Recently in Death Penalty Category
1) Death.A jury in Everett, Washington made the correct choice today. Steve Miletich has this story for the Seattle Times.
2) No punishment at all (i.e., a meaningless additional prison sentence).
Dr. Kermit Gosnell gave up his right to appeal and in return will spend life in prison. Gosnell, 72, was found guilty Monday of first-degree murder in a case that became a flashpoint in the nation's abortion debate.Unless Pennsylvania reformed its glacial capital appeals process, there would be no chance of the 72-year-old Gosnell being executed anyway. (If they got the job done in 6 years, like Virginia, it would have been a strong possibility.)
Former clinic employees testified that Gosnell routinely performed illegal abortions past Pennsylvania's 24-week limit, that he delivered babies who were still moving, whimpering or breathing, and that he and his assistants dispatched the newborns by "snipping" their spines, as he referred to it.
Sara Jane Green reports in the Seattle Times on argument before the Washington Supreme Court yesterday:
A King County judge overstepped his bounds when he ruled that prosecutors can't seek the death penalty against the two people accused of killing a family of six on Christmas Eve 2007 in Carnation, the state Supreme Court was told Thursday.And of course the defense plays the race card:
King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor James Whisman argued that under the state's death-penalty statute, "discretion is placed with the prosecutor" to decide whether to seek capital punishment.
Now we have learned more. There may indeed have been murders in the house of horrors. Brandon Blackwell reports for the Plain Dealer:
The man accused of kidnapping and imprisoning Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight in his home could face the death penalty, says Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty.
McGinty said Thursday that he will pursue charges against Ariel Castro "for each act of aggravated murder he committed by terminating pregnancies" during the women's decade of captivity.
The SCOTUS denial is not on the high court's website as of this writing.
HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- A Texas death row inmate convicted of killing a fellow drug dealer while robbing him outside of a Waco convenience store 10 years ago has been executed.
Carroll Joe Parr received a lethal injection Tuesday evening. Appeals to block the punishment were rejected last week in the state and federal courts. And last-day appeals filed by Parr himself were denied at the U.S. Supreme Court and his trial court.
Update: Ed Marshall informs us in the comments that Justice Scalia denied the application on his own, so there will not be an order of the Court.
Congress vested the stay power in individual justices (see 28 U.S.C. §2101(f)), so the procedure is to apply to the justice assigned to the circuit from which the case comes. For Texas (Fifth Circuit), that is Justice Scalia. However, the Court established long ago (in a case related to the Aaron Burr conspiracy) that a power vested in individual justices may be exercised by the full court. For stays of execution in capital cases, the usual practice is for the individual justice to refer the stay application to the court for decision.
Why wasn't that done in this case? Probably the time crunch. It is also possible that Justice Scalia conferred with his colleagues informally and determined the full court would deny it before issuing the denial individually.
Update 2: The docket is now available here.
Three women and a 6-year-old girl rescued from a house in Cleveland Monday night after years in apparent captivity have been medically evaluated and are in good health, police said Tuesday morning.If Ariel Castro is convicted of holding these women prisoners for years, how will our society punish him? By holding him prisoner for years. Does anybody have a problem with that? Will there be protests that "it is wrong to hold people prisoner to show that it is wrong to hold people prisoner"? Will there be sanctimonious declarations that by holding them prisoner we are lowering ourselves to their level? There weren't any such protests for Phillip Garrido, to my knowledge, and I doubt there will be any for Castro.
The girl is believed to be the daughter of Amanda Berry, the woman who triggered her own rescue and that of her fellow captives by flagging down a neighbor and begging him to help her escape.
Berry, now 27, disappeared in April 2003, a day before her 17th birthday, after calling her sister to say she was getting a ride home from her job at a Burger King. Gina DeJesus went missing a year later, at age 14, while walking home from middle school. The oldest of the women, Michelle Knight, disappeared in August 2002, when she was 20 years old.* * *[Ariel] Castro was arrested Monday night, along with his brothers Pedro Castro, 54, and Onil Castro, 50. [See update note on the continuation page.] The brothers are in custody and must be charged within 36 hours, law enforcement authorities said. They declined to specify what charges the men are likely to face or to detail how they were placed under arrest. Pedro and Onil Castro have addresses elsewhere in Cleveland, police said.
One day after Gov. Martin O'Malley signed legislation to abolish capital punishment in Maryland, death penalty supporters said Friday they will launch a petition drive to give voters the opportunity to overturn the new law.
At a news conference, Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger said he plans to lead the effort to "repeal the repeal" of the state's death penalty.
"We need to retain the death penalty for those prosecutors who wish to seek it because it is simply the right thing to do for public safety," said Shellenberger, a Democrat. "We want the people of Maryland to decide whether Maryland should have the death penalty."
Del. Neil Parrott, a Western Maryland Republican, said he would mobilize his signature-gathering operation, MDPetitions.com, to try to put a death penalty question on the ballot in November 2014.
Best wishes to the forces of justice. If the California experience is any indication, you will be massively outspent. Yet Maryland is a small enough state that the media disadvantage may not be as important. Local leaders making personal appearances and refuting the deception were an important part of the effort in California, and they may be even more effective in Maryland.
In February 1996, Mr. Dunlap was convicted of four counts of capital murder and various other crimes in connection with the murder of three teenagers and a 50-year-old mother of two at a Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant in Aurora, Colorado. In May 1996, in accordance with jury verdicts, he was sentenced to death on the four murder counts and consecutive terms totaling 113 years on the other counts.Wednesday, a judge set the week of August 18 for the execution, with the Department of Corrections to pick the exact date, Karen Augé and Adrian Garcia report for the Denver Post.
In July 1993, Mr. Dunlap had been fired from his position as a cook at the restaurant and wanted to "get even." On the night of December 14, 1993, he hid in the bathroom until closing, then emerged and shot employees Sylvia Crowell, Colleen O'Connor, Bobby Stephens, Marge Kolhberg, and Ben Grant. Mr. Stephens was hit in the face at close range but survived.
Overall, 70 percent of those surveyed say they support the death penalty for 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. While most Democrats and Republicans alike say they would support the death penalty for Tsarnaev, there are deep racial divisions on the matter, reflecting a common gap in public views of the death penalty itself.The overall result is 70-27.