[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----FLA., GA., OKLA., ORE., ARIZ.
rhalperi at smu.edu
Wed Feb 8 10:45:20 CST 2012
Death Row Inmate's Case Before Court
The lawyer for a man set to be executed next week said newly discovered
evidence should spare his client from the death penalty.
Robert Waterhouse's lawyer argued his case before the Florida Supreme Court on
Tuesday. The 65-year-old was sent to death row for the rape and murder of a St.
Petersburg woman in 1980.
Lawyer Robert Norgard disagreed with a lower court judge who found a new
witness not to be credible. That person came forward recently to claim he saw
Waterhouse leaving a bar with 2 men and not with the victim on the night she
Gov. Rick Scott already has signed a death warrant and Waterhouse is scheduled
to be put to death Feb. 15.
(source: Lakeland Ledlger)
Judge denies aging appeal in 1994 death penalty case
A local judge declined this week to grant a new trial to a Columbus man
condemned to death in 1994, turning down an initial appeal that had been
pending for nearly 18 years.
The case of Ward Anthony Brockman is 1 of 3 local death penalty cases that have
been stalled at the earliest appellate stage more than a decade after
conviction. Brockman’s appeal now will be sent to the Georgia Supreme Court for
an automatic review, a step often completed within the first few years of a
A 47-page order signed Monday by Superior Court Judge Gil McBride attributed
the sluggish pace of Brockman’s appeal to the death of a court reporter, a
change in appellate counsel and a dormancy of some eight years in which “no
hearings were held until its subsequent resurrection in 2009.”
The inordinate delay was among dozens of issues Brockman’s defense raised in an
amended motion for a new trial. The defense claimed Brockman’s right to due
process and a meaningful appeal was violated due to the state’s failure to have
the transcript completed in a timely fashion.
But McBride’s order, which was prepared by Assistant District Attorney David R.
Helmick, rejected that assertion and many others.
“Defendant’s argument that he should be granted a new trial because his appeal
was delayed is disingenuous as a very large part of the delay was caused by
defendant’s own inaction,” the order says.
Brockman’s defense attorney, Richard C. Hagler, said he wasn’t “tremendously
surprised” by McBride’s order, adding he expected the case to end up before the
state Supreme Court.
Brockman, 40, admitted to fatally shooting gas station attendant Billy Lynn in
June 1990 during a botched armed robbery. A co-defendant who pleaded guilty to
voluntary manslaughter said Brockman killed the man “to keep him from bragging
to his friends that he stood up to armed robbers.”
Brockman, meanwhile, claimed the gun discharged accidentally after Lynn failed
to hand over his cash. McBride held, however, that jurors were free to
“disbelieve” Brockman’s testimony, adding the evidence at trial was enough to
support the felony murder and attempted armed robbery convictions.
The motion for new trial also argued that Brockman’s death sentence was invalid
because he wasn’t convicted of the underlying capital felony of armed robbery.
Testimony at trial showed Brockman fled the scene of the shooting without
getting any money.
But McBride sided with prosecutors, who said the law only requires a defendant
to be “engaged in the commission” of a capital felony for it to qualify as an
aggravating circumstance in a death penalty case.
(source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer)
Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board to discuss death row clemency hearing
The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board has scheduled a special meeting to discuss
a possible clemency hearing for death row inmate Garry Thomas Allen.
The board is to meet at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the state Department of Corrections
Administrative Office in Oklahoma City.
Allen was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death for the Nov.
21, 1986, fatal shooting of 42-year-old Lawanna Gail Titsworth, the mother of
his children. But Allen's 2005 execution was stayed when prison officials
reported he had developed mental problems on death row.
A jury in 2008 rejected Allen's argument that he shouldn't be put to death and
decided he was sane enough to be executed.
He is currently scheduled to die by injection on Feb. 16.
(source: Associated Press)
Attorneys For Death Row Inmate Michael Washington Challenge Conviction In The
Oregon Supreme Court ---- JDL Attorneys LLP, attorneys for Oregon death row
inmate Michael Spencer Washington Jr., filed their opening brief in the Oregon
Supreme Court, raising over 20 claimed errors committed in the trial.
JDL Attorneys LLP, attorneys for Oregon death row inmate Michael Spencer
Washington, Jr., have filed a 250-page opening brief challenging the conviction
in the Oregon Supreme Court, in case S058490. The brief is available at the
According to the brief, Washington was convicted of the murder of Muhammad
Jabbie in 2010. The principle evidence came from Shirleen Stafford, who
confessed to the murder, but fingered Washington after prosecutors cut her a
deal. Stafford is now free, and Washington is on Oregon's death row.
For past coverage of the case, see:
"In my opinion, after reviewing this case and comparing it to the other capital
crimes in Oregon's history, this case may well have been based on the thinnest
evidence in Oregon's history of capital punishment," says Bronson James,
Washington's lead attorney. "Mr. Washington has always maintained his innocence
in this crime. The only person we know for certain who is responsible for Mr.
Jabbie's death is Shirleen Stafford, and she's walking free, thanks to her deal
with the state."
The brief raises over twenty claimed errors committed by the trial court in the
case, inlcuding improper contact between the court an the jury, secret court
security measures, and prosecutorial miscondct.
No date for argument in the case is currently set.
(source: Associated Press)
3 death-row inmates sue state over executions
3 inmates on Arizona's death row have sued the governor, the state corrections
director and those who conduct executions, arguing that a new execution
protocol violates their constitutional rights.
In a filing obtained by The Associated Press on Monday, the inmates' attorneys
argue that the new protocol - made public last month - gives too much
discretion to Arizona Department of Corrections director Charles Ryan.
The protocol says that Ryan can decide with which and how many drugs to execute
inmates. He has also loosened requirements for those who inject the lethal
Before, everyone on Arizona's execution team needed to have at least 1 year of
current experience with starting intravenous lines. Now, the protocol says that
those on the execution team need only have past experience starting IV lines
and that Ryan can decide whether someone on the medical team is "appropriately
"The Department of Corrections undid the constitutional protections that were
built into the previous protocol and now gives total discretion to the
director," said Dale Baich, the attorney who represents one of the inmates in
Matt Benson, a spokesman for Gov. Jan Brewer, said the governor "is confident
that the procedures followed by the Arizona Department of Corrections are in
accordance with state and federal law."
Corrections spokesman Bill Lamoreaux didn't respond to requests for comment
Monday. He said last week that the department hasn't lowered standards in its
new execution protocol and changed it merely to simplify it.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Arizona on Monday, seeks to have 2
upcoming executions delayed as the litigation plays out. The lawsuit argues
that giving Ryan discretion to execute 1 inmate one way and another inmate in a
different way violates prisoners' rights.
"Clear standards must exist, and deviations from those standards result in
equal protection violations," the lawsuit says.
Baich also argues that the last time Ryan chose an execution team, one of its
members had an arrest record that didn't come to light until after he had
helped conduct the state's past 5 executions by inserting IV lines.
Court records show the team member, a Yuma-based corrections officer, had been
arrested for drunken driving and public intoxication, didn't have a medical
license, and last inserted IV lines on a regular basis in the mid-1990s when he
was in the military.
It's unclear whether the officer is still on the execution team.
The inmates suing include Robert Henry Moormann, who is set to be executed on
Feb. 29 for killing and dismembering his adoptive mother in Florence while on a
"compassionate" furlough from prison. Robert Charles Towery, who was convicted
of killing a man while robbing his home in 1991, is set for execution March 8
and is named in the suit.
The 3rd inmate suing is Pete Rogovich, who was sentenced to death for a 1992
crime spree in which he fatally shot 4 people and robbed 2 businesses. His
execution hasn't been scheduled.
(source: Arizona Daily Star)
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