Discussion:
death penalty news----TEXAS, ALA., OHIO, S.DAK., UTAH, IDAHO, ARIZ., ORE.
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Rick Halperin
2017-10-18 13:40:30 UTC
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Oct. 18




TEXAS----impending executions

Texas Set to Execute Anthony Shore, Who Asked for Death Penalty



A Texas man who confessed to raping and strangling girls - and who asked the
jury to give him the death penalty - is set to be executed Wednesday evening.

Anthony Allen Shore's lawyers said in court papers that their client, known as
the "Tourniquet Killer," should be spared death because he is brain damaged,
and they argued that his trial lawyer did not put on a robust defense.

But appellate judges rejected his appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined
to take up the case. It's not clear whether Shore's lawyers will file a
last-minute challenge.

Shore, 55, was convicted in 2004 of raping and strangling Maria del Carmen
Estrada, 21, in 1992. He was prosecuted after investigators linked the Estrada
murder, a cold case, to DNA that Shore had provided in an unrelated matter.
Although he was tried for just her murder, police said he also confessed to
killing 3 other women from 1986 to 1995.

At his trial, his attorney told jurors that they should find that the crime
included aggravating circumstances that called for the death penalty.

"Anthony has asked on his behalf that we ask you to answer those questions in
such a way that he's sentenced to death," the lawyer told the panel.

"Anthony still believes ... it is time for him to sacrifice his life for what
he has done."

His current attorneys contended that the defense team should have challenged
the state's case during the punishment phase. They also argued that mental
illness should make him ineligible for execution.

The courts disagreed. In January, one panel of judges noted Shore's long
history of violent behavior.

"Shore's sister testified that he stabbed a kitten to death when he was 4 or 5,
that he pushed a screwdriver through his sister's head when they were children,
and that he used his sister to get girls in the neighborhood to come out of
their houses so he could grope and try to kiss them," they wrote.

"Shore's daughters testified about being abused, drugged, and molested by
Shore. His wife and former girlfriends testified that he drugged and raped
them, choked them while having sex, used drugs, and kept pornography of young
girls."

They said the clinical director of a sex offender program "testified that he
had superior intellectual and abstract reasoning abilities; was grandiose,
opportunistic, manipulative, and narcissistic; understood what was socially
acceptable but had sexual deviations and would break a law if he thought he
could get away with it; and scored high on a measure of psychopathy."

If Shore is executed Wednesday, it will be the 7th lethal injection in Texas
this year - more than in any other state.

(source: BBC News)

***********

Stay the execution of Clinton Young.



https://www.change.org/p/change-org-stay-the-execution-of-clinton-young

(source: change.org)

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

Former Death Row inmate: "Go to the ballot box"



Anthony Graves, also known as Death Row Exoneree 138, visited Texas State Oct.
10. Graves shared his story behind being wrongly convicted and spent 18 years
in prison, 12 of which he spent on death row, and motivated students to take
their frustrations by going to vote.

Graves' visit to campus was a part of the 2017-18 Common Experience theme: The
Search for Justice. Graves shared his story in the lecture held in Evans
Auditorium. He explained the process of being falsely accused to the moment he
called his mom when he was released.

"At the most, I thought maybe I have a traffic ticket I forgot to pay," Graves
said. "I never shot a gun in my life."

Graves was charged with capital murder for the death of six people in
Somerville, in 1992. He waited 2 years for trial, where 11 white jurors and 1
black juror convicted him of the crime. Two execution dates later, he was
released in 2010.

Although Graves explained the effects media, racism and injustice had on his
trial, he kept pointing to the importance of going to the ballot box and
holding public officials accountable.

"We have a voice in this thing," Graves said. "You got to use it, and you got
to use it at the ballot box. You got to know who your nominees running for
office are, what they stand for. We are at a place in our country where it is
so important to take your voice to the ballot box."

During the Q&A segment following Graves' testimony, 1 attendee asked Graves how
people can change the criminal justice system. Graves responded, "Find an
organization and donate your time."

Nathan Pino, a professor of sociology, said that Graves' story doesn't just
tell a testimony, but it humanizes the larger issue.

"Graves puts a human face on important issues in the criminal justice system,
and he can provide his personal experience with something that is usually
discussed in the abstract in the classroom," Pino said. "His story can show
students how one can work to make things better and to never give up on working
toward a better future.

Graves' story vocalized the injustices behind the criminal justice system.
Graves said unless someone makes more than $150,000 they are not exempt from
the death penalty, even if innocent.

Shannon Fitzpatrick, an attorney for students, said that students need to
familiarize themselves with our criminal justice system and act from there.

"We choose to execute people that do bad things, but more often than people
would like to believe, we get it wrong," Fitzpatrick said. "That is a huge
risk, and it is pretty well understood that we have actually executed innocent
people. Students need to understand the system that we have in place and either
support it or try to change it for the better, but don't just sit back and say
'those are all bad people' because as Anthony Graves (and hundreds of others)
so clearly demonstrates, they are not all bad."

Common Experience has events planned throughout the academic year, including
more guest speakers and exhibits to emphasize justice.

(source: txstate.edu)








ALABAMA:

Alabama seeks court permission to proceed with execution



Alabama on Tuesday asked an appellate court to allow the execution of an inmate
convicted of killing a police officer in 1997.

The Alabama attorney general's office asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals to overturn a stay that is blocking the execution of Torrey Twane
McNabb. McNabb is one of several inmates in an ongoing lawsuit challenging the
state's use of the sedative midazolam at the start of executions, saying it
would not reliably render them unconscious before other drugs stopped their
lungs and heart.

"Alabama has already carried out 4 executions using this protocol. 3 of those
executed inmates were co-plaintiffs in this case, and their stay requests were
denied by both the Supreme Court and this Court," the Alabama attorney
general's office wrote in the court filing.

McNabb was convicted of killing Montgomery police officer Anderson Gordon in
1997. Prosecutors say McNabb shot Gordon multiple times after the officer
arrived at the scene of a crash that McNabb caused while fleeing a bail
bondsman.

An attorney for McNabb urged the appellate judges to keep the execution on hold
since the 11th Circuit last month ruled in the inmates' favor and said a
federal judge prematurely dismissed their lawsuit.

"This court ordered that Mr. McNabb was entitled to further proceedings on the
merits of his case challenging the constitutionality of Alabama's execution
protocol," attorney John Palombi wrote.

McNabb was scheduled to receive a lethal injection on Thursday, but a federal
judge on Monday issued a stay in order to have time to hold the proceedings
ordered by the 11th Circuit. U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins wrote it "would
require nothing short of Circe's magical powers" to have a trial completed on
the matter by Oct. 19.

"There is insufficient time prior to October 19 to address deliberatively the
full panoply of weighty, life-involved issues presented. Because the prejudice
to McNabb - his execution - is so great, the equities strongly outweigh the
state's interest in executing McNabb as scheduled on October 19," U.S. District
Judge Keith Watkins wrote.

(source: therepublic.com)








OHIO:

Potential jurors in Hamad case expressed practical, not political, concerns
about shootings



Despite the impression one might get from reading the politically charged
commentary on the internet about the Nasser Hamad aggravated murder case,
potential jurors questioned about it over the past 5 days had more practical
concerns.

Many of the 173 people called for jury duty in Trumbull County Common Pleas
Court were asked what they knew about the Feb. 25 shootings in Howland to
determine whether they had already formed an opinion about Hamad's guilt or
innocence.

When asked what they remembered about the news coverage they received about the
conflict that left two young men dead and three other people wounded, 2
expressed the same thought: The gunshots fired that day could have hurt
innocent people.

"It was disturbing because I or someone I know could have been on that
highway," 1 potential juror said. He remembered hearing that some of the
gunshots Hamad is accused of firing apparently traveled in the direction of the
busy state Route 46 commercial district in front of Hamad's house.

That same potential juror said he doesn't watch or read the news a lot, but
said: "It would be hard to live here and not have heard something about" the
shootings.

Another potential juror also remembered hearing shots had been fired toward
Route 46.

"I thought that was pretty reckless," the man said.

In both cases, the men said if they were selected for the jury, they would set
aside that or any other information they had heard before the trial and would
decide Hamad's guilt or innocence based only on the evidence they would hear at
the trial.

They were not excluded from being among the final 12 jurors and 4 alternates.

During parts of 2 days of jury selection, a Vindicator reporter did not hear
any juror mention any debate about whether Hamad had a right to defend himself,
which has been a hot-button topic on internet blogs.

Hamad, 48, is charged with killing Joshua Haber, 19, and Josh Williams, 20, and
injuring Bryce Hendrickson, 20, John Shively, 17, and April Trent-Vokes, 42.

Police said Hamad was involved in a monthslong feud with some of the 5 because
his girlfriend had left her husband and come to live with Hamad. The 5 were all
related in some way to his girlfriend, Tracy Hendrickson.

Police say the 5 went to Hamad's house after Facebook taunts earlier that day.
A fist fight took place. After it was over, Hamad went in the house, got a gun
and fired it at the 5, who were preparing to leave in their car near the road.

If Hamad is convicted of certain of the charges, he could get the death
penalty.

Many of the questions the potential jurors were asked related to their opinion
of the death penalty.

The judge, assistant county Prosecutor Chris Becker, and defense attorney
Robert Dixon questioned 1 woman at length about a comment she made on a
questionnaire about finding the death penalty necessary only in "extreme"
cases, such as someone raping and murdering a child.

She agreed she would decide on the death penalty - or not - based on the facts
and would follow the law as given to her by Judge Ronald Rice.

But she acknowledged making the decision to vote for the death penalty would be
"stressful," and she would "have a hard time" if put in that position.

"You've made difficult decisions your whole life," Judge Rice said. "Decisions
in life are difficult."

She was not excluded from possibly being among the final 12 jurors and 4
alternates.

The 5 days of jury selection reduced the number of potential jurors from 173 to
43, whom the judge called "death-penalty qualified" because of their answers
regarding the death penalty.

Because there were enough qualified jurors to pick a final panel Thursday,
Judge Rice said moving the trial will not be necessary. Hamad's attorneys had
asked the judge earlier to move it out of Trumbull County.

The final 43 potential jurors will be narrowed to the final 12 jurors and 4
alternates Thursday, when attorneys for the prosecution and defense each are
allowed to eliminate 6 jurors and 2 alternates with what are called pre-emptory
challenges.

Pre-emptory challenges are ones in which an attorney can ask for a juror to be
dismissed without needing to give a reason.

The final 12 jurors and 4 alternates will visit the scene of the shootings
Friday morning, and testimony will begin Monday.

(source: vindy.com)

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

Lake County prosecutor fighting death penalty reversal in murder case



The Lake County Prosecutor's Office has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to
reconsider its decision to reverse the convictions of a former Perry Township
man who was sentenced to die for the 2010 rape and murder of a Mentor woman.

Joseph Thomas, 33, was found guilty by a Lake County Common Pleas Court jury in
2012 of the aggravated murder, kidnapping and rape of Annie McSween. Judge
Richard L. Collins Jr. chose to adopt the jury's recommendation of death rather
than downgrade the sentence to life in prison.

In a 4-3 vote earlier this month, the Supreme Court overturned the death
sentence and ordered a new trial be scheduled for Thomas.

However, Assistant Lake County Prosecutor Karen Sheppert is arguing the high
court's majority neglected to fully analyze the issues, confused legal
standards and failed to utilize its own law rather than "cherry-picking cases
from outside Ohio" to make its decision.

McSween's body was found on Nov. 26, 2010, in a wooded area outside of Mario's
Lakeway Lounge on Andrews Road in Mentor-on-the-Lake, where she worked as a
bartender. She was strangled and stabbed multiple times in the neck and back on
her 49th birthday, which was also Black Friday. The power lines to the bar had
been cut, and McSween and 2 other women had their tires slashed.

Thomas has maintained his innocence and claimed he had no motivation to commit
the crime.

Although Thomas had frequently been seen carrying a blue pocketknife before
that night, it was not recovered during the criminal investigation. At trial,
prosecutors introduced 5 other knives Thomas owned, describing them as "full
Rambo combat knives."

Justice Terrence O'Donnell wrote the court's lead opinion, which determined the
trial court committed plain error by admitting those 5 knives that prosecutors
knew were not used in the crime into evidence. The majority found a reasonable
probability that the error affected the outcome of the trial, and that reversal
was necessary to prevent a manifest miscarriage of justice.

The 3 dissenting justices found the prosecution presented substantial evidence
to support the jury's verdict independent of the admitted knife evidence.

The assistant prosecutor agreed with the dissenting opinion in her recent
motion to reconsider.

"The state introduced (Thomas') knives in conjunction with eyewitness testimony
to demonstrate that the blue knife was missing from (his) possessions, but the
lead opinion failed to acknowledge this," Sheppert wrote. "... A witness
testified that Thomas carried a blue pocketknife with a blade that was 3 to 4
inches long. The medical examiner who conducted the autopsy opined that the
perpetrator used a knife with a 4- to 6-inch blade. The blue pocketknife
therefore could have been the murder weapon, and the fact that investigators
were able to find Thomas's other knives but could not find the blue pocketknife
has a tendency to make Thomas's disposal of the blue knife more probable."

In addition, the assistant prosecutor noted the seized knife evidence did not
affect Thomas's rights to a fair trial since the defense was then able to
emphasize the fact that the state was unable to produce the murder weapon.

"... The evidence cannot be used as both a shield and a sword," Sheppert stated
in her motion.

Sheppert also claimed the Supreme Court's factual analysis was flawed.

"This court has previously held that the reviewing court should only consider
evidence admitted at trial," she stated. "... In (the) Thomas (case), the
polygraph results were not admitted to the jury yet seemed to play a part in
this court's conclusion."

The lead justice's opinion noted that Thomas voluntarily agreed to a polygraph
examination in 2011. The Bureau of Criminal Investigation examiner determined
Thomas told the "substantial truth" when questioned about whether he killed
McSween, knew who did it or did anything to cause her death.

Another man failed the polygraph, according to Thomas' lead trial lawyer.

(source: news-herald.com)








SOUTH DAKOTA:

Letter: Protect the mentally ill from death penalty



We were very pleased to read the op-ed by Paula Caplan, "Executions of
intellectually disabled continue," which brings attention to the important
issue that people with intellectual disability continue to be executed despite
the fact that the Supreme Court outlawed the practice. However, there is
another area of death penalty law that is very troubling and which the South
Dakota legislature should seek to address. People with severe mental illness,
such as schizophrenia, do not currently have any protection from the death
penalty. Severe mental illness is a different condition than intellectual
disability, but one that brings similar impairments, so we should be very
disturbed by the fact that individuals with mental illness can still be
executed. The death penalty is intended to be used only against the worst
offenders who commit the most heinous crimes. We know that defendants with
mental illnesses are not the "worst of the worst," as their disability makes
them more vulnerable and sometimes completely disconnected from reality. For
these individuals, life without parole should be the maximum sentence and they
should not be subject to society's ultimate punishment. Denny Davis, South
Dakotans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Burbank

(source: Letter to the Editor, Sioux Falls Argus Leader)








UTAH:

Another push to end Utah's death penalty is likely for the 2018 legislative
session



Advocates for abolishing Utah's death penalty system say they plan to push
lawmakers to end capital punishment in the 2018 legislative session.

Legislators came close to stopping the punishment in 2016 - but the bill never
reached the House floor before the midnight deadline on the last night of
session. Still, it was exciting to see it come that close, said Darcy Van
Orden, the executive director of the Utah Justice Coalition. And at a Tuesday
evening panel hosted by Young Americans for Liberty, Van Orden said they are
planning to make another run at abolishing the death penalty in 2018. They
already have their Senate sponsor, she told attendees, and are looking for
someone in the House of Representatives to back the bill.

"More to come on this," she told the audience.

A bill to abolish the death penalty wasn't brought up in the 2016 session,
though lawmakers then had considered studying the costs of the death penalty.
The bill, however, never came up for a final Senate vote.

Legislative fiscal analysts estimated in 2012 that when compared to a sentence
of life without parole, it costs an additional $1.6 million to handle appeals
and costs of a death sentence over 20 years.

At the Tuesday panel held at the University of Utah, Van Orden was joined by
other criminal justice reform advocates, all lamenting Utah's - and the
nation's - death penalty systems.

It's too expensive, said Kevin Greene, state director of the Conservatives
Concerned About the Death Penalty.

It unfairly targets minorities, according to Jean Hill, the director of the
Diocesan Peace and Justice Commission of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake
City.

It's too risky, said Jensie Anderson, a University of Utah law professor and
legal director of the Rocky Mountain Innocence Project. The risk of executing
someone who is innocent is far too great, she said.

And it's too arbitrary, said Ralph Dellapiana, director of Utahns for
Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Whether a murderer faces the death penalty
often depends solely on a prosecutor's discretion, he said.

"It's like being struck by lightning," Dellapiana said. "It depends on your ZIP
code on what is the possibility [a case is] going to result in a death
penalty."

All said that the better solution would be to make the most serious punishment
in Utah life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"The other death sentence," Dellapiana quipped.

Utah last carried out the death penalty in June 2010, when Ronnie Lee Gardner
was executed by firing squad, drawing international attention to the state.

9 men are on Utah's death row, and all are in various stages of appeals in
state or federal court. 2 received the death penalty in the past decade: Floyd
Maestas was sentenced to death in 2008, while Douglas Lovell was sentenced to
be executed in 2015 after a retrial.

The next death penalty trial is scheduled for November, when a jury will decide
whether Steven Crutcher should be executed for killing his cellmate at the
Gunnison prison in 2013. He has pleaded guilty to aggravated murder, so the
jurors at his trial will only be asked to decide which punishment he will face.

(source: Salt Lake Tribune)


IDAHO:

ACLU wants Idaho to restrict death penalty----UI law professor discusses mental
illness, capital punishment



A University of Idaho law professor and a group of advocates want to see Idaho
pass rules that would prevent the mentally ill and juveniles from being
subjected to the death penalty.

Shaakirrah Sanders, an associate professor at the UI College of Law Boise
campus, discussed the issue in a presentation titled "Severe mental illness and
the death penalty in Idaho" during an event sponsored by the League of Women
Voters of Moscow and the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho on Tuesday at
the 1912 Center in Moscow.

Sanders said she is part of a team pushing legislation in Idaho that would
prohibit the death penalty from being imposed on the severely mentally ill and
juveniles.

(source: Moscow-Pullman Daily News)








ARIZONA:

Media to appeal judge's ruling denying them access to execution-drug
information



A media coalition filed notice Tuesday that it will appeal a federal judge's
September ruling dismissing arguments that it had a First Amendment right to
information about execution drugs used by the Arizona Department of Corrections
and the qualifications of its executioners.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow informed the media outlets,
which include the Guardian, the Associated Press, The Arizona Republic,
KPNX/12News, KPHO/Channel 5 and the Arizona Daily Star, that they had a First
Amendment right to report on the issues, but the DOC did not have an obligation
to turn over the information.

Among the concerns listed by Snow was a belief that identifying companies that
provide drugs makes them targets for anti-death-penalty advocates and
discourages them from selling the drugs to state departments of corrections.

Execution by lethal injection has repeatedly been deemed constitutional by the
U.S. Supreme Court.

Similar arguments were already dismissed in District Court in Phoenix in
another case brought by several Arizona death-row inmates. That decision has
also been appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

No one has been put to death in Arizona since the 2-hour-long execution of
Joseph Wood in July 2014.

Wood gasped on the execution gurney as executioners pumped into him 15
supposedly lethal doses of the drugs midazolam and hydrocodone. District Court
Judge Neil Wake immediately imposed a stay of all executions until the incident
was investigated and fully litigated.

The stay was only lifted this June after the death-row inmates reached a
settlement agreement with the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Even so, the state has not yet filed with the Arizona Supreme Court for any
warrants to execute prisoners, in part because it has had difficulty obtaining
drugs to perform the executions.

Aside from access to information about the drugs and the executioners, the two
lawsuits have significantly changed how future executions are to be carried out
in Arizona:

The drug midazolam was removed from Arizona's execution protocol even though it
was OK'd by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Arizona Department of Corrections has pledged to carry out further
executions using the anesthetic sodium thiopental or the barbiturate
pentobarbital without adding paralytic drugs that could mask pain and
suffering. Neither drug is available to prisons at present from U.S.
pharmaceutical firms, and the state has indicated that it will continue looking
for them overseas or have them made to order by compounding pharmacies.

Corrections Director Charles Ryan can no longer exert total discretion and make
last-minute changes to execution protocols that have been painstakingly hashed
out in court.

Journalists and other witnesses can now see all stages of an execution,
starting from the moment the condemned person is walked into the death chamber
and strapped to the gurney. A camera will monitor the drug-injection control
board so witnesses can see how many doses are pushed into the prisoner.

(source: Arizona Republic)








OREGON:

Juror in 2010 bank bombing trial questions her role in Oregon death penalty
case



A member of the jury that convicted a father and son in 2010 for a bank bombing
says she abused prescription pain pills during the trial and may have
improperly influenced other jurors.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that juror Tasha Hobbs wrote to the court last
month saying she wouldn't have reached the same verdict if presented with the
evidence today.

Bruce and Joshua Turnidge were convicted of aggravated murder for a bank
bombing in Woodburn. The 2008 blast killed a state police bomb technician who
was trying to dismantle the explosive and a Woodburn police captain who was
helping.

Hobbs' letter has been turned over to the judge involved in the Turnidges'
appeals process.

Mike Charlton, a lawyer representing Bruce Turnidge, says he wants to talk to
Hobbs to see how she might affect the case.

The Turnidges are among more than 30 people on Oregon's death row.

(source: Associated Press)

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