Texas death row inmate Danny Bible loses at US Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused an appeal from Texas death row inmate
Danny Paul Bible, who was convicted of the 1979 icepick slaying of a woman who
went to his house in Houston to use a telephone and was found later stabbed 11
times, raped and dumped on the bank of a bayou.
The high court offered no comment on its rejection.
Bible, 65, does not yet have an execution date.
Court records show Bible has confessed to 4 killings, including 20-year-old
Inez Deaton, whose slaying went unsolved for nearly 2 decades. He wasn't tied
to her death until 1998 when he was arrested in Fort Myers, Florida, for a
Louisiana rape and told authorities about killing Deaton in Houston and a woman
and her baby west of Fort Worth in North Texas.
Bible previously served prison time after pleading guilty in 1984 in Palo Pinto
County to killing another woman. Texas Department of Criminal Justice records
show he arrived in prison with a 25-year sentence for that slaying plus 20
years for a robbery conviction in Harris County but was released in February
1992 to Montana.
While out of prison on a form of parole known as mandatory supervision, Bible
"lived a life of extreme violence," according to a 5th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals ruling earlier this year when Bible's appeal of his death sentence was
rejected. It's that appeal that went to the Supreme Court.
At his 2003 capital murder trial in Houston for Deaton's death, prosecutors
provided evidence of robberies, thefts, assaults and abductions, including the
rape of an 11-year-old girl in Montana and his confessions to repeated sexual
assaults of young nieces from 1996 to 1998.
Bible contended in his appeal that his lawyers, during the punishment phase of
his capital murder trial in Houston, were deficient for not objecting to
prosecutors' re-enacting a rape and how Bible tried to stuff his victim into a
duffel bag. He also said in the appeal that he is disabled and in permanent
pain after the prison van carrying him to death row in 2003 crashed, killing a
corrections officer and the driver of another vehicle involved in the wreck.
Bible's appeals attorney, Margaret Schmucker, said Tuesday that her next option
could be to seek clemency from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, although Abbott and
previous governors have little history of commuting death sentences to life in
Bible is "not a danger to anybody," Schmucker said. "He can't get out of a
wheelchair by himself. He can't lift his arms. He can't do anything."
He also has a Louisiana sentence of life without parole, she said.
(source: Associated Press)
Race shouldn't matter in sentencing, but it does
In 1995, Duane Edward Buck was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend and her
friend. During his sentencing hearing, the prosecution presented evidence of
Buck's potential for recidivism, based on his criminal history, conduct, and
demeanor. In defense, his court appointed attorney called a clinical
psychologist, Dr. Walter Quijano, as an expert witness, who stated that he
believed Buck's "black" race increased the likelihood of future dangerousness.
Buck was subsequently sentenced to death and the Texas Court of Criminal
Appeals affirmed his conviction and sentence.
On October 5, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court heard an oral argument on Buck's
case. His new attorney, Christina A. Swarns, claims that his previous counsel
was ineffective by knowingly calling an expert witness who testified that race
was a factor in evaluating future dangerousness. Although the circumstances of
Buck's conviction were not up for debate, his attorney asked the Justices to
order "a new, fair sentencing hearing."
Although the Justices described what happened during the sentencing phase of
Buck's case as "indefensible" and "abysmal," they raised considerable concern
that the outcome of his case wouldn???t be impacted, if a new sentencing
hearing were granted. The circumstances surrounding Buck's arrest were
aggravating. His crimes were gruesome, he wasn't remorseful, and he had
committed various acts of domestic violence prior to the murders. However, his
defense attorney maintained that, "putting an expert scientific validity to
this pernicious idea that Mr. Buck would be more likely to commit criminal acts
of violence because he's black" led to an arbitrary death sentence decision.
Her argument centered on the fact that the expert witness' testimony directly
impacted the jury's future dangerousness determination, which is the
prerequisite for a death sentence in Texas.
The attorney for the State, Scott A. Keller, did not defend the competency of
Buck's public defender nor the racially bias statements made by the expert
witness. Instead, he focused on the fact that the prosecutors did not use the
expert witness' testimony to make their claims for capital punishment and that
a new sentencing hearing would not change the outcome. To support his argument,
Keller described how the "Petitioner executed a mother when she was on her
knees in front of her children with her daughter jumping on her." He told the
justices that Buck laughed about the murder of his victim and stated, "she got
what she deserved," after the crime.
Despite the seriousness of the offense, the Justices continued to question why
this case in particular should not be reopened. In 6 other cases in Texas, the
court reopened cases, which used race as an aggravating factor in sentencing.
However, in these six other cases, the State confessed error, which Keller
contends is a different issue than race being introduced as an aggravating
factor by the defense.
One of these cases involved Victor Hugo Saldano, who was found guilty of
capital murder and sentenced to death in 1996. In that case, the prosecution
called the same expert witness that was called by Buck's defense attorney, Dr.
Walter Quijano. In Saldano's case, he testified that " . . . because [Saldano]
is Hispanic, this was a factor weighing in favor of future dangerousness ...
African Americans and Hispanics are over-represented in prison compared with
their percentage of the general population."
Since certain sociological issues are debatable, expert witness testimony can
vary. Different studies can produce polarizing results due to disparate sample
sizes and heterogeneity, research method quality, and analytic strategy, as
well as error and bias. There are few issues that conclude with a scholarly
consensus, but the nexus (or lack thereof) between race and crime is one of
them. Although black and Latino males are disproportionately incarcerated in
the United States, this is absolutely not a result of a higher proclivity for
violence or crime. For decades, researchers have remarked on the differential
treatment between white and non-white offenders at nearly every stage of the
criminal justice process, sometimes due to racial bias. Moreover, modern
research concludes that race has absolutely no bearing on the likelihood of
Although it unclear whether Buck's death penalty sentence will be reaffirmed at
a new sentencing hearing, the fact that race is being introduced by "experts"
as an aggravating factor in sentencing determinations is incredulous and a
further testament to the critical need for comprehensive criminal justice
(source: Kimberly Mehlman-Orozco is the author of "Hidden in Plain Sight:
America's Slaves of the New Millennium." She holds a Ph.D. in criminology, law
and society from George Mason University----thehill.com)
Indigents at risk in death penalty cases
The state ensures that the indigent are not disadvantaged anywhere in the court
system, but it has a high moral obligation to do so in capital cases.
"Lethally Deficient," a scathing recent report, reveals glaring disadvantages
for indigents contesting death sentences on direct appeals. The nonprofit Texas
Defender Service, which works to make the criminal justice system fairer, found
that court-appointed attorneys undertaking these appeals are:
Outgunned. The defense "team" is limited to one attorney, though the standard
is 2 in such cases. These attorneys lack the resources of district attorneys.
And while these defense attorneys are required to meet minimum qualification
standards, the selection method does not ensure that.
Underpaid. Flat fees and capped compensation create a "perverse incentive" for
direct appeal lawyers to accept a high number of cases and reduce the hours
devoted to each case.
Overworked. See above. They are accepting a high number of cases to make ends
The result is that direct appeal lawyers are not adequately briefing their
cases, communicate minimally with their clients, sometimes plagiarize from
other appeals that may or may not have relevancy to their cases, and otherwise
ignore "discretionary legal procedures," claims that might mean swift relief or
obtain federal review.
The Texas Defender Service reviewed 84 death penalty direct appeals decided by
the Court of Criminal Appeals between 2009 and 2015. Convictions were
overturned on 3 cases - all of which had 2 attorneys working on them.
The report is a wake-up call for the Legislature. The report recommends that
lawmakers create a capital appellate defender office to ensure better
resources, establish a statewide appointment system that controls caseloads and
provides uniform compensation, and require that 2 qualified attorneys be
appointed to such cases.
These are sensible recommendations. The risk of innocent people being executed
is simply too high.
(source: Editorial, San Antonio Express-News)
Texas tops death penalty markers
Texas is ranked No. 2 in state executions per capita at 0.207 behind Oklahoma
from 1976 to February 2015, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
At the same time, Texas is 1st in the number of executions in the U.S. since
1976 by almost 5 times more death sentences than Oklahoma, which only sentenced
Barney Ronald Fuller Jr., who was convicted of shooting his neighbors to death
in May 2003 in East Texas, was executed at 6 p.m. on Oct. 5.
Fuller plead guilty to the crime in July 2004.
According to Texas' Office of the Attorney General, "Fuller was known to fire
weapons on his rural property," and entered into a dispute with his neighbors,
Nathan and Annette Copeland, after allegedly shooting their electric
transformer. He was first charged with making a terroristic threat against
Annette Fuller when he telephoned her stating, "Happy New Year, I'm going to
After notification of the charge, at approximately 1:30 a.m., "[Fuller] went on
a shooting rampage at the Copelands' home, killing Nathan and Annette, wounding
their 15-year-old son Cody in the shoulder," while unsuccessfully locating
their 11-year-old daughter Courtney to cause her harm as well.
Fuller turned himself over to authorities that morning and confessed to the
crime. Following his conviction and death sentence, Fuller sat on death row for
On average, death row inmates await the ultimate sentence for capital murder
convictions - a death sentence - for more than a decade. Some sit on death row
for as long as 20 years.
DPIC states that many believe it is a double punishment: the wait in solitary
confinement, which is used sparingly for general-population prisoners and can
deteriorate their mental faculties, and the death sentence itself.
Texas reinstated the death penalty in 1976 and has since sentenced 521 to death
row. Of that, Harris County accounts for more than 280. There are 254 counties
in the state of Texas, and "136 have never sent a single offender to death
row," according to DPIC.
Out of 21 states that have called for a stay of execution, more than a dozen
cited lethal injection protocols and procedures. 2 of the states that are on a
list of those experiencing death penalty flux - Nebraska and New Mexico -
abolished the death penalty altogether.
In most states, the governor has the ability to impose a stay of execution and
temporarily suspend a court order. That's not so in Texas. The governor does
not have that authority and would need a constitutional amendment approved by
voters before they could do so.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice lists John Battaglia - convicted of
killing his 6- and 9-year-old daughters in May 2001 - as the last death row
inmate scheduled for execution in 2016, but already has 5 more listed for
execution in the first 4 months of 2017.
The U.S. Supreme Court rarely takes on an argument that would challenge death
penalty rulings as a whole. In May, justices refused to hear the case of a
Louisiana man who was convicted of killing his 18-year-old pregnant girlfriend,
who claimed he was unfairly sentenced to death not because of the crime itself
but because of the color of his skin and the geographical area his case was
tried, he and his lawyers charged.
Most argue the death penalty's unconstitutionality because each time it
violates the U.S. Constitution's Eighth Amendment ban of "cruel and unusual
On the same day as Fuller's execution, the U.S. Supreme Court heard an oral
argument concerning the case Buck v. Davis, a Texas case that sentenced Duane
Buck to death after "expert testimony from a psychologist who called Buck more
likely to commit acts of violence in the future because he is Black."
Justices at least seem ready to take on social injustices in death row
Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer said percentages of COAs, or
certificates of appealability, issued by U.S. Court of Appeals are arbitrary in
cases such as the Fifth Circuit compared to its counterparts. A COA must be
issued before a defendant can appeal a decision. The Fifth Circuit Court,
serving Texas as a federal court of appeals, denies cases 60 % of the time
compared to only 6 % and zero %, respectively, in the Eleventh and Fourth
For the moment, the fight is primarily contained to the lower federal courts 6
of the 8 seated U.S. Supreme Court justices mostly refuse to enter the fray.
(source: The Sealy News)
Florida Counties Buck National Trend In Death Penalty Sentences
Florida is an outlier when it comes to sentencing people to death.
A new report looked at each of the 3,143 county or county equivalents in the
country to compare sentencing practices. Only 16 counties sentenced 5 or more
people to death between 2010 and 2015, and 4 of those counties are in Florida.
Last year, 49 people were sentenced to death nationwide, less than half than in
2009. But Miami-Dade, Duval, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties have
consistently bucked that national decline in death penalty sentences over the
past several years.
"We found that you have a combination of a personality-driven death penalty:
you have these few prosecutors that are seeking and obtaining death sentences,"
said Robert Smith, director of the Fair Punishment Project at Harvard law
school, which published the study. "Across the 16 [outlier] counties, they tend
to have this over-zealous pattern."
He says this combined with inadequate defense lawyering creates a deadly
He points to the recent defeat of Fourth Judicial Circuit Court State Attorney
Angela Corey - whose district includes Duval County (Jacksonville) - as
evidence of pushback from an electorate that does not support unusually harsh
punishment for criminals.
"The idea that these communities are somehow different and somehow want the
death penalty more is flatly false and that the much better explanation is
these are places where you have a personality-driven death penalty," said
The report also found the vast majority of the people sentenced to death were
individuals of color or with a history of mental illness.
Credit Fair Punishment Project
Florida is 1 of 2 states that currently allows non-unanimous juries to hand
down death verdicts, a component of the sentencing process that came under
scrutiny when the Florida Legislature was forced to re-write the sentencing
process after a U.S. Supreme Court decision struck down the previous method.
(source: WLRN news)
Prosecutors defend death penalty practices in wake of Harvard report that
singled out Hillsborough, Pinellas
The state attorneys in two Tampa Bay area counties disputed criticisms in a
Harvard University study Wednesday that called both "outliers" in their use of
the death penalty.
Hillsborough State Attorney Mark Ober issued a lengthy statement defending his
record and seeking to discredit the Fair Punishment Project, the Harvard Law
School group that produced the study.
"The group releasing this report opposes the death penalty, and its report is
nothing more than a position paper to support its cause," Ober said. "It makes
no attempt to be fair and balanced."
Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe called the study "intellectually
"They use trigger words," McCabe said. "They use incendiary language."
The Fair Punishment Project placed Hillsborough and Pinellas among 16 counties
in the nation that imposed 5 or more death sentences between 2010 and 2015, a
finding it attributed to overzealous prosecutors, a lack of regard for
mitigating factors like mental illness, and racial disparities.
The Tampa Bay Times received an advance copy of the report, embargoed until
Wednesday morning's editions, but prosecutors did not - and therefore were at a
loss to comment until after it was made public.
"The number of murder cases in those five years. One death penalty per year?
You know, I just don't see where that rose to the level of blood lust or
whatever they're trying to say," McCabe said. "What I saw looked more like a
position paper than an academic study."
In a statement sent on campaign stationery, Ober said the report had simply
declared the death penalty to be broken, based on "arbitrary criteria," rather
than consider all relevant factors.
"In every death penalty case, my office carefully reviews the evidence and the
facts surrounding the case," he said. "We carefully consider all the
aggravating and mitigating factors in determining whether it is appropriate to
have the jury and judge consider the death penalty as a sentencing option.
"We do not take lightly our responsibility to charge accurately in any case,
especially a death penalty case. We seek justice one case at a time. We do not
make decisions based on arbitrary standards that a special interest group
opposing the death penalty establishes."
Ober went on to reference the case of Humberto Delgado, which was mentioned
specifically in the report. Delgado, who was convicted of the 2009 shooting
death of Tampa police Cpl. Mike Roberts, later had his death sentence
overturned by the Florida Supreme Court due to his history of severe mental
"After hearing all the evidence, a judge and a jury agreed that the death
penalty was appropriate," Ober wrote of the Delgado case.
He also noted the cases of Dontae Morris, who was sentenced to death for
murdering 2 Tampa police officers, and Edward Covington, sentenced to death for
the brutal killings of his girlfriend and her 2 kids.
"I believe the people of Hillsborough County agree with my office's decision to
seek the death penalty in these brutal and heinous cases," Ober wrote.
Bill Loughery, a retired Pinellas County prosecutor who sent killers Patrick
Evans and Genghis Kocaker to death row, noted the jury heard all the evidence
in both cases, including aggravating and mitigating circumstances.
"None of the evidence was hidden from the jury by the state," Loughery said.
"They got to consider those things, and they recommended death. Maybe Harvard
just disagrees with the jury."
Robert Smith, one of the report's researchers, reiterated Wednesday that the
group itself has no official stance on the death penalty, but he personally
believes it is unconstitutional.
"While we are not an advocacy organization," Smith said, "I believe that the
results of our study are consistent with the view that the death penalty is
administered in an unconstitutional manner."
(source: Tampa Bay Times)
Death penalty recommended for Dothan man in Henry County murder
A Henry County jury returned late Wednesday with a recommendation of death for
a 21-year-old Dothan man convicted in a 2014 shooting.
Attorney T.J. Haywood said the jury recommended the death sentence for all 3 of
the capital murder convictions faced by his client, Justice Knight. The jury
found Knight guilty late last month in the fatal shooting death of Jarvis
Daffin. The jury found Knight guilty of capital murder during a robbery,
capital murder during a kidnapping and capital murder during the shooting of a
Haywood said the jury recommended the death sentence on an 11-1 vote on all 3
convictions. Haywood said a vote of 10-2 or more was required in order for the
death sentence to be recommended.
The court can now choose to affirm the jury's recommendation or issue its own
sentence. Knight faces the death penalty or life in prison without the
opportunity for parole at his sentencing hearing.
Haywood said Knight will have a sentencing hearing before Circuit Court Judge
Brad Mendheim on Oct. 27 at the Henry County Courthouse in Abbeville.
The 2-day sentencing phase of the capital murder case against Knight concluded
late Wednesday. He was convicted of the capital murder charges late last month.
Prosecutors alleged during the week-long trial that Knight conspired to kill
Daffin in order to take his tax refund money. District Attorney Doug Valeska
said Knight and another man, Antwain "Duke" Wingard, participated in the
murder. However, prosecutors said evidence indicates Knight is the trigger man.
Knight's 2nd attorney, Shaun McGhee, argued Knight was present but did not
participate in the murder and that prosecution witnesses had favorable
connections to Wingard and were motivated to point the finger at Knight.
Capital murder charges against Wingard are pending.
(source: Dothan Eagle)
Mobile DA Talks Alabama's Death Penalty
The death penalty has been a topic of debate recently in Alabama.
Earlier this month the Alabama Supreme Court ruled on the practice, determining
it to be constitutional.
The statute was challenged by a former Mobile County defendant, Jerry Bohannon,
who argued Alabama's death penalty was unconstitutional because it allowed
judges not juries to have the final determination of a defendant's sentence.
However, the court ruled "that Alabama's capital sentencing scheme is
consistent with the Sixth Amendment."
Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich says some crimes are heinous that
some offenders deserve the death penalty.
"It is not easy to do. Prosecuting a death penalty case is emotional and there
are no winners," said Rich. "There are no winners but it is our job."
A recent Pew Research study found that for the 1st time in 45 years Americans'
support for the death penalty has dipped below 50 %.
Rich says a death sentence is about justice for both victims and their
"These were all senseless acts. Senseless killings, horrific killings in some
cases gruesome bloody deaths. That is exactly why we have the death penalty in
the state of Alabama," said Rich.
(source: WKRG news)
30 Years on Death Row----In an incredible miscarriage of justice, a prosecutor
admits his cowardice and indifference led to the wrongful murder conviction of
a man sentenced to death
The following is a script from "30 Years on Death Row" which aired on October
11, 2015. Bill Whitaker is the correspondent. Ira Rosen and Habiba Nosheen,
There may be no greater miscarriage of justice than to wrongfully convict a
person of murder and sentence him to death. But that's exactly what happened to
Glenn Ford. He spent nearly 30 years on death row, in solitary confinement, in
Louisiana's notorious Angola prison until new evidence revealed he did not
commit the murder.
He was 1 of 149 inmates freed from death row since the U.S. Supreme Court
reinstated capital punishment in 1976. In all those exonerations, you have
likely never heard a prosecutor admit his role and apologize for his mistakes
in sending an innocent man to death row. But tonight, a prosecutor's
confession. Marty Stroud, speaks of an injustice he calls so great it destroyed
two lives: Glenn Ford's, and his own.
Marty Stroud: I ended up, without anybody else's help, putting a man on death
row who didn't belong there. I mean at the end of the day, the beginning, end,
middle, whatever you want to call it, I did something that was very, very bad.
It was 1983, Shreveport, Louisiana, and 32-year-old prosecutor Marty Stroud was
assigned his first death penalty case. A local jeweler, Isadore Rozeman had
been robbed and murdered. Quickly, Stroud zeroed in on Glenn Ford. Ford had
done yard work for Rozeman and was known to be a petty thief, and he admitted
he had pawned some of the stolen jewelry. All that was enough to make him the
primary suspect. Stroud knew a conviction would boost his career.
Marty Stroud: I was arrogant, narcissistic, caught up in the culture of
Bill Whitaker: Win regardless of the facts, the truth?
Marty Stroud: Looking back on it, yes. There was a question about other
people's involvement. I should have followed up on that. I didn't do that.
Bill Whitaker: Why didn't you?
Marty Stroud: I think my failure to say something can only be described as
cowardice. I was a coward.
Stroud now admits the cards and the system were stacked against Ford from the
beginning: his court-appointed lawyers had never practiced criminal law.
Bill Whitaker: What kind of law did they practice?
Marty Stroud: One individual had general civil practice, and another one did
succession, wills and estates.
Bill Whitaker: In a murder trial?
Marty Stroud: Here they are in a murder trial in Louisiana where a man was on
trial for his life. And at the time I saw nothing wrong with that. In fact, I
snickered from time to time saying that this was going to be...we're going to
get though this case pretty quickly.
Stroud's case wasn't strong. There was no physical evidence linking Ford to the
crime. The main witness incriminating Ford admitted in court she'd been coerced
by police to make up her testimony. But what was more important to Marty Stroud
was the composition of the jury.
Marty Stroud: There were no African Americans on the jury.
Bill Whitaker: Was that by design?
Marty Stroud: At the time of the case, we excluded African Americans because
we-- I felt that they would not consider a death penalty where you had a black
defendant and a white victim. I was the person that made the final call on the
case with respect to jurors. And I was-- I was wrong.
Caddo Parish, Louisiana, is predominately white. Yet 77 % of those given the
death penalty here in the last 40 years have been black.
Marty Stroud: So, when Glenn Ford walks into that courtroom, he's got a count
of zero and 2 against him, and a fast ball's coming right at his head for
It took the jury less than three hours to find Glenn Ford guilty. Afterwards,
Stroud and his legal team went out and celebrated sending Ford to death row.
Marty Stroud: I had drinks. I slapped people on the back. We sang songs. That
was utterly disgusting. You know, it-- I-- you see Mother Justice sometimes,
and-- a statue. And she has a blindfold over her eyes. She was crying that
night because that wasn't justice. That wasn't justice at all.
Ford was put in solitary confinement in one of the most infamous lock ups in
America: Angola. The maximum-security prison has a well-earned reputation for
harsh penalties and harsher conditions. Summer temperatures on death row
commonly exceed 104 degrees.
Marty Stroud: Death row, you have maybe a 5x7 foot cell. You're in there every
day. You get out one hour a day to walk around and you come back in. You do
that day after day, year after year, and that's it. He was basically thrown in
to a cell and forgotten.
Ford would become one of the country's longest-serving, death row inmates.
Stroud went on to a successful legal career.
But all that changed when one of the initial suspects, a man named Jake
Robinson, told a police informant he had killed the jeweler 3 decades earlier.
Robinson is now in prison for another murder.
A court review of the new information found there was "credible evidence ...
Glenn Ford was neither present at, nor a participant in, the robbery and murder
of Isadore Rozeman."
Stroud's reaction when he was told Ford was innocent?
Marty Stroud: I thought I was going to throw up. Nauseous as it-- and I felt my
face was just turning, like a fever. But then, the horror of knowing that yours
truly had caused him all this pain.
Last year, Ford was exonerated and released from Angola. Pictures of his first
free moments captured a rainbow in the sky and a smile on his face.
Bill Whitaker: What was it like to step outside the walls of that prison?
Glenn Ford: Like stepping in a brand new world; like breathing fresh air for
the first time. It felt good.
But that good feeling didn't last. Shortly after being released, Ford learned
he had stage IV lung cancer. Doctors told him he had only a few months to live.
When we met Glenn Ford he was living in New Orleans, in a home for released
Glenn Ford: And that hurt.
Bill Whitaker: Just to swallow water?
Glenn Ford: Feel like a flame!
Bill Whitaker: You were on death row for 30 years. Did you ever come close to
an execution date?
Glenn Ford: Came within a week because the judge said he was retiring. And he
wanted to put a death date on me.
Bill Whitaker: Did Mr. Ford get justice in this case?
Dale Cox: I think he has-- gotten delayed justice.
Dale Cox, the acting district attorney of Caddo Parish, got Glenn Ford released
after receiving the informant's information. As he sees it, the justice system
worked and no one, including Marty Stroud, did anything wrong.
Dale Cox: I don't know what it is he's apologizing for. I think he's wrong in
that the system did not fail Mr. Ford.
Bill Whitaker: It did not?
Dale Cox: It did not...in fact...
Bill Whitaker: How can you say that?
Dale Cox: Because he's not on death row. And that's how I can say it.
Bill Whitaker: Getting out of prison after 30 years is justice?
Dale Cox: Well, it's better than dying there and it's better than being
There may be no more controversial prosecutor in the U.S. than Dale Cox.
Between 2010 and 2014, his Caddo Parish office put more people on death row per
capita than anywhere else in the country.
Dale Cox: I think society should be employing the death penalty more rather
Bill Whitaker: But there have been 10 other inmates on death row in Louisiana
who have been exonerated. Clearly, the system is not flawless. Are you sure
that you've gotten it right all the time?
Dale Cox: I'm reasonably confident that-- that I've gotten it right.
Bill Whitaker: Reasonably confident?
Dale Cox: Am I arrogant enough, am I narcissistic enough to say I couldn't make
a mistake? Of course not.
Bill Whitaker: But until this information came out, the state was convinced
that Mr. Ford was guilty.
Dale Cox: Yes.
Bill Whitaker: He could have been killed.
Dale Cox: Yes.
Bill Whitaker: And it would've been a mistake.
Dale Cox: Yes.
Bill Whitaker: It sounds like you're saying that's just a risk we have to take.
Dale Cox: Yes. If I had gotten this information too late, all of us would've
been-- grieved beyond description. We don't want to do this to people who are
not guilty of the crime they're charged with.
According to Louisiana law, Glenn Ford was entitled to $330,000, about $11,000
for every year of wrongful imprisonment. But the state is denying him the
money. Why? In the original trial, prosecutors said Ford knew a robbery of
Rozeman's jewelry shop was going to take place. But he didn't report it. Ford
was never charged with that crime, but the state says that's reason enough to
Bill Whitaker: Do you believe he should be compensated for the time he spent in
Dale Cox: No, I think we need to follow the law. And the statute does not
require that you be charged or convicted or arrested for any of these other
crimes. The statute only requires that Mr. Ford prove he didn't do these other
Bill Whitaker: So he's guilty until proven innocent in this case?
Dale Cox: No, because it's not a question of guilt or innocence. It's a
question of whether he's entitled to money...taxpayer money.
Bill Whitaker: But you say he has to prove that he's innocent of these other
charges, these other crimes for which he's never been charged, for which he's
never been tried.
Dale Cox: That's correct.
Bill Whitaker: He has to prove he's innocent of them in order to get the
Dale Cox: That's correct.
Bill Whitaker: I'm trying to understand. He was punished for something that he
might have done. That doesn't seem fair.
Dale Cox: You want fairness...
Bill Whitaker: Isn't the law supposed to provide fairness?
Dale Cox: It is supposed to provide justice.
Bill Whitaker: You don't think he deserves compensation
Dale Cox: I think that the law must be followed.
Glenn Ford: What law is this? I never heard of such law where it says it's OK
to do what they did to me without any type of compensation.
There was some compensation. Glenn Ford was given a $20 gift card the day he
left Angola prison.
Glenn Ford: Gave me a card for $20 and said "Wish you luck."
Bill Whitaker: How long did that last you?
Glenn Ford: One meal. I had some fried chicken, tea and the French fries came
with it. I had $4 and change left.
Bill Whitaker: After 30 years in prison?
Glenn Ford: Right.
Bill Whitaker: 30 years on death row in solitary confinement and the state of
Louisiana releases Mr. Ford with a $20 gift card.
Dale Cox: You're trying to portray the state of Louisiana as some kind of
monster. I got him out of jail as quickly as I could. That's what the
obligation of the state is.
"I'm not in the compassion business, none of us as prosecutors or defense
lawyers are in the compassion business."
Bill Whitaker: And that's the end of the state's obligation?
Dale Cox: As far as I'm concerned.
Bill Whitaker: What about compassion? Have you no compassion for what Mr. Ford
has been through?
Dale Cox: Well, you don't know me at all, do you? But you have no problem
asking that question.
Bill Whitaker: No, I'm asking 'cause I'm seeking an answer.
Dale Cox: I'm not in the compassion business, none of us as prosecutors or
defense lawyers are in the compassion business. I think the ministry is in the
compassion business. We're in the legal business. So to suggest that somehow
what has happened to Glenn Ford is abhorrent, yes, it's unfair. But it's not
illegal. And it's not even immoral. It just doesn't fit your perception of
Bill Whitaker: I would say in this case many, many, many people would see this
Dale Cox: I agree. I can't disagree with that.
For his part, Marty Stroud says Glenn Ford deserves every penny owed him. He
went to see Ford to apologize.
Bill Whitaker: How do you apologize to someone for taking 30 years of his life
Marty Stroud: Well, there's no books you can read to do that. I just went in
Bill Whitaker: Do you forgive him?
Glenn Ford: No. He didn't only take from me; he took from my whole family.
Bill Whitaker: It sounds like you don't think you could ever forgive him.
Glenn Ford: Well, I don't. But I'm still trying to.
Bill Whitaker: Do you think you deserve his forgiveness?
Marty Stroud: No. If somebody had done that to me, I don't know if I could
Bill Whitaker: You say you destroyed his life. Sounds like this incident
destroyed your life too.
"It was a train to injustice, and I was the engineer. Glenn Ford will be a part
of me until the day I die."
Marty Stroud: I've got a hole in me through which the north wind blows. It's a
sense of coldness, it's a sense of just disgust. There's just nothing out there
that can fill in that hole that says I-- it's alright. Well, it's not alright.
It's not alright.
Singer: "Keep your eyes on the prize....hold on...hold on..."
Three weeks after we met him, Glenn Ford died, penniless. His final months he
lived off charity. Donations covered the cost of his funeral.
Dale Cox: There was a tragic outcome. And these tragic outcomes happen all the
time in life. It's not like the Glenn Ford case is the only tragedy you'll ever
see or I'll ever see in our lifetime. The question is, was there anything
illegally done, improperly done that led to this. And-- and I can comfortably
say, based on the review of the record, no, there was not.
In Glenn Ford's will, he directs that any state money he might receive go to
his 10 grandchildren so they can have a better chance than he did. And Marty
Stroud? He has asked the Louisiana Bar Association to discipline him for his
role in the Ford case.
Marty Stroud: It was a train to injustice, and I was the engineer. Glenn Ford
will be a part of me until the day I die.
(source: CBS news)
Death sentence overturned for Cleveland man convicted in 1985 murder
A federal appeals court has overturned the death sentence of a Cleveland man
convicted of murder 30 years ago.
Percy "June" Hutton, 62, was convicted in 1986 of fatally shooting Derek
"Ricky" Mitchell and trying to kill Samuel Simmons in a dispute over a sewing
machine. He was sentenced to death in 1987.
In a 2-1 decision, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Hutton's
sentence saying the judge who presided over the trial did not give the jury
proper instructions before it deliberated on a recommended sentence.
The majority opinion says that the jury that recommended Hutton's execution was
not given instructions on how to weigh what are known "aggravating
circumstances." These are a set of facts in a death penalty trial, such as the
heinous nature of the crime, that a jury must consider when recommending
However, juries in capital cases are also required to compare such factors
against "mitigating circumstances" that weigh in favor of sparing a defendant's
life, such as mental illness or childhood abuse.
"... The jury could not have determined that the aggravating circumstances
outweighed the mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt without
knowing what the aggravating circumstances were," Judge Bernice Donald wrote
for the court. "Without this finding, a death sentence cannot stand."
Judge John Rogers, in partially deviating from the majority's ruling, wrote
that Hutton's death sentence should stand because Hutton did not properly raise
the issue in previous appeals. Donald acknowledged this, but wrote that the
interests of justice outweighs Hutton's failure to raise the issue.
Ohio Attorney General's Office spokeswoman Jill Del Greco said the office was
still reviewing the case and whether to challenge the appeals court's decision.
A call left for Hutton's attorney was not immediately returned.
A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu
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