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death penalty news----FLA., OHIO, IND., OKLA., ARIZ.
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Rick Halperin
2017-06-14 14:35:45 UTC
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Raw Message
June 14




FLORIDA:

Florida conservatives are rethinking the death penalty


A network of conservatives who are questioning the alignment of capital
punishment with their conservative principles are holding a news conference to
officially announce the group's formation.

The press conference will take place in front of the Orange County Courthouse
on Wednesday, June 14, at 11:00 AM.

The announcement comes after hundreds of death row cases will be returning to
Florida courts for resentencing because Florida's death penalty had been ruled
unconstitutional. These returning cases could overwhelm Florida courts and cost
the state millions of dollars. Speakers at the press conference will call on
Florida state attorneys to settle these cases and avoid the costly process of
seeking death, as well as call for the ultimate repeal of Florida's death
penalty.

"The death penalty process is far too costly, cumbersome, and error-prone to
continue," said James Purdy, 7th Judicial Circuit Public Defender. "Given that
Florida has wrongly convicted and eventually released more people from their
death row (27) than any other state, the stakes are far too high."

Florida is part of a nationwide trend of conservatives re-thinking capital
punishment.

"A growing number of conservative Floridians have concluded that the death
penalty violates our core conservative tenets of valuing life, fiscal
responsibility, and limited

(source: WOFL news)






OHIO:

I-75 shooter Terry Froman found guilty; could face death penalty


An Illinois man has been found guilty of kidnapping his former girlfriend and
then shooting her to death in 2014 in the back of his SUV as he drove along
Interstate 75 near Middletown. The Warren County jury returned the verdict
minutes ago against Terry Froman, 43, and found him guilty of aggravated murder
with special specifications, meaning he can face the death penalty for
34-year-old Kim Thomas's death.

The verdict comes after 3 days of testimony in Judge Joseph Kirby's courtroom.

The jury deliberated 2 hours before returning the verdict, according to court
officials.

Sentencing phase for Froman, who could receive the death penalty, will begin
Thursday morning.

Froman's killing of Thomas came after he shot and killed her son, Eli, in her
Mayfield, Ky. home, then forced her into his SUV. It ended with Froman shooting
himself in the leg and shooting Thomas 3 times as police closed in on the
vehicle on Sept. 12, 2014.

(source: Journal-News)



******************

Guilty verdict in Warren County kidnapping, murder trial----Terry Froman
convicted of killing ex-girlfriend


A man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and her teenage son was found guilty
Tuesday on aggravated murder and kidnapping charges.

Terry Froman was convicted of killing Kim Thomas, 34. He's also accused of
killing Michael Mohney, 17, in September 2014.

Authorities said after Froman shot the teenager multiple times, he drove nearly
400 miles north into Ohio, killing his ex-girlfriend, Thomas, along the way.

Prosecutors said Thomas was killed when state troopers pulled over Froman's SUV
in Warren County.

The sentencing phase begins Thursday morning. Warren County Prosecutor David
Fornshell said Froman is eligible for the death penalty.

(source: WLWT news)






INDIANA:

Experts say Court of Appeals ruling leaves death penalty in limbo


The death penalty in Indiana cannot be carried out as of June 1. That's the day
a Court of Appeals panel declared the lethal injection cocktail adopted by the
Department of Correction "void and without effect" because the agency enacted
its execution protocol without hearings or public input.

Legal experts from Indiana's law schools said the decision casts uncertainty on
the death penalty going forward, though they said by no means is the court's
ruling a moratorium on future executions.

"We're at least 18 months to 2 years before anything happens" in terms of the
state adopting a new execution protocol, predicted Valparaiso University Law
School Dean Andrea D. Lyon, who's written several books and scholarly articles
on the death penalty. She explained that for the DOC to continue to carry out
executions, it's left with 2 options - seek to appeal the decision to the
Indiana Supreme Court or begin the administrative rulemaking process. Neither
of those processes would quickly resolve how Indiana executes death row
inmates.

"I would be surprised if the Indiana Supreme Court took the case," Lyon said.
"It's a pretty clear administrative ruling that follows a lot of precedent and
a lot of common sense ... even though it's on a volatile subject."

"We are disappointed with the Court of Appeals' decision," said Corey Elliot,
spokesman for Attorney General Curtis Hill, after the panel ruled in Roy Lee
Ward v. Robert E. Carter, Jr., Commissioner of the Indiana Department of
Correction, and Ron Neal, Superintendent of the Indiana State Prison, in their
official capacities, 46A03-1607-PL-1685. "At this point, we are closely
reviewing the case, consulting with our client agency and considering all
possible options, one of which is to ask the Indiana Supreme Court to review
the case."

The COA reversed LaPorte Circuit Judge Thomas J. Alevizos' dismissal of a death
row inmate's civil case. Judge John Baker wrote for the court that the
Legislature did not explicitly exempt the DOC from the Administrative Rules and
Procedure Act, so it must conduct public hearings and accept public comments in
formulating an agency rule on how the state will carry out executions.

Administrative review could present the DOC with more political than practical
problems, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law professor David
Orentlicher and other experts said. An administrative rules procedure would
compel DOC to propose its execution protocol, which would then be subject to
public hearings, public comment, and heightened scrutiny.

"Part of the reason it's become difficult to execute is public sentiment has
shifted so much," Orentlicher said. He and others noted Americans are no longer
solidly in favor of capital punishment, and some surveys have shown an even
divide or a majority who disfavor the death penalty. Botched executions and
wrongful convictions in the news in recent months are part of the reason
support for lethal injection has declined, he said.

Meanwhile, Orentlicher said companies don't want to be known as manufacturers
of drugs used as part of the lethal-injection cocktail, and fewer physicians
are willing to assist in administering a fatal dose.

Racial bias and other factors also play a role in declining support for the
death penalty, he said, and studies show executions are not always reserved for
those cases deemed "the worst of the worst."

Among other things, "It depends on the prosecutor, the jury, and how good your
defense lawyer is," he said. "What we're finding is, it turns on inappropriate
factors, who gets the death penalty."

Notre Dame Law School professor Rick Garnett also noted the ruling came against
the backdrop of ongoing debate about the death penalty generally, and lethal
injection in particular. Nevertheless, he said the DOC could adopt the same
lethal injection protocol that the COA voided, which includes a drug never used
in a U.S. execution, as long as it does so in accordance with ARPA.

"Even if the ruling stands, it does not directly limit Indiana's ability to
impose capital punishment but instead only requires the development of rules,"
Garnett said.

Still, he said, "Several high-profile cases have reminded the public that the
mere fact lethal injections appear clinical and 'modern' does not mean they are
humane. Many have argued that far greater care is needed by state officials and
prison administrators to make sure that, assuming capital punishment continues,
condemned criminals do not suffer painfully and unconstitutionally."

Indiana University Maurer School of Law professor Joseph Hoffmann doubts the
ruling will have long-term implications for the death penalty in Indiana. "The
Indiana Court of Appeals basically said if the Department of Correction wants
to make a new protocol for a lethal injection drug, it needs to be treated as
an agency rule" rather than as a policy, as the state had argued. "It doesn't
say anything at all about the merits. ... The agency is free in the end to make
whatever decision it thinks is the right decision."

Even so, he noted, "Right now, obviously, nationwide, these drug protocols are
getting all kinds of scrutiny."

Indiana's voided formulation - a never-before-tried drug called methohexital
(known by the brand name Brevital), along with pancuronium bromide and
potassium chloride - was adopted internally by DOC and disclosed some time
later.

Before Steve Creason, the Office of the Indiana Attorney General's chief
counsel of appeals, could begin his defense of the DOC's protocol during oral
arguments last month, he faced a hypothetical about the state's means of
execution from presiding Judge Baker.

"So, you have a press conference tomorrow and you say, 'You know what we're
going to use? We're going to use water.' Is that OK?"

"Yes," Creason said, before clarifying, "That probably wouldn't meet legal
requirements related to cruel and unusual punishment."

Roy Lee Ward, the plaintiff in this case, was sentenced to death in 2007 for
the 2001 rape and murder of 15-year-old Stacy Payne in Spencer County.
According to the DOC's website, there are 12 men on Indiana's death row at the
Indiana State Prison in Michigan City. One of the men, Wayne Kubsch, had his
conviction and sentence tossed out last year by the full 7th Circuit Court of
Appeals and is awaiting retrial. A woman on Indiana death row is housed in
Ohio.

Representing Ward, Fort Wayne attorney David Frank said the state sought to
characterize Ward's suit as an attempt to bar the death penalty, which he said
wasn't the case. No executions are currently scheduled.

The DOC "was trying to issue a new lethal injection protocol by themselves that
has never been used," Frank said. "Before we execute a human being in manner
that's never been done before in the history of country, maybe we should have
some public discussion on it."

Lyon noted more states have abandoned the death penalty, and there isn't the
political danger there once was for politicians to oppose capital punishment.
"Indiana," she noted, "is alone in the 7th Circuit with the death penalty."

(source: The Indiana Lawyer)






OKLAHOMA:

Death penalty not a contradiction


A recent letter listed reasons against the death penalty ("Opposes death
penalty," May 27). The reasons given, and a lot more, have been considered over
and over in every state that has the death penalty. But it is not a "direct
contradiction of Christianity."

"Thou shalt not kill" does not take the authority away from the state. It
refers to the criminal act of murder. Yes, Christ's death for all sin, past,
present and future does cover the sin of murder, but not the consequences.

Tragically, innocent people have been sentenced to death. No one found guilty
of murder ought to be sentenced to die if there is even a slight possibility, a
reasonable doubt, regarding mistaken identity.

The cost to taxpayers due to appeals procedures is ridiculous.

Many of lifers have killed innocent prison guards and inmates. Yes, they can
pose a threat to society.

In a capital crime, any prosecuting attorney who in closing arguments says, "He
that is without sin, case the first stone" would deserve a complaint to the bar
association. Forgiveness is up to the victim's family, not the jury.

States provide public defenders to those who can't afford a lawyer. They offer
every reason possible to spare the life of the person convicted, giving no
regard to the wishes of the victim's family.

The few who are sentenced to die are usually better off dead than alive.

(source: Letter to the Editor, Cliff Hjelm----Tulsa World)






ARIZONA:

Murder Trail Begins for Woman in Abuse Death of Young Cousin


A trial has started for an Arizona woman charged with murder in the death of a
10-year-old girl who was locked in a small plastic storage box that was left
outside overnight in the middle of summer.

Opening statements began Monday in the death penalty case against Sammantha
Allen, a cousin of victim Ame Deal.

Allen is accused of helping her husband, John Allen, lock Deal in the box in
July 2011. Deal suffocated and was found dead the next day as temperatures
surpassed 100 degrees.

Authorities say the couple forced Deal to stand outside and do exercises
against a wall then forced her into the bin with a lid that was closed and
locked by John Allen.

The bin only had small holes near the handles for air, Maricopa County Deputy
County Attorney Jeannette Gallagher told jurors.

In her opening statement, Gallagher also quoted Sammantha Allen as telling
police, "'I didn't even wake up to go unlock it, and I thought about it.'"

Allen's attorney argued the form of punishment was commonplace in the household
and was done at the request of Deal's aunt, Cynthia Stoltzmann, her legal
guardian.

The defense argued that Sammantha Allen was almost certainly guilty of child
abuse but not murder.

Authorities allege Deal's death came after a long history of abuse at the hands
of multiple relatives. When she died. Deal lived with at least 10 adults and
children in a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home.

Witnesses on Monday described the Phoenix house as dirty and unkempt, smelling
of urine with trash and bugs on the floor.

Retired Phoenix Police Officer Albert Salaiz, who was the first officer on the
scene after Deal's family found her dead and called 911, testified that he saw
Deal laid on her back, with her knees pulled up to her chest and her hands in a
claw-like position.

"She was very dirty, soiled it looked like, and it appeared to me that her lips
were yellow," he said.

In opening statements, both sides referred to a question about whether
Sammantha Allen told John Allen to let Ame out of the bin before she fell
asleep.

Both defendants are charged with 1st-degree murder and child abuse. 3 other
relatives were convicted of abusing Ame and are currently in prison.

The girl's father, David Deal, previously pleaded guilty to attempted child
abuse and was sentenced to jail. Stoltzmann was sentenced to 25 years in prison
for attempted child abuse.

John Allen's trial is expected to start Aug. 7.

(source: Associated Press)


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