Justice and the death penalty
The key issue in the death penalty is justice. All men are created equal and
man???s innate, God-given human right to self-preservation is the citizen's
civil right to self-defense in equal justice
The death penalty is the sentence for murder in the 1st degree, for
premeditated homicide with malice aforethought, for laying in wait for,
planning and executing another legally innocent human being ... premeditated
Capital punishment is enacted through the power of attorney of the condemned
murderer. As a citizen of the state, the murderer is brought to justice by his
own citizenship in the state and by his own justice.
All men have an innate human right to self-preservation and a civil right to
self-defense. The prison guards, the warden, the contractors are all in double
jeopardy while a murderer lives. All people are in double jeopardy of life. The
first jeopardy was before the crime was committed in bloodlust. The second
jeopardy is now as the murderer lives.
Mary De Voe
(source: Letter to the Editor, The News Journal)
Man accused in priest's murder pleads not guilty----Steven Murray faces murder
charge in death of Father Rene Robert
The man accused of killing a St. Augustine priest in April pleaded not guilty
Friday to malice murder in Burke County, Georgia.
Prosecutors have filed notice that they will seek the death penalty against
Steven Murray in the death of Father Rene Robert.
Motions hearings in the case will begin Dec. 2, but the District Attorney's
Office said it doesn't expect a trial for at least 2 years.
Murray, 28, led deputies to Robert's body in April in a wooded area of Burke
County on State Road 56, after the priest had been missing for a week.
Investigators said Murray kidnapped Robert, who had been helping Murray after
his release from prison, and drove the priest to northeast Georgia, where he
Robert, 71, was last seen April 10 and was reported missing after a funeral the
next day. His car was found crashed into a tree in Aiken, South Carolina, and
Murray was arrested nearby. He was extradited to St. Johns County on charges of
aggravated fleeing and attempting to elude law enforcement.
He was sent back to Georgia after the malice murder charge was filed against
Priest was against death penalty
Those closest to Robert said the death penalty is not what the priest would
have wanted for Murray.
He even wrote a letter 20 years ago addressing this exact situation.
"Father Rene was strongly opposed to capital punishment and left in his files,
written 20 some years ago, the important letter in which he says that if anyone
should do me harm in the future and that person is facing judgment, I do not
want in my name, the capital punishment death sentence," said Father John
Gillespie of San Sebastian Catholic Church.
Gillespie, who served with Robert in St. Augustine, said that doesn???t mean
Murray shouldn't be punished, just that his life shouldn't be taken in Robert's
Amy Law, 1 of the people who alerted police to Robert's disappearance, said she
wants justice for Robert.
"(Murray) will get what he deserves. Hopefully, he will get what he deserves,"
Murray moved around
Murray has been moved to several jails because of suicide attempts and damage
he caused to a jail.
Murray was initially moved to Jefferson County after he tried to hang himself
using a bed sheet, Burke County Sheriff Greg Coursey said.
Coursey told WRDW that Murray was put on suicide watch and Jefferson County
Jail's facilities are better prepared for suicidal inmates.
While he was in the Jefferson County Jail, Murray damaged a sprinkler head,
flooding his holding cell, Coursey said in a statement released Monday. WRDW
reports that the damage was less than $150 and will be covered by Jefferson
Murray also pulled a metal drain pipe connected to the toilet loose, Coursey
The Georgia Sheriff's Association told WRDW that after Murray was returned to
its jail, Burke County called asking for help to find another facility for him.
GSA suggested Clayton County and Sheriff Victor Hill agreed to the transfer.
While in the Clayton County Jail, Murray again attempted suicide by trying to
hang himself, according to a report from WRDW.
Nov. 3 execution date set for Tommy Arthur in '82 Muscle Shoals murder
The Alabama Supreme Court has set execution dates for 2 state inmates,
including Tommy Arthur in a 1982 Muscle Shoals slaying.
Arthur is scheduled to be executed on Nov. 3. Arthur was convicted of the
murder-for-hire of a Muscle Shoals man. This is the 7th time an execution date
has been set for Arthur in his more than 3 decades on death row.
Ronald Bert Smith Jr. is scheduled to be executed on Dec. 8. Smith was
convicted in the 1994 robbery and slaying of a Huntsville convenience store
Alabama is seeking to resume executions after a more than 2-year lull as the
state faced a scarcity of lethal injection drugs and ongoing litigation over
the death penalty.
The state in January carried out its 1st execution since 2013.
An appellate court in May halted the execution of Vernon Madison just hours
before he was scheduled to be put to death.
Arthur was sentenced to death in 1983 for the Feb. 1, 1982, contract killing
and robbery of Troy Wicker Jr. in Muscle Shoals.
On the day of the murder, authorities said, Arthur walked away from a work
release program in Decatur and drove to Muscle Shoals.
Arthur was in the Decatur facility because he was convicted in the 1977
shooting death of a woman in Marion County, according to a 2007 Florence
TimesDaily story in which authorities said Arthur was tied to at least 4
Another shooting involved a Colbert County guard when Arthur broke out of the
jail in 1986, shortly before the scheduled retrial in Troy Wicker's shooting.
The guard survived a gunshot wound to the neck.
(source: Times Daily)
Judge in death penalty case has jurors sign media waiver
All 12 jurors and 6 alternate jurors were asked to sign a pledge stating they
would not watch television, read newspapers, read online news articles or
consume other forms of media regarding a Dayton death penalty case Friday.
The pledge, orchestrated by the judge in the trial, Judge Steven Dankof, is an
unusual move, as many jurors are asked verbally not to consume media during
higher-profile cases and it's left at that.
Opening statements in the Harvey Jones case began Friday.
The double-murder suspect is accused of killing 29-year-old Demetrius Beckwith
and 32-year-old Carly Hughley in January 2013. Harvey is believed to be
It happened the morning of Jan. 24, 2013 at the Catalpa Crossing Apartments on
Turner Road in Harrison Township. Hughley's then-10-year-old son was in the
apartment when the shootings took place and ran to a neighbor's house to get
The now-14-year-old boy is expected to testify, as he was the sole person to
witness Harvey pull the trigger, deputies say.
Harvey was initially indicted on charges of murder, kidnapping and robbery
Jury selection in the trial began Monday.
(source: WDTN news)
Suspect in Oklahoma rancher's slaying expected to plead guilty
A man who faces the death penalty if convicted for the shooting death of a
Cherokee County rancher is expected to plead guilty instead of taking his
chances with a jury in a 1st-degree murder trial.
Paul Newberry, 25, of Park Hill, Okla., hinted that he might be ready to seek a
plea deal with the hope of taking the death penalty option off the table.
Newberry is scheduled to appear at 1:30 p.m. Thursday before a judge in
Cherokee County District Court to announce his decision.
"I anticipate that Newberry will enter a plea," Assistant District 27 Attorney
Jack Thorp said Thursday after the accused appeared in court. "I can't get much
more into it than that."
Newberry is suspected of fatally shooting Charley Kirk, 88, on July 27, 2015,
during what prosecutors have described as a home invasion gone awry. Cheyenne
Watts, 23, also faces a murder charge in connection with Kirk's death.
The 2 are accused of breaking into Kirk's home and then shooting him to death
when the rancher confronted them. After ransacking the home - reportedly
overlooking a safe that reportedly contained $186,000 - the 2 are believed to
have stolen a handgun, a sawed-off shotgun, a German-style Luger, a Kawasaki
Mule, batteries, a frozen pizza, Kirk's wallet and a pair of binoculars.
Kirk was shot 16 times during the melee. The bullets, according to a
preliminary report previously presented by the medical examiner's office,
struck Kirk in the head, neck, torso and his extremities.
Prosecutors charged both Newberry and Watts with 1st-degree murder, robbery
with a weapon, 1st-degree burglary, attempted 1st-degree arson, larceny of an
automobile and 3rd-degree arson.
Investigators say they found evidence of an attempted arson at Kirk's home, and
the Kawasaki Mule reportedly was found burned at a location near Keys High
School. The 2 men were arrested later at a casino in Pittsburg County.
A jury trial for Watts is expected to begin in mid January, according to court
Public hearings next month on death penalty ballot issue
Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale has scheduled public hearings concerning
the death penalty issue that will appear on the November ballot. By state law,
the hearings are required to be held in each of Nebraska's congressional
districts whenever a petition issue is on the general election ballot.
Referendum No. 426 will ask voters to either retain or repeal Legislative Bill
268. In 2015, state lawmakers voted in favor of LB 268, which abolished the
death penalty and also set a maximum penalty for a 1st-degree murder conviction
at life in prison.
The hearings are moderated by Gale and anyone is welcome to testify or just
attend and listen. "This is more than an informal town hall meeting. All
comments become part of a permanent record on the issue. The purpose of the
public hearings is to help educate citizens and the media through a meaningful
exchange of views on the subject prior to the general election. In this case,
voting to either retain or repeal doesn't apply to the death penalty itself.
Rather, voters are being asked to decide whether to repeal LB 268, thereby
reinstating the death penalty."
1 of the hearings will be held in Omaha at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 11th
at the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center (rooms 201, 205 & 209) on the
Hearings will also be held on the UNK campus in Kearney on October 13th and at
the State Capitol in Lincoln on October 18th.
(source: WOWT news)
California voters oppose ending state's death penalty
More than 1/2 of voters oppose a November ballot measure that would abolish the
California death penalty, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times
poll conducted by SurveyMonkey.
Proposition 62, which would replace capital punishment with life without
parole, had 40% support among the 1,909 registered voters polled in September
across the state. 9 % had no answer.
It is 1 of 2 measures on the future of the death penalty that voters will weigh
on Nov. 8. Both capital punishment initiatives would require current death row
inmates to work and pay restitution to victims but take opposing approaches to
what the measures both call a broken system.
Proposition 66 would keep the death penalty, limiting the number of petitions
prisoners can file to challenge their convictions and sentences, and providing
new deadlines intended to expedite appeals.
The poll only surveyed on Prop. 62, which has garnered some high-profile
supporters, including California billionaire Tom Steyer and Former President
Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter.
A campaign to defeat Prop. 62 and support Prop. 66 has wide support from law
enforcement officials across California.
Jacob Hay, a spokesman for the campaign in favor of the measure, disputed the
results, saying internal polling using the full ballot language - including its
fiscal impact - showed Prop. 62 in the lead.
"Voters move quickly towards Prop. 62 when they learn about the $150 million in
annual savings Prop. 62 brings and how it guarantees California never executes
an innocent person," Hay said. "Prop. 62 is the only real solution to a failed
system that has cost $384 million per execution, delivers no crime prevention
benefits, and is an empty promise to victims' families."
Sacramento County Dist. Atty. Anne Marie Schubert, a Prop. 66 supporter,
disagreed. "This poll is consistent with what we see in other polls that show
Californians support the death penalty but they want it fixed, and this is what
Prop. 66 does," she said.
(source: Los Angeles Times)
California's Death Row
Each week, the editor's of LA Progressive pick what they regard as a
particularly insightful comment from one of our readers, both to draw attention
to one particular reader's thoughts and to encourage more readers to weigh in
with their opinions. This week's pithy response comes from Nicholas C.
Arguimbau, commenting on "Californians' Looming Life-Or-Death Decision" by
6 of the 746 men on California's death row were once clients of mine. 4 of the
6 have sat in prison waiting an outcome to their unending cases over 30 years
or more. The people who are executed are a generation older and wiser than the
people who we arrested.
I worked for 20 years on appeals from death sentences in California. I have
great respect for all the men I represented, because the lives they led up to
the point of an alleged killing were so uniformly terrifying that all you can
say to yourself is "There but the grace of God go you or I." Capital murder is
not normal behavior, and something abnormal led to it - generally mental
illness or the sort of severe abuse as children that beat all the humanity out
The only men on death row who have not been the subjects of severe abuse or
mental illness are generally innocent. When the system is working, the jury
will have come to understand that the individual deserves to be acquitted or
has suffered mitigating circumstances that point to a lesser punishment than
death by the terms of California's death penalty statute. That that has not
happened to the 746 men on death row is almost always the result of some
miscarriage of justice such as concealment of evidence by the prosecution or
incompetence of the defense. So there is virtually no death row inmate who
would be there had the law operated as intended.
But the irony of it all is that the great majority of death row inmates quote
Patrick Henry in substance: "Give me liberty or give me death". They have come
from backgrounds where life is grimly cheap, and they can stand the thought of
capital punishment. Life without the possibility of parole, on the other hand,
is an unbelievably terrifying sentence. It means being placed in a cold
concrete prison hundreds of miles from the people you once knew, where the
jailkeepers have an insatiable lust for cruelty, where there is no such thing
as rehabilitation, and where you will live for decades without hope. So
execution, relief from a nightmarish life is nowhere as terrifying to these men
as life without parole.
So California will be well rid of capital punishment if that is what the voters
Nicholas C. Arguimbau
Decision on death penalty in Moneytree cases delayed again
A Selah man charged with killing two women outside a Yakima payday lending
business in March could find out today if he'll face a possible death sentence
if he's convicted.
Manuel Enrique Verduzco is expected to appear in Yakima County Superior Court
at 9 a.m., where prosecutors are expected to tell Judge Michael McCarthy if
they have decided to seek the death penalty in the March 26 homicides.
Verduzco is charged with 2 counts of aggravated 1st-degree murder in the deaths
of Karina Morales-Gonzalez and Martina Martinez.
Morales-Gonzalez, 27, of Toppenish, and Martinez, 30, of Yakima, were opening
the Moneytree at the corner of South First and East Walnut streets when each
was shot once in the head, authorities say.
Verduzco once worked at the business.
Under the aggravated murder charge, Verduzco would face either life in prison
without the possibility of parole or the death penalty if convicted.
The hearing for prosecutors to decide which penalty to seek has been delayed
twice in order to obtain more information.
(source: Yakima Herald)
WikiLeaks' Julian Assange fails to overturn arrest warrant----WikiLeaks founder
could face death penalty
The arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on allegations of rape
still stands, a Swedish appeals court announced Friday.
Swedish prosecutors issued the warrant for Assange, 45, in August 2010 based on
allegations of sexual assault by 2 female WikiLeaks volunteers in the country
and have for years sought his extradition.
He has been holed up inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012.
Ecuador granted Assange political asylum after he said he feared an extradition
to Sweden could lead to another extradition to the United States, where he
could face the death penalty if he is charged and convicted of publishing
government secrets through WikiLeaks.
Ecuador said last month it would allow an interrogation of Assange, which is
now scheduled to take place October 17.
'Risk he will evade legal proceedings'
The order from the Swedish appeals court said that Assange "is still detained
in absentia," adding that it "shares the assessment of the (lower) district
court that Julian Assange is still suspected on probable cause of rape... and
that there is a risk that he will evade legal proceedings or a penalty."
It was the 8th time the European arrest warrant has been tested in a Swedish
court, with all 7 previous judgments also having gone against Assange.
WikiLeaks tweeted a statement from Assange's legal team Friday after the
decision, saying their client was "disappointed."
"Mr. Assange will appeal the decision and remains confident that his indefinite
and unlawful detention will cease and that those responsible will be brought to
justice," the statement said.
The decision comes a day after WikiLeaks released medical records claiming that
Assange's mental health would be adversely affected if he remained holed up in
"Mr. Assange's mental health is highly likely to deteriorate over time if he
remains in his current situation ... It is urgent that his current
circumstances are resolved as quickly as possible," said a report published by
the organization on Twitter.
A 27-page medical analysis, which was attributed to an unnamed "trauma and
psychosocial expert" in London and dated December 11, 2015 was published
alongside supporting documentation.
Assange's legal team has intensified its calls for Sweden to adhere to a
non-binding opinion by the United Nations working group on arbitrary detention,
which stated in February that their client's confinement in the embassy should
be considered as arbitrary detention enforced by Sweden and Britain.
On Thursday, Assange said he would agree to serve prison time in the United
States in exchange for President Barack Obama granting clemency to imprisoned
former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, the group's Twitter account
"If Obama grants Manning clemency, Assange will agree to US prison in exchange
-- despite its clear unlawfulness," the group said.
Assange attorney Barry Pollack told CNN Thursday the deal would have to include
a pardon for Manning, who was convicted in 2013 of stealing and disseminating
750,000 pages of documents and videos to WikiLeaks in what has been described
as the largest leak of classified material in US history. Manning was found
guilty of 20 of the 22 charges against her, including violations of the US
Thursday's tweet offering the deal was posted along with a letter from Pollack
addressed to Attorney General Loretta Lynch that pressed the Department of
Justice to provide information about its ongoing criminal investigation into
Pollack argued in the letter, which was written last month, that over the
course of the investigation into Assange, which is in its sixth year, the
Justice Department "revised the department's regulations with respect to
obtaining evidence from and charging members of the news media."
Pollack also said "the department publicly announced it was closing its
criminal investigation of the handling of classified information by Hillary
Clinton," as another development that justifies more transparency into the case
The Justice Department told CNN it was unaware of any deal being offered by
Assange or his representatives. An official with the US Attorney's Office of
the Eastern District of Virginia, where he would be prosecuted, had no comment.
A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu
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