Tuesday, January 20, 2004

OHIO: Judges join dissent on execution delay

Lewis Williams - his attorneys argued that he was mentally retarded, was executed by lethal injection on Jan. 14 2004 in Lucasville, Ohio at age 45.

In Columbus, 5 federal appeals court judges say a convicted killer's request to delay his execution was illegally denied because 2 senior judges participated in the vote.

4 judges on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday added their names to a 5th judge's dissenting opinion in the case of condemned inmate, [prisoner], Lewis Williams, executed Wednesday in Lucasville. Federal law allows senior judges to participate in a vote by the full court only if the judges participated in the initial panel ruling on the same case, said the 5 judges.

Judge Eric Clay was the first to call the vote illegal, in an opinion Tuesday as the court ruled against blocking Williams' execution.

Williams, 45, struggled with guards and pleaded for help until the end Wednesday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. He was sentenced to death for shooting a Cleveland woman in a 1983 robbery.

The 4 judges who added their names Thursday: Boyce Martin of Louisville; Martha Craig Daughtrey of Nashville, Tenn.; Karen Nelson Moore of Cleveland; and Guy Cole of Columbus. (source: Cincinnati Enquirer)

Expanded viewing of executions increases accountability

The disturbing mental images created by witness descriptions of Wednesday's execution of Lewis Williams clearly requires Ohio prison officials to revisit a recent decision.

Under pressure from the ACLU to allow witnesses to view the entire proceedings leading up to executions, the state changed its policies for Williams' execution, the 9th since Ohio resumed death sentences.

Those opposed to the death penalty wanted greater access to view the condemned as they are brought to the execution chamber, prepared for their lethal injection and strapped into the bed. In the past, curtains were drawn until the inmate, [prisoner], was restrained and prepared to offer a final statement.

Williams, who 'professed his innocence' until his final moments, was the first Ohio inmate, [prisoner], to struggle with the state's execution team, even gripping a door frame in an effort to delay his death. The scene disturbed everyone from public defenders to the prison's director, making one wonder if the ACLU got more than it bargained for.

State officials immediately began a probe to determine if Williams struggled more because of the increased public viewing or if he would have behaved in the same manner no matter what. Unfortunately, we'll never really know. [?]

[Or who 'professed his innocence' until his final moments?]

Either way, we see nothing wrong with the increased accountability the new policy provides. Ohio prison officials should welcome a chance to show how professionally they handle this difficult process.

By This Is Incredible posted 20 January 04


Mexico Awaits Hague Ruling on Citizens on U.S. Death Row
Sbaldo Torres, a convicted murderer on death row in Oklahoma, should have been dead by now, his appeals exhausted, his time up. But because 15 judges in The Hague, acting at the request of the government of Mexico, have forbidden his execution for now, he is alive in a cell in McAlester, awaiting the next move from the Netherlands.

Jury Passes On Business Of Killing
US: This drives the death penalty crowd in the legislature nuts. Yet another jury - another 12 men and women, tried and true, who had all attested to their belief in the death penalty - has refused to join in the killing business.

Ultimate Punishment: Dealing With the Death Penalty
Scott Turow has long juggled two careers‹that of a novelist and that of a lawyer. He wrote much of his first and best known legal thriller, Presumed Innocent, on the commuter train to and from work during the eight years he spent as an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago, and he has churned out another blockbuster every third year since joining the firm of Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal in 1986.

Are you sane enough to be executed?
New York: The US Supreme Court has let stand a ruling by a federal appeals court in February that officials in the state of Arkansas had the right to force a convicted murderer to take drug treatment to make him sane enough to be executed.

Amnesty steps up campaign to abolish death penalty
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International is urging people around the world to pressure countries to abolish the death penalty. Amnesty director Irene Khan has released a statement, which raps governments for carrying out "executions".

Port Lincoln Mayor has lost the plot!
Controversial Port Lincoln Mayor Peter Davis has called for drug addicts to be given a lethal injection to cut rising illicit drug use on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula.

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Keith Clay was executed tonight, becoming the 300th prisoner in Texas to die by lethal injection since the rogue state resumed the death penalty 20 years ago.

" ... Our nation was built on a promise of life and liberty for all citizens. Guided by a deep respect for human dignity, our Founding Fathers worked to secure these rights for future generations, and today we continue to seek to fulfil their promise in our laws and our society.

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
Please note the following article carefully.....it shows clearly the hateful, uncaring and anti-human rights attitude as reflected by the Governor of Texas (and most other elected Texas officials).

Supreme Court Justice Blocks Execution
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens blocked Indiana from putting to death its oldest death row inmate Tuesday to give the 71-year-old prisoner, who is partially deaf and blind, extra time to file federal appeals.

Stephen Romei: Death knell sounds for US capital law
GEORGE RYAN, outgoing governor of the US state of Illinois a republican who leaves office today, has put US capital punishment on the road to oblivion by commuting the sentences of all 167 of the state's death row inmates. Three were re-sentenced to 40 years' jail and the remaining 164 got life without parole.

Amnesty urges Bush to shut death row
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has urged US President George W. Bush to take a "moral stand" and abolish the death penalty after the Illinois Governor dramatically emptied that state's death row.