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death penalty news----TEXAS, S.C., KY., NEV., ARIZ., CALIF.
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Rick Halperin
2017-11-24 16:19:37 UTC
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Nov. 24




TEXAS:

Texas Trooper Fatally Shot On Thanksgiving, Suspect In Custody----The trooper,
a married father of 3, was fatally shot during a Thanksgiving traffic stop. The
suspect was arrested after more gunfire.



A Texas state trooper was shot and killed during a traffic stop in Freestone
County late Thanksgiving afternoon, and the suspect is in custody a manhunt
ended in gunfire about 125 miles away. The trooper, identified as Damon Allen,
stopped the suspect in Fairfield, located about 90 miles south of Dallas, for a
traffic violation.

As Allen was walking back to his car, the suspect fired at him multiple times
with a rifle, killing the trooper at the scene, Lt. Lonny Haschel of the Texas
Department of Public Safety said in a statement.

The 41-year-old married father of 3 had been a trooper for the department since
2002.

"Our DPS family is heartbroken tonight after one of Texas' finest law
enforcement officers was killed in the line of duty," DPS Director Steven
McCraw said in a statement.m"Trooper Allen's dedication to duty, and his
bravery and selfless sacrifice on this Thanksgiving Day, will never be
forgotten."

The suspect, Dabrett Black, 32, fired an unspecified number of shots when
police caught up with him about 50 miles northwest of Houston, the Waller
County Sheriff''s Department said in a Facebook post. Black had been identified
by a sheriff's deputy for Waller County, which is about 125 miles away from
Fairfield.

"Our hearts are saddened by the loss of a brother in blue," the Waller County
Sheriff's Department said on Facebook.

Black will face capital murder charges, the Department of Public Safety said.
That means prosecutors could ask for the death penalty.

He was captured after search that included the use of a Texas Department of
Public Safety helicopter, Waller County sheriff's officials said. A live police
radio dispatch carried on broadcastify.com indicated Black abandoned his
vehicle for a time near the town of Prairie View, where he was surrounded by
police, who used night goggles and lasers to find and track him as he moved
through hay bales. They weren't sure if he still had his rifle.

(source: patch.com)








SOUTH CAROLINA:

'Our hearts were in disbelief' - Federal judge's stay of execution not only
obstacle in Stone's case----Obtaining drugs needed for lethal injection an
'unscalable wall'



The Dec. 1 execution of Bobby Wayne Stone, 52, who was sentenced to death for
killing a Sumter County sergeant in 1996, has been delayed in response to a
court order from his attorneys, but the order was not the only thing keeping
what would be the 1st execution in South Carolina in 6 years from going
through.

The fate of the execution was already uncertain because the state does not
possess 1 of the 3 drugs needed for the lethal injection.

U.S. District Court Judge Mary Geiger Lewis granted the stay of execution after
noting Stone's attorneys filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus - a court
order requiring an imprisoning agency to prove that a person's detainment is
justified.

Stone was convicted in 1997 of killing Sgt. Charlie Kubala, 32, of Sumter
County Sheriff's Office on Feb. 26, 1996, when Kubala responded to a call about
a suspicious person at a residence on Taylor Street off Boulevard Road.

"The shooting was unprovoked," Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis said.
"That's why I think the penalty is justified."

Dennis said multiple officers called him after the state Department of
Corrections announced the execution date, saying that justice would finally be
served.

However, many of those officers were upset to learn that the execution may have
been delayed for another reason, had the federal judge not granted the stay of
execution.

South Carolina does not have all 3 drugs needed to administer an execution by
lethal injection: pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride.

The state's supply of pentobarbital expired in 2013, and attempts to obtain the
drug have failed because drug companies do not want the public to know the
drugs are being provided for executions, according to The Associated Press.

This problem is made even more frustrating for some because states such as
Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas have "shield laws" that protect the identities of
such drug companies.

Dennis said he understands the position of the those companies and their
priority to protect themselves.

The sheriff's issue instead lies with the fact that justice meets a seemingly
unscalable wall when it comes to the death penalty in this state.

Why was a shield law not passed prior to scheduling the execution, Dennis
asked. The jury and judge have spoken, but Kubala's family continues to go on
with the injustice, he said.

Dennis said he will advocate for a law to protect the identity of the
businesses to ensure that other families do not face the same injustice.

"If the state has the death penalty, we should have looked into this years
ago," he said. "The law should have already been passed."

Despite the standstill, Dennis said he does not blame America's justice system,
which he said is the greatest in the world.

Kubala was married with 2 children - who were 6 and 11 at the time - when he
was killed.

His mother, Peggy Kubala, could not be reached for comment before press time.

If the shooting had not happened, Dennis said he is certain the sergeant would
have gone farther in the agency.

Stone took that away from him, and he took Kubala away from his family, he
said.

Dennis said he was one of the deputies who helped search for Stone after the
shooting.

"Our hearts were in disbelief because one of our own was gunned down," he said.

Kubala - who was wearing a bulletproof vest - was shot in the ear and
collarbone, and was later pronounced dead at Tuomey Regional Medical Center.

Stone was sentenced to 30 years for 1st-degree burglary and 5 years for
possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime in 1996.

Stone - who was 31 at the time - testified in court that his .22-caliber
semi-automatic pistol accidentally went off when he turned around after hearing
a man yelling at him from the yard of the Taylor Street residence. Kubala was
shot twice.

(source: The Sumter Item)








KENTUCKY:

He's one of Louisville's most notorious accused killers. Now, his own life is
on the line



He once boasted that he had killed 10 men.

Ricky Kelly also likened himself to Caesar, telling a fellow inmate in a
secretly recorded conversation that he tried to "implement fear in people" to
control them. "You do something real graphic in front of a mother f-----," he
said, "they don't want that to happen to them."

Former Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Stengel called Kelly "the most frightening
person I've come across in 30 years of law enforcement," while former
Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert White said his record shows a "total
disregard for life."

And a member of Kelly's own crew, Tao Parker, told authorities that fellow
dealers were so scared of him that he had a hard time finding anyone to sell
him drugs.

Now, 7 years after Louisville's most notorious criminal was charged with
complicity in 8 murders, Kelly finally will go on trial for just 1 - allegedly
shooting rival drug dealer Lajuante "Bebe" Jackson as he sat on his porch in
the Sheppard Square housing project on Aug. 19, 2005.

The trial, set to begin Dec. 1 in Jefferson Circuit Court, could help close the
books on a deadly time in Louisville fueled by wars over crack cocaine. It also
should finally resolve a case that has taken a tortuous path through the
criminal justice system and that has been marked by tragic irony.

First, after a county grand jury charged Kelly in the 8 slayings - including
that of federal witness Gail Duncan, who was shot dead by masked men in front
of her daughter - the commonwealth dropped all charges, saying it feared for
the safety of witnesses.

Kelly was then indicted in federal court, where the names of witnesses don't
have to be disclosed in advance, but only in connection with Jackson's murder.

But the federal charges against Kelly and co-defendant Dion Dajuan Neal - who
allegedly paid for the execution to protect a drug trafficking organization -
were dropped after crucial eyewitness Greg Sawyers was gunned down in the
street.

Now the case is back in state court, where Kelly is charged with murder for
hire, though Neal is not charged at all.

Kelly's lawyers, Mac Adams and Daniel Alvarez, say that it is illogical and
that they will make the discrepancy a centerpiece of their defense.

"How can the commonwealth seek the death penalty based on the allegations that
Kelly was paid when it is not prosecuting the man who allegedly paid him?''
Adams asked. "What does that say about their proof - about their whole case?"

Prosecutors Elizabeth Brown Jones and Justin Janes declined comment on the
evidence.

Judge Angela McCormick Bisig has ruled that it is up to the jury to decide both
if Kelly committed the murder and was paid to do it. If convicted, Kelly could
face the death penalty.

Kelly's lawyers wouldn't let him talk to a reporter. But in an unsolicited
phone call last summer, the defendant, now 47 and jailed since 2015 on a
$500,000 bond, professed his innocence and claimed prosecutors have
intentionally delayed his trial because they know they can't convict him.

In a motion he wrote and filed himself, he said, "The commonwealth's case
against defendant has been greatly exaggerated."

There is no physical evidence tying him to Jackson's murder, but the
commonwealth hopes to use Kelly's own words to convict him.

In a conversation surreptitiously recorded in 2010 by another inmate, Rico
English, at the Green River Correctional Complex, Kelly described in graphic
terms how he ended Jackson's life.

"First shot hit him in the chest," Kelly told English, who was wearing a body
wire. "I dropped that mother------. Pop, pop pop. ... I put 36 slugs in that
n-----'s face and stood on his head. The whole head collapsed."

"The only way my name got involved," Kelly added, "is that ... I did it bare
face."

"Dion gave me $5,000" to kill Jackson, Kelly is heard saying on the recording
made for the U.S. Secret Service and Louisville Metro Police.

Prosecutors in court papers indicate they will build their case with as many as
73 recordings made in various jails and prisons they say reveal his
"consciousness of guilt" for the crime.

The commonwealth also has said it has as many as 20 "cooperators," including
witnesses such as Parker, the ex-crew member, who told investigators Kelly
casually claimed Jackson's murder, saying "Yeah, got his ass."

The prosecutors' star witness may be Francois Cunningham, an admitted killer
placed in the federal witness protection program after he agreed to testify.

Cunningham faced capital murder charges himself but in exchange for a lesser
sentence pleaded guilty to killing a couple in Fern Creek Park and burning
their bodies. He told Louisville Metro Detective Denny Butler in 2011 that
Kelly was a hit man who provided "muscle" for legendary drug dealer Reggie
Rice, who died in 2014, and that Duncan and another government witness were
among Kelly's victims.

"He'd rather kill you than waste his time out there selling drugs," said
Cunningham, who also pleaded guilty in another killing in which the victim's
body was dumped in the Outer Loop Landfill.

But Cunningham provided no information about Jackson's death, and Adams said
the defense will try to block evidence about any of the seven other murders, to
which Kelly pleaded not guilty and with which he is no longer charged.

Adams said the defense also will try to exclude any mention of the murder of
Sawyers, who had told investigators he saw Kelly shoot Jackson and saw Neal pay
for the hit. Sawyers was shot dead on East Broadway after surviving 2 previous
attempts on his life.

Former prosecutors who aren't involved in the case say evidence about the other
killings would be admissible only to show motive or a "common scheme or plan"
with Jackson's murder.

Brian Butler and Kent Wicker, ex-prosecutors who are now criminal defense
lawyers, also predict evidence about Sawyers' death will be inadmissible unless
the commonwealth presents substantial evidence tying Kelly to the crime.
Another man was acquitted of Sawyers' murder.

Adams and Alvarez in court papers dismiss the prison recordings as merely
"jailhouse braggadocio."

Butler said the defense will likely argue inmates often brag about violent acts
- falsely - to enhance their credibility and maintain their safety, and try to
show discrepancies between his account and the facts of the crime. Kelly, for
example, boasted of firing 36 bullets into Jackson while an autopsy found only
22.

But Adams said he will try to show discrepancies in eyewitness accounts of the
crime.

Christopher Lee Chalker, for example, told police he was at Jackson's buying
$20 of crack cocaine and described 2 shooters who bore no resemblance to Kelly.

The defense also will portray the prosecution's cooperating witnesses as a
rogues' gallery of "murders, thugs and villains whose testimony was bought with
sweetheart deals on their own charges," Wicker said.

As one of Kelly's former attorneys, Richard Kammen, put it: "They put out the
word that if you pinned something on (Kelly), you'd get out of prison."

Lajuante W. Jackson was 26, married and had one daughter when he was slain. His
family did not respond to letters and other messages seeking comment for this
article.

Records show Kelly was born to a 15-year-old mother, grew up in public housing
in Beecher Terrace and Cotter Homes, and never met his father, who died when he
was 3.

At Crosby Middle School, he was frequently absent or tardy and attended 3
classes for students with learning disabilities. He dropped out of Seneca High
School.

3 of his cousins have been murdered and 1 of his brothers, Antwan "Pearl"
Tolley, is serving 19 years in prison on federal weapons charges.

He told a psychologist that over the years he was shot in the arm and leg and
"witnessed countless murders" of "friends that I know of. I've seen walkup
killings that I refused to be a witness to ... because you just don't do that."

Yet despite telling people he detested snitches, court records show he once
tried to work off marijuana charges by setting up buys for police. His work
produced two arrests before he quit, saying his life was threatened and he was
"like scared."

Kelly was indicted for the 1st time as an adult in 1991, when he was 21, on
drug-trafficking charges. 3 years later, he was charged with attempted murder
after he and 1 of his brothers, Terrell Gray, pulled up next to a truck at a
KFC and opened fire, hitting a man inside. Charges against Gray were dismissed
and Kelly, who pleaded guilty to wanton endangerment, got 1 year in jail.

In the prison recordings, Kelly is heard telling English that he ran his crew
out of "The Spot," a West End clubhouse furnished with a pool table and a hot
tub and stocked with 40 cases of Bud, "Hennessy for myself" and a bowl full of
condoms. The only women allowed were "paid strippers and prostitutes."

But he had other uses for women. He told English he used them to lure men to be
robbed or murdered, then paid them so that they wouldn't implicate him.

"When you give a bitch money, you put blood on her hand," he said, according to
a tape transcript. "Can't no bitch handle life??? in prison.

Kelly was sentenced to 27 years in prison on an array of gun, drug, assault and
persistent felon charges in 1998. After a failed parole, he was returned to
custody and he served out his sentences in March, according to the Kentucky
Corrections Department.

The 7 other murders in which charges against Kelly were dropped remain
unsolved, Metro Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell said.

If Kelly is acquitted of Jackson's murder, he will walk out of court a free
man.

KEY DATES

--Aug. 19, 2005: Lajuante W. Jackson, 26, is shot dead at 744 S. Clay St.

--July 7, 2010: Ricky Kelly, then 39, is charged with 8 counts of complicity to
murder for the deaths of Jackson as well as Gail Duncan on April 11, 1996;
Deron Cole on July 24, 1996; John Sanders on Oct. 21, 1996; Charles Lewis on
July 1, 1998; Blair Kidwell on July 3, 1998; Craig Jones on July 8, 2005; and
Warren King on July 13, 2006. Kelly is also charged with trafficking in
cocaine.

--November 2010: Greg Sawyers tells a federal grand jury he saw Kelly shoot
Jackson and that Dion Dajuan Neal - Sawyers' cousin - paid Kelly "10 stacks,"
or $10,000, for the hit. Sawyers is released on home incarceration on a cocaine
trafficking charge.

--March 25, 2011: All state charges are dropped, in part to protect witnesses,
prosecutors said. Kelly and later Dion Dajuan Neal are charged with murder in
aid of a drug trafficking organization under a federal anti-racketeering law.
Neal is accused of paying Kelly for the hit.

--July 27, 2013. Sawyers, 34, is killed. Court records show he received a
threatening letter in jail delivered by a friend of Kelly. Kelly wasn't charged
in connection with the threat or the killing. Orlando Gilmore is later
acquitted in the murder.

(source: courier-journal.com)








NEVADA:

Condemned Nevada killer suicide watch after judge pulls paralytic from
execution----Delay of execution for Scott Raymond Dozier prompts letter to
judge about 'suffering'



Condemned killer Scott Raymond Dozier is on suicide watch at Ely State Prison,
NV. Prison guards resumed monitoring the 47-year-old death row inmate on
November 14, which is when he was slated to die by lethal injection, SF Gate
reported. Dozier was initially on suicide watch after James Dzurenda, Director
of Nevada's Department of Corrections (DOC), nixed the 2-time killer's
voluntary execution on November 9.

Dzurenda's decision to postpone the execution was precipitated by Clark County
District Court Judge Jennifer Togliatti removing the cisatracurium, a paralytic
drug, from the state's intended death cocktail. Nevada is awaiting the state's
Supreme Court to review and rule on the injection protocol to be administered
in the delivery of capital punishment.

Judge removed paralytic from lethal injection drug mix

The state's lethal injection protocol has not been previously used in the
United States. Until November 9, the state planned on administered the
cisatracurium, as well as diazepam and fentanyl. As a result of concerns that
the paralytic could render Dozier incapable of signaling pain and could lead to
suffocation, the judge removed cisatracurium from the 3-drug execution mix.

Dozier wrote Judge Togliatti a handwritten letter, which was sent on November
13, asking that she remove the stay of execution issued as an effect of worries
about the paralytic drug, KOLO 8 News reported. He stated that he's now
"suffering" because of an "unnecessary delay," according to Brooke Keast, the
spokeswoman for NV DOC.

Murderer tells judge waiting for execution 'seems unjust'

The condemned inmate also noted in his letter to the judge that he's "been very
clear" about volunteering to be executed.

He has not wavered, he stated, "even if suffering is inevitable," according to
SF Gate.

The killer stated that it "seems unjust" that he must wait while the state's
highest court reviews the injection protocol. Mohave Valley Daily News
reported, however, that it is not known when the court will review the case
since no documents have been "submitted." Additionally, no hearing has been
scheduled by the high court.

The next district court hearing respective of the case is set for December 7 in
Las Vegas. Dozier is scheduled to be the 1st of Nevada's death row inmates who
will be executed in the state's new ADA-compliant $860,000 death chamber. He
will also be the 1st inmate executed since Daryl Mack, who also volunteered for
execution in 2006.

Death row inmate murdered twice

Dozier was given the death penalty in 2007 after he was convicted of murdering
Jeremiah Miller, 22, in 2002. He also dismembered Miller, stuffed his torso in
a suitcase, and tossed him in a trash dumpster. Dozier also murdered Jason
Greene, 26.

Greene's body was discovered in 2002. His body was found in a plastic
container, which had been dumped in the Arizona desert.

Nevada having problems getting execution drugs

Nevada is not unlike additional death penalty states that have scheduled
executions. Both Nebraska and South Carolina have also had problems attaining
drugs that have been used in prior capital punishments. The problem is that
drug manufacturers fear retribution without shield laws in place. The
pharmaceutical company Pfizer, for instance, recently requested that Nevada and
Nebraska return fentanyl, as well as diazepam.

After receiving the demand, the Nevada DOC said that it is not returning drugs
it purchased from Pfizer-affiliate Cardinal Health. Keast explained, in earlier
news reports, the state isn't obligated to give back pharmaceuticals that were
bought legally.

(source: blastingnews.com)








ARIZONA:

Arizona case could quash death penalty----Execution critics optimistic that
time is right for high court to revisit capital punishment



An Arizona death row inmate's Supreme Court case could force an end to capital
punishment in Texas and across the country.

The appeal, filed by the powerhouse attorney behind the Hawaii federal case
fighting President Donald Trump's travel ban, challenges the overly broad
qualifying factors that can make a murder conviction death-eligible in Arizona.
But if the court chooses to take up the question, any ruling could impact the
Lone Star State's death chamber - or shut it down entirely.

"It's a broken system," said Ben Cohen, a lawyer with the Promise of Justice
Initiative, which filed an amicus brief supporting the appeal. "I think the
Supreme Court will ultimately come to the place that the vast majority of
Americans have come to, which is that the death penalty is unnecessary and
excessive."

Attorney Neal Katyal is representing Abel Hidalgo, who was convicted in a
gang-related $1,000 contract killing in 2001. His petition, filed in August,
asks the Court to consider two factors: whether Arizona law is not narrow
enough to be constitutional and whether the death penalty as a whole is
unconstitutional.

The Court can choose to take up either or both questions - or refuse to hear
the case altogether. If the justices accept the case, it'll head to oral
arguments and a decision could come by mid-2018.

The issue of the breadth or narrowness of crime statutes involving capital
punishment is a decades-old legal debate. In 1972, a groundbreaking Supreme
Court decision eliminated the death penalty, deeming existing laws too
arbitrary.

States responded by revising their laws to include specific "aggravating
circumstances" that could make a case capital - and the justices validated the
new statutes in a 1976 decision.

In Texas, those aggravating factors include multiple murders, slayings of
children under the age of 10, murder-for-hire and murders committed in the
course of other crimes like rape or burglary.

In Arizona, a slightly broader set of aggravating factors includes killings
involving a stun gun, "especially heinous" slayings, murder-for-hire, murders
committed in a "cold, calculated manner with pretense of moral or legal
justification" and more.

The court hasn't really looked at the death penalty as a whole since 1976,
Cohen said.

"But it looks at cases about the death penalty and the machinery of the death
penalty," he continued. "And every year, it tinkers with that machinery and
every year it fails to yield a system that accurately identifies the worst of
the worst."

Ripe for reconsideration

The justices could have announced a decision on whether to take the case this
month, but a conference slated for Tuesday was called off. The earliest a
decision could come now is in December.

Even if the court doesn't rule on the broader question, the Arizona-specific
question could end up impacting Texas, where "almost every murder" is eligible
for the death penalty, according to Jessica Brand, legal director at the Fair
Punishment Project.

Having a case heard by the Supreme Court is always a long shot. But some
experts are optimistic the time is ripe for a reconsideration of the nation's
harshest punishment - especially since Justice Stephen Breyer's 2015 landmark
dissent calling for a "full briefing" on the matter.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy and Sonia Sotomayor have all
expressed concerns about capital punishment in different contexts - and it only
requires 4 votes for the Supreme Court to take up a case.

"I don't know which case they'll take and I don't know when they'll take it,"
Cohen said. "But I do know that it's coming."

(source: Houston Chronicle)








CALIFORNIA:

Thanksgiving on Death Row



Editor's note: Kevin Cooper was convicted of a 1983 quadruple murder in a trial
in which evidence that might have exonerated him was withheld from the defense.
His case was scrutinized in a June 19 New York Times column by Nicholas
Kristof. Visit savekevincooper.org for more information.



As I sit here in a 4 1/2-by-11-foot cage on Thanksgiving Day, I first and
foremost am thankful to be alive. On Feb. 10, 2004, I came within 3 hours and
42 minutes of being strapped down to a gurney, tortured with lethal poison and
murdered by volunteer prison-guard executioners. So, yes, I am very thankful to
be alive. I am also very thankful for all the people - my legal team, friends,
family, supporters and activists working to end the death penalty - who have
helped make my being alive possible.

I have been in a cage like this, with 2 feet of space between the side of the
bed and the wall, for most of my adult life, for murders I did not commit. I
eat prison slop for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the guards look up my butt
at least once a day to make sure I don't have contraband when I leave this
cage.

I have been on death row in the state of California for more than 32 years,
having come to this place in May 1985, and I have been fighting for my life
ever since. This modern-day plantation in which I am forced to live is a very
dirty and inhumane place for any human being.

After my stay of execution in 2004, I went on to suffer from post-traumatic
stress for years due to that sick ritual of death this prison put me through.
No human being should ever have to endure what I have, not even if they are
guilty of the crime they were convicted of committing.

I am innocent, and my fate now lies in the hands of Gov. Jerry Brown. On Feb.
17, 2016, Norman Hile, my pro bono attorney from the prestigious law firm of
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, filed my petition for clemency in the office of
Gov. Brown. I have respectfully asked the governor and others to look at my
case with an open mind, outside the legal box that has me close to being killed
for murders of which I am innocent. Doing this is truly important, especially
now that many Americans are learning from frequent news reports the truth about
America's criminal justice system and some of the people who work within it.

People have learned that this system is dishonest, and that some of its
investigators, prosecutors and judges cannot be trusted and are more concerned
with winning cases or with following their political ideology than with truth
or justice. This is especially true in my case.

Start with the fact that for the 1st time in the history of the death penalty
in California, as well as within the history of the 9th Circuit Court of
Appeals, 11 federal circuit court judges dissented in one death penalty case -
mine.

To show their concern as to why my case should be heard on its merits before I
am executed, 6 of the 11 stated these words of dissent in my last appeal:
"Public confidence in the proper administration of the death penalty depends on
the integrity of the process followed by the state. ... [24] years of flawed
proceedings are as good as no proceedings at all."

The other 5 judges, showing their concern about the truth not being told in my
case, stated: "The state of California may be about to execute an innocent
man." (One of them, Judge William Fletcher, later said in a speech at New York
University Law School: "[Kevin Cooper] is on death row because the San
Bernardino Sheriff's Department framed him.")

A 12th judge wrote in a separate opinion: "Significant evidence bearing on
Cooper's culpability has been lost, destroyed or left unpursued, including, for
example, blood-covered coveralls belonging to a potential suspect who was a
convicted murderer, and a bloody t-shirt discovered alongside the road near the
crime scene. ... Countless other alleged problems with the handling and
disclosure of evidence and the integrity of the forensic testing and
investigation undermine confidence in the outcome."

There have been many judges in other cases who have turned a blind eye to the
truth and let a poor person get executed, even when there were serious doubts
about that person's guilt, but it is rare for judges to speak out against a
possible execution. If these 12 judges are ignored, what will happen to me will
not be my execution but my murder at the hands of the state of California.

The political ideology of many judges allows them to ignore truth and
injustice. Politics - the politics of life and death - do play a very real part
in this country's criminal justice system. That is why Republicans in
Washington, D.C., would not allow President Obama to replace Antonin Scalia on
the Supreme Court [after his death]. This truth may never be admitted in words,
but actions speak louder than words. Among these actions are the continuing
oppression of people like me, who are poor and fighting for our lives from
within this rotten criminal justice system.

So while finality, rather than justice, may be what certain judges are more
concerned with, it is my hope that others in positions of authority - in
particular the governor - will see the miscarriage of justice in my case and
stand up and speak out to prevent this state from murdering me.

What makes my case unique in many ways is the fact that a dozen federal judges
did just that - they stood up and spoke out against my questionable conviction
- based on all the evidence and not just what the state claims after hiding,
lying, destroying, tampering with, withholding and manipulating the evidence,
all of which is exposed in my clemency petition to Gov. Brown.

Just because other judges in my case chose not to acknowledge the truth about
it doesn't mean I'm guilty. This can be said for all the people who have been
exonerated for crimes, including murder, they did not commit. Certain judges in
their cases upheld bogus convictions and then closed the cases.

I am respectfully asking you, no matter who you are, no matter your religion,
your political party, your skin color or your sexual orientation, no matter
what your job is, your economic class, or anything else that makes you the
individual you are, to please get involved in this fight to save my life, as
well as the fight for our collective humanity.

While I may indeed be murdered by the state of California in the not-too-
distant future, this fight is not just about me. It is much bigger than me or
any one person. It is about us as a people bringing to an end the historic and
horrific crime against humanity that is only done against America's poor
people, especially its black people like me.

My legal team and I have petitioned the governor to grant me an innocence
investigation so that he and everyone else can learn the truth about the law
enforcement misconduct in my case, as well as DNA testing that we hope will
reveal the real killer's DNA and exonerate me.

We are asking the governor to grant me a reprieve so that if this state resumes
executions, I will not be executed. The state has me marked for death and has
me at the top of the execution list, in part because it did not torture and
murder me in 2004, and subsequently because of the attention my case is now
receiving, with many people, including several jurors who convicted me,
believing in my innocence.

There is entirely too much sadness and pain and inhumanity inside these
modern-day prison/plantations to go into any one essay. Just know that I am
thankful on this Thanksgiving Day that my spirit has endured and is keeping me
alive, when all around me is death.

(source: truthdig.com)
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