used more judiciously: only the
worst of the worst cases get a capital charge.
Replying to me directly is fine.
AP Legal Affairs Writer
17 S. High St., Suite 660
Columbus, OH 43215
AWelsh at ap.org
Hatred at Home: Al-Qaida On Trial in The American Midwest,
No Winners Here Tonight: Race, Politics and Geography in One of the
Country’s Busiest Death Penalty States,
CONNECTICUT----death penalty abolished
Amnesty International Press Release----For Immediate Release----April 25, 2012
Amnesty International Praises Connecticut Gov. Malloy For Signing Law to End
Death Penalty; Calls Action “Historic Step Forward for Human Rights”
Amnesty International USA today applauded Governor Dannel P. Malloy for signing
into law SB280, which repeals the death penalty in Connecticut for all future
cases. The organization urged lawmakers considering repeal in other states to
follow Connecticut’s example and vote to reject the “ultimate” human rights
Connecticut joins 16 other states and the District of Columbia, all of which
now ban capital punishment.
“Lawmakers in Connecticut finally saw the death penalty for what it is – a
barbaric and irreversible punishment that does nothing to stop crime or support
its victims,” said Suzanne Nossel, executive director, Amnesty International
USA. “And no group helped them see these facts more clearly than the families
of murder victims. Nearly 200 of these courageous individuals stood up to say
that countering one murder with a state-sanctioned killing would only prolong
and deepen their anguish. They made the difference in Connecticut. We are very
proud to stand with these families today to celebrate an historic step forward
for human rights.”
5 states have abolished the death penalty in the last five years, and 800,000
voters in California have endorsed a ballot initiative, which, if successful
this November, would repeal capital punishment in the nation’s largest state. A
majority exists in the Maryland State Legislature to repeal the death penalty
and one legislative chamber in both Colorado and Montana have passed bills to
repeal capital punishment in recent years. In Oregon, the governor has declared
a moratorium on all executions.
2/3 of all nations (141) have rejected the death penalty. Amnesty
International’s 2012 annual global death penalty survey placed the United
States among the top 5 countries that continue to execute prisoners, with
China, Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.
The shift in U.S. public opinion on the death penalty is reflected in opinion
polls and in jury rooms. The latest Gallup poll shows public support for the
death penalty at its lowest since 1972, and death sentences have plummeted
nationwide over the past decade.
Laura Moye, director of Amnesty International USA’s Death Penalty Abolition
Campaign, said: “Not only is the death penalty the ultimate human rights
violation, but it is bad public policy. We are better off redirecting public
funds and energy to solving the vast number of cold cases and providing greater
support to the victims of violent crime, rather than wasting funds on
maintaining this enormously expensive and inhuman practice.”
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist
organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in
more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The
organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the
public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and
dignity are denied.
(source: Amnesty International USA)
press release ---- Connecticut Repeals Death Penalty; Repeal effort led by
coalition of nearly 200 family members of murder victims
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed legislation repealing the death
penalty today, making Connecticut the fifth state to do so in five years.
"This takes the momentum for repeal up a notch. We have another state saying,
'we've tried this experiment and the death penalty has failed,'" said Shari
Silberstein, Executive Director of Equal Justice USA (EJUSA), a national
organization that supports repeal of the death penalty.
Connecticut joins Illinois, New Mexico, New Jersey, and New York to become the
17th state without a death penalty. Montana, Colorado, Kansas, and Maryland
have also considered repeal, and more than 800,000 Californians have signed to
put the issue on the ballot in November.
"The death penalty is clearly on its way out. From East to West, states find
the same flaws with the death penalty. It makes mistakes, is ineffective and
unfairly applied, and it fails to meet the needs of the people whose loved ones
are murdered," said Silberstein.
The Connecticut repeal effort was fueled by support from family members of
murder victims. More than 180 family members called upon the Connecticut
legislature to repeal the death penalty. Dozens called and visited lawmakers,
spoke to the media, attended the votes in Hartford, and started a blog -
These family members have repeatedly described the damaging effects of the
death penalty, explaining how victims' families - regardless of their personal
positions on the issue - have been failed by the current system. The long trial
and appeals process, which is necessary to prevent the execution of an innocent
person, re-traumatizes victims, forcing them to relive the crime in both the
courts and media.
"We've known for a long time that the death penalty costs millions more than
life without parole, and that it fails victims' families and law enforcement -
the very constituencies it purports to help," said Silberstein. "It is now
difficult to say that we need the death penalty for the families of homicide
victims, because in Connecticut and around the country they are calling for its
EJUSA is a national, grassroots organization working to build a criminal
justice system that is fair, effective, and responsive to all parties impacted
Conn. governor signs bill to repeal death penalty
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has signed legislation into law that abolishes
Connecticut's death penalty for future crimes.
The Democrat signed the bill on Wednesday afternoon, behind closed doors, with
no ceremony or fanfare.
Malloy called it "an historic moment" as Connecticut joins 16 other states that
have abolished capital punishment. He said it was a moment "for sober
reflection, not celebration."
The bill was signed the same day that a new Quinnipiac University Poll showed
that a majority registered voters in Connecticut, 62 %, favor the death penalty
for those people convicted of murder. The same survey found 47 % of voters
disapprove of Malloy's handling of the issue, while 33 % approve.
A former prosecutor, Malloy said his position on the death penalty has evolved
over the years.
(source: Associated Press)
GOV. MALLOY ON SIGNING BILL TO REPEAL CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
Governor Dannel P. Malloy today released the following statement after signing
S.B. 280, An Act Revising the Penalty for Capital Felonies:
“This afternoon I signed legislation that will, effective today, replace the
death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release as the
highest form of legal punishment in Connecticut. Although it is an historic
moment – Connecticut joins 16 other states and the rest of the industrialized
world by taking this action – it is a moment for sober reflection, not
“Many of us who have advocated for this position over the years have said there
is a moral component to our opposition to the death penalty. For me, that is
certainly the case. But that does not mean – nor should it mean – that we
question the morality of those who favor capital punishment. I certainly don’t.
I know many people whom I deeply respect, including friends and family, that
believe the death penalty is just. In fact, the issue knows no boundaries: not
political party, not gender, age, race, or any other demographic. It is, at
once, one of the most compelling and vexing issues of our time.
“My position on the appropriateness of the death penalty in our criminal
justice system evolved over a long period of time. As a young man, I was a
death penalty supporter. Then I spent years as a prosecutor and pursued
dangerous felons in court, including murderers. In the trenches of a criminal
courtroom, I learned firsthand that our system of justice is very imperfect.
While it’s a good system designed with the highest ideals of our democratic
society in mind, like most of human experience, it is subject to the
fallibility of those who participate in it. I saw people who were poorly served
by their counsel. I saw people wrongly accused or mistakenly identified. I saw
discrimination. In bearing witness to those things, I came to believe that
doing away with the death penalty was the only way to ensure it would not be
“Another factor that led me to today is the ‘unworkability’ of Connecticut’s
death penalty law. In the last 52 years, only 2 people have been put to death
in Connecticut – and both of them volunteered for it. Instead, the people of
this state pay for appeal after appeal, and then watch time and again as
defendants are marched in front of the cameras, giving them a platform of
public attention they don’t deserve. It is sordid attention that rips open
never-quite-healed wounds. The 11 men currently on death row in Connecticut are
far more likely to die of old age than they are to be put to death.
“As in past years, the campaign to abolish the death penalty in Connecticut has
been led by dozens of family members of murder victims, and some of them were
present as I signed this legislation today. In the words of one such survivor:
‘Now is the time to start the process of healing, a process that could have
been started decades earlier with the finality of a life sentence. We cannot
afford to put on hold the lives of these secondary victims. We need to allow
them to find a way as early as possible to begin to live again.’ Perhaps that
is the most compelling message of all.
“As our state moves beyond this divisive debate, I hope we can all redouble our
efforts and common work to improve the fairness and integrity of our criminal
justice system, and to minimize its fallibility.”
(source: Office of the Governor)
(source: Stratford Patch)
Connecticut becomes 17th state to abolish death penalty
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill into law Wednesday that abolishes
the death penalty, making his state the 17th in the nation to abandon capital
punishment and the 5th in 5 years to usher in a repeal.
The law is effective immediately, though prospective in nature, meaning that it
would not apply to those already sentenced to death. It replaces the death
penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release as the state's
highest form of punishment.
"Although it is an historic moment -- Connecticut joins 16 other states and the
rest of the industrialized world by taking this action -- it is a moment for
sober reflection, not celebration," Malloy said in a statement.
He added that the "unworkability" of Connecticut's death penalty law was a
contributing factor in his decision.
Death penalty by state "In the last 52 years, only 2 people have been put to
death in Connecticut -- and both of them volunteered for it," Malloy said.
"Instead, the people of this state pay for appeal after appeal, and then watch
time and again as defendants are marched in front of the cameras, giving them a
platform of public attention they don't deserve."
This month, lawmakers in the state's House of Representatives passed the bill
by a vote of 86 to 63. The state Senate had approved it a week before.
State lawmakers first tried to pass a similar bill in 2009 but were ultimately
blocked by then-Gov. Jodi Rell, a Republican.
Capital punishment has existed in the Nutmeg State since its colonial days. But
it was forced to review its death penalty laws beginning in 1972, when a
Supreme Court decision required greater consistency in its application.
A moratorium was then imposed until a 1976 decision by the high court upheld
the constitutionality of capital punishment.
Since then, Connecticut juries have handed down 15 death sentences. Of those,
only 1 person has been executed, according to the Death Penalty Information
Center, a nonpartisan group that studies death penalty laws.
Michael Ross, a convicted serial killer, was put to death by lethal injection
in 2005 after he voluntarily gave up his appeals.
The state now has 11 people on death row.
Advocates of a repeal say that Connecticut's past law kept inmates -- who were
often engaged in multiple appeals -- on death row for extended periods of time,
costing taxpayers far more than if the convicts were serving a life sentence in
the general prison population.
They also point to instances in which wrongful convictions have been overturned
with new investigative methods, including forensic testing.
Opponents of the repeal had said that capital punishment is a criminal
deterrent that offers justice for victims and their families.
In the last 5 years, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Illinois have
repealed the death penalty. California voters will decide the issue in
Connecticut repeals death penalty as abolitionists hail 'great
step'----Governor describes punishment as one of the 'most compelling and
vexing issues of our time' as he signs SB280 into law
Connecticut has abolished the death sentence for all future cases, becoming the
5th state in 5 years to repeal the ultimate punishment as the abolition
movement gathers steam across America.
The governor of Connecticut, Dannel Malloy, described the death penalty as one
of the "most compelling and vexing issues of our time", as he put his signature
to SB280, rendering his state the 17th in America to make a break with judicial
killings. The bill replaces the death sentence with life without parole for all
Unusually in a case of a state repealing the death sentence, Connecticut's 11
death row prisoners will remain facing execution as the new law is not
retroactive. Politically it was deemed too controversial to extend the repeal
to those already convicted.
Among the most vociferous opponents of its repeal were Dr William Petit, who
was the sole survivor of a brutal attack on his family home in 2007 in which
his wife and 2 daughters were murdered. Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes
are on death row for the notorious killings in Cheshire, Connecticut.
"We believe in the death penalty because we believe it is really the only true
just punishment for certain heinous and depraved murders," Petit said earlier
Despite the retention of Connecticut's death row in historic cases,
abolitionists welcomed the state's move. Brian Evans of Amnesty USA said "we
oppose executions in all circumstances, but for a state to abolish the death
penalty going forward is still a great step for the US."
In the past few days significant moves towards repealing or questioning the
death penalty in America have come thick and fast.
On Monday abolitionists in California succeeded in putting a question on the 6
November ballot that would replace capital punishment with life without parole
for the state's 700 death row inmates. Also this week a judge in North Carolina
issued the first ruling under that state's new Racial Justice Act. Judge
Gregory Weeks took convicted murderer Marcus Robinson, who is black, off death
row because he found prosecutors had deliberately limited the number of black
jurors sitting on capital cases.
Last week the National Research Council released the findings of a major study
that concluded that previous research over the past 30 years claiming the death
penalty had a deterrent effect on murder rates was "fatally flawed".
Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center said that this
confluence of events was not a coincidence. "It is a reflection of the growing
frustration in the death penalty and a realisation that the system isn't
working," he said.
As he signed the Connecticut repeal legislation, Governor Malloy made an
impassioned speech setting out his opposition to capital punishment in America.
He said as a young man he had supported it, but his doubts as grown as he was
working as a prosecutor in criminal cases.
"I learned firsthand that our system of justice is very imperfect … subject to
the fallibility of those who participate in it. I saw people who were poorly
served by their counsel; people wrongly accused or mistakenly identified; I saw
At the signing ceremony he was flanked by some of the more than 100 relatives
of murder victims who had backed abolition in Connecticut. Malloy read a
statement from one family member: "Now is the time to start the process of
healing, a process that could have been started decades earlier with the
finality of a life sentence."
(source: The Guardian)
Connecticut abolishes the death penalty ---- Mr Malloy has faced criticism over
his handling of the death penalty issue
Connecticut has become the 17th state in the US to abolish the death penalty.
Governor Dannel Malloy signed a bill in a low-key ceremony, after legislators
voted earlier in April to end capital punishment for all future cases.
Mr Malloy hailed a "historic moment", but said it was time for "sober
reflection, not celebration".
The Connecticut decision comes 2 days after California confirmed voters will be
asked in November whether they want to abolish their own death penalty law.
Elsewhere, in North Carolina a convicted man was taken off death row last week
after his trial was ruled tainted by racial bias.
Marcus Robinson's case was the1st to be heard under North Carolina's Racial
Justice Act (RJA).
As Mr Malloy signed the bill on Wednesday, a new Quinnipiac University poll
suggested that 62% of registered voters in Connecticut still favour the death
Some 47% of voters disapprove of Mr Malloy's handling of the issue, the poll
2 men sentenced to death in a recent grisly murder case - and the 9 others on
Connecticut's death row - will not have their sentences commuted.
Joshua Komisarjevsky and Stephen Hayes were convicted of the murder of Jennifer
Hawke-Petit and her 2 daughters inside their Cheshire home in 2007.
Komisarjevsky and Hayes still have appeal rights, and it will probably be years
before they are executed.
The murders shocked the US and helped defeat a previous bill to abolish the
death penalty in Connecticut.
Dr William Petit, the only survivor of the home invasion attacks, fought to
oppose the repeal.
Connecticut has only carried out 1 execution in 51 years, in 2005. For all
future cases the highest penalty will be life imprisonment without parole.
New Mexico passed a similar ban in 2009 and did not reduce the sentences of
those previously sent to death row.
(source: BBC News)
Judge: Ky. must consider single drug executions
A Kentucky judge says the state must either switch to a single drug to perform
executions within 90 days or prepare to go to trial in a lawsuit challenging
the state's 3-drug method of carrying out capital punishment.
Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled Wednesday that the state's 3-drug
method may no longer be necessary now that other states have successfully used
a single drug to execute condemned inmates.
The ruling comes about 20 months after Shepherd halted all executions in
Kentucky. He imposed the ban after inmates challenged the three-drug method.
At least 5 states have switched to a 1-drug execution method. 3 states - Ohio,
Washington and Arizona - have conducted single-drug lethal injections. Arizona
put an inmate to death Wednesday using only pentobarbital.
(source: Associated Press)
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