Month: January 2014

STUDIES IN PSYCHOPATHY : What Is a Psychopath ? part 1


Psychopaths cannot be understood in terms of antisocial rearing or development. They are simply morally depraved individuals who represent the “monsters” in our society. They are unstoppable and untreatable predators whose violence is planned, purposeful and emotionless. The violence continues until it reaches a plateau at age 50 or so, then tapers off.

Their emotionlessness reflects a detached, fearless, and possibly dissociated state, revealing a low-state autonomic nervous system and lack of anxiety. It’s difficult to say what motivates them – control and dominance possibly – since their life history will usually show no long-standing bonds with others nor much rhyme to their reason (other than the planning of violence).

They tend to operate with a grandiose demeanor, an attitude of entitlement, an insatiable appetite, and a tendency toward sadism. Fearlessness is probably the prototypical (core) characteristic (the low-fear hypothesis). It’s helpful to think of them as high-speed vehicles with ineffective brakes.

Certain organic (brain) disorders and hormonal imbalances mimic the state of mind of a psychopath.

There are four (4) different subtypes of psychopaths. The oldest distinction was made by Cleckley back in 1941 between primary and secondary.

PRIMARY PSYCHOPATHS do not respond to punishment, apprehension, stress, or disapproval. They seem to be able to inhibit their antisocial impulses most of the time, not because of conscience, but because it suits their purpose at the time. Words do not seem to have the same meaning for them as they do for us. In fact, it’s unclear if they even grasp the meaning of their own words, a condition that Cleckley called “semantic aphasia.” They don’t follow any life plan, and it seems as if they are incapable of experiencing any genuine emotion.

SECONDARY PSYCHOPATHS are risk-takers, but are also more likely to be stress-reactive, worriers, and guilt-prone. They expose themselves to more stress than the average person, but they are as vulnerable to stress as the average person. (This suggests that they are not “fully psychopathic.” This may be due to distinctive genetic variations.)

They are daring, adventurous, unconventional people who began playing by their own rules early in life. They are strongly driven by a desire to escape or avoid pain, but are unable to resist temptation. As their anxiety increases toward some forbidden object, so does their attraction to it. They live their lives by the lure of temptation. Both primary and secondary psychopaths can be subdivided into:

DISTEMPERED PSYCHOPATHS are the kind that seem to fly into a rage or frenzy more easily and more often than other subtypes. Their frenzy will resemble an epileptic fit. They are also usually men with incredibly strong sex drives, capable of astonishing feats of sexual energy, and seemingly obsessed by sexual urges during a large part of their waking lives. Powerful cravings also seem to characterize them, as in drug addiction, kleptomania, pedophilia, any illicit or illegal indulgence. They like the endorphin “high” or “rush” off of excitement and risk-taking. The serial-rapist-murderer known as the Boston Strangler was such a psychopath.

CHARISMATIC PSYCHOPATHS are charming, attractive liars. They are usually gifted at some talent or another, and they use it to their advantage in manipulating others. They are usually fast-talkers, and possess an almost demonic ability to persuade others out of everything they own, even their lives. Leaders of religious sects or cults, for example, might be psychopaths if they lead their followers to their deaths. This subtype often comes to believe in their own fictions. They are irresistible.

Sociopaths have always existed in varying form and to various degrees. They have been known by various titles. They have been studied using various techniques, and through the years their ailment has been blamed on various causes. But one thing never varies: all sociopaths share three common characteristics. They are all very egocentric individuals with no empathy for others, and they are incapable of feeling remorse or guilt.

While the psychopath has likes and dislikes and fondness for the pleasures that human company can bring, analysis shows that he is completely egocentric, valuing others only for their enhancement of his own pleasure or status. While he gives no real love, he is quite capable of inspiring love of sometimes fanatical degree in others.

He is generally superficially charming and often makes a striking impression as possessed of the noblest of human qualities. He makes friends easily, and is very manipulative, using his ability with words to talk his way out of trouble. Many psychopaths love to be admired and bask in the adulation of others.

With the lack of love, there is also a lack of empathy. The psychopath is unable to feel sorry for others in unfortunate situations or put himself in another’s place, whether or not they have been harmed by him.

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Defense lawyers: Skinner won’t appear in Pampa


31.01.2014

Hank Skinner, the Texas death-row inmate convicted of murdering his live-in girlfriend, Twila Busby, and her sons, Randy and Elwin “Scooter” Caler, will not be attending an evidentiary hearing scheduled in Pampa Monday and Tuesday.

An employee who works for Skinner’s defense attorneys, Douglas Robinson and Robert Owen, told The Pampa News that both the state and defense attorneys will offer witnesses and other evidence, such as laboratory reports, to show what results were produced by the DNA testing that has been performed in Skinner’s case over the past 18 months. The attorneys will try to argue about what inferences can be drawn from those test results, she said.

A series of tests on DNA taken from the crime scene have been performed since June 2012, two by a Texas Department of Safety crime lab in Lubbock and one by an independent laboratory in Virginia.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office, who is presenting the state’s case to the court, claims the DNA tests overwhelmingly show that evidence collected at the crime scene consistently shows that Skinner is guilty of strangling and bludgeoning Busby in the living room of her home on New Year’s Eve 1993.

The defense attorneys claim the DNA tests performed at the Virginia lab point to Robert Donnell, Twila Busby’s deceased uncle, as the real killer in the triple homicide. The attorneys say it is well known that Donnell was making unwelcome advances to Busby on the night she was killed.

Judge Steven R. Emmert of the 31st District will not issue a definitive ruling at the conclusion of the hearing, the employee said.

Instead, the parties will have an opportunity to submit written arguments in late February, and the judge will issue a definitive ruling after considering those arguments.

A ruling in Skinner’s favor in this proceeding would not automatically reverse his conviction.

(Source: The Pampa News) #deathpenalty #hankskinner

The Youngest Person In U.S. To Receive The Death Penalty May Get A New Trial


George Stinney may receive new trial 70 years after his execution in South Carolina
By Ja’Neal Johnson

70 years ago, a 14 year old black teenager named George Stinney, would become the youngest to be executed in the history of the United States and of that century for the murder of two young white girls, Betty June Binnicker and Mary Emma Thames in the small town Alcolu, South Carolina in 1944.

It would take the all-white jury only 10 minutes to decide whether the young quiet Stinney was guilty. His defense lawyer made no effort to prove if George Stinney was innocent. No witnesses were called for his defense or no cross examination. George Stinney’s family would have to flee their home before the trial.His lawyer at the time would not file an appeal on behalf of Stinney. George Stinney would be executed by electrocution just 84 days after the two white girls were found. Today is a different story. The family of George Stinny hired lawyers to ask for a new trial. The presiding Judge Carmen T. Mullen will make a decision based on both sides. One side that was never heard during the trial in 1944.

Dr. Amanda Salas, a forensic psychiatrist testified that George Stinny’s confession does not match the evidence. Dr. Salas stated, “It is my professional opinion to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the confession given by George Stinney on March 24, 1944 is best characterized by a coerced compliant, false confession. It is not reliable.” Seven-member board of Parole and Pardons spokesman Peter O’Boyle said Stinney’s application is pending and its investigation should conclude next week. Depending on Mullen’s ruling, the board could hear the case within a few months.

Ernest “Chip” Finney, third circuit solicitor urged Judge Carmen T. Mullen to leave the case alone, despite its flaws. “This would not happen today,” Finney said. “While we along with others have questions about the 1944 trial and its outcome..the evidence here is too speculative and the record is too uncertain for the motion to succeed.”

One of the lawyers working on the case Clarendon County attorney Steve McKenzie, said, “I think we got George Stinney’s story out there,” he said. “I think we got some of the family’s story out there that back in 1944 no one was able to get out there.”

There are no official records of the original trial.

related article

 

Secrecy Behind Executions


jan, 29, 2014 (Nytimes)

It is bad enough that the death penalty is barbaric, racist and arbitrary in its application, but it is also becoming less transparent as the dwindling number of death-penalty states work to hide the means by which they kill people.

The increased secrecy around lethal-injection drug protocols is only the latest tactic of pro-death-penalty legislators and corrections officials around the country. In Missouri, this secrecy was upheld last week by a federal appeals court, which denied a condemned inmate’s constitutional claim that he is entitled to basic information about the drugs that would be used to put him to death.

Herbert Smulls was executed late Wednesday for the 1991 murder of a jewelry-store owner. Missouri refused to name the pharmacy or pharmacies involved in producing the execution drugs.

Missouri’s secrecy, along with new legislation in states such as Georgia and Tennessee, is a response to a mounting “crisis” in death-penalty states: Because many drug manufacturers now refuse to supply drugs for use in executions, states are scrambling to replenish their stocks. This often means turning to compounding pharmacies, which exist in a largely unregulated world.

In 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized Georgia’s supply of one lethal-injection drug after concerns that it had been illegally imported from Britain. And last fall, Louisiana officials sought to buy drugs from an Oklahoma pharmacy, the Apothecary Shoppe, which was not licensed to provide drugs in Louisiana.

There have been multiple reports of previously untested drug combinations leading to botched executions, which is a polite way of saying the condemned person suffered greatly while being put to death. (On Jan. 16, an Ohio man, Dennis McGuire, appeared to gasp and choke after being administered a new combination of lethal-injection drugs.) States should simply admit that they don’t really know how these drug protocols will work, but instead they have tried to hide almost all information about the drugs and who makes them — increasingly through legislation.

Some courts have had little patience for this behavior. In July, a Georgia judge issued a last-minute stay of execution to one inmate, reasoning that the state’s secrecy law “makes it impossible” to show that the drug protocol violates the Eighth Amendment.

But, on Friday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled that Mr. Smulls had no constitutional claim against Missouri’s practice because he had not demonstrated that the “risk of severe pain” from the state’s intended drug protocol would be substantially greater than a readily available alternative. As the dissent argued, this “places an absurd burden on death row inmates,” who must identify “a readily available alternative method for their own executions,” even though the state won’t let them see the method it plans to use.

Meanwhile, Missouri and other states race to execute inmates using new and untested drug protocols developed on the fly and under a cowardly shroud of secrecy. Mr. Smulls was the third inmate executed in Missouri since November. In some states, lawmakers have even proposed reintroducing older execution methods, such as the firing squad and electrocution, so as to avoid the escalating legal battles over lethal injection.

In the end, the argument over what is the most “humane” way to kill someone only obscures the larger point, which is that, in the 21st century, the United States has no business putting people to death by any means. Public support for capital punishment has reached a 40-year low, and virtually all other Western societies have rejected it. It will end here, too, but not until this despicable practice is dragged out into the open for all to see.

Arizona death-row inmate found dead in apparent suicide


01.29.2014

An Arizona death-row inmate died Monday in an apparent suicide, state Department of Corrections officials said.

Gregory Dickens, 48, was pronounced dead after lifesaving measures failed, according to a news release.

Dickens was sentenced to death for his part in a double murder near Yuma in 1991. But, last week, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that, under a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, he was entitled to a new hearing in U.S. District Court to determine whether his first appeals attorney had been ineffective.

He was also the lead plaintiff in a 2009 federal lawsuit that challenged the state’s methods of carrying out executions by lethal injection.

(Source: AZCentral)

 

Skirting the Constitution: Texas rules Basso competent for execution


Texas set to execute woman for ‘horrible, horrible, horrible’ torture killing

UPDATE : february 4, 2014 (AP)

Texas: 2 courts won’t block woman’s execution

A federal judge has joined Texas’ top criminal court in refusing to stop this week’s scheduled execution of a woman condemned for the torture slaying of a mentally impaired man more than 15 years ago outside Houston.

U.S. District Judge Sim Lake on Monday turned down an appeal from 59-year-old Suzanne Basso hours after Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected a similar appeal. She’s set for lethal injection Wednesday evening in Huntsville.

Basso’s attorney contends she is mentally incompetent for execution for the slaying of 59-year-old Louis “Buddy” Musso.

Additional appeals to delay her punishment are likely headed into the federal appeals courts.

Basso would be the 14th woman executed in the U.S. and the 5th in Texas since the Supreme Court in 1976 allowed capital punishment to resume.
Basso’s attorney asked the court to reverse a ruling last month that Basso is competent to be executed for the slaying of 59-year-old Louis “Buddy” Musso at a home in Jacinto City, just east of Houston.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Monday rejected an appeal from 59-year-old Suzanne Basso. She’s set for lethal injection Wednesday evening in Huntsville.

30 january 2014

If the state of Texas goes through with the planned execution on Feb. 5 of Suzanne Basso, it will be executing a delusional woman with scant understanding of why she’s to be put to death, attorney Winston Cochran Jr. argues in a request for sentence commutation filed this month with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Indeed, Cochran argues that evidence of Basso’s mental health issues was never provided to the jurors who sentenced her to die in 1999 – because no mitigation investigation was ever done and no mitigation evidence was provided to jurors. “Executing Basso would bring discredit upon the Texas judicial system by demonstrating that constitutional protections necessary in death penalty cases are not protected,” he wrote in the BPP filing.

Given the BPP’s history, it is not a stretch to imagine that Basso will be denied clemency or a reprieve in order to allow Cochran to pursue additional appeals – since 2007, the BPP has recommended clemency just 4 times out of the 129 death cases it has considered.

Basso was condemned for the gruesome beating death in 1998 of Louis “Buddy” Musso. According to the state, Basso lured Musso, a 59-year-old intellectually disabled man, to Texas from New Jersey by promising to marry him and then, with 5 other people – including her son – abused Musso, beatings that left his body covered in bruises from head to toe, before he was finally killed by a series of brutal blows to the head, as part of a scheme to collect insurance money and Musso’s other assets.

Cochran has argued that there is no evidence that Basso was the one who actually killed Musso and that because the jury was not asked to find that she was a party to the crime – a theory under which all actors share culpability – her conviction is invalid. Several courts have denied Basso’s appeals, including a district court ruling Jan. 15 in Houston, which found that Basso is competent to be executed.

Basso will be the 8th woman put to death in Texas since the mid-1800s, the 2nd inmate executed this year, and the 510th executed since reinstatement of the death penalty.

(source: Austin Chronicle)

RELATED ARTICLE  SUZANNE BASSO

Us- Upcoming Executions february 2014


Month State Inmate
February
4 DE Gary Ploof – STAYED
5 TX Suzanne Basso   EXECUTED 6.26 PM
5 LA Christopher Sepulvado STAYED 90 days
12 FL Juan Chavez EXECUTED 8.17 PM
26 FL Paul Howell
26 MO Michael Taylor EXECUTED 12:10 AM

US- Stays of Execution 2014


Stays of Execution 2014


Date of  Scheduled Execution  State  Inmate Reason for Stay
January
15 TX Rigoberto Avila Stayed to allow time for appeals.
15 TN Billy Irick Stayed to allow time to challenge Tennessee’s new one-drug lethal injection protocol.  Rescheduled for Oct. 7, 2014.
29 MO Herbert Smulls Temporarily stayed by the Supreme Court.  Update – Stay lifted by Supreme Court without explanation on 1/29, Smulls executed same day.
February
4 DE Gary Ploof Stayed pending resolution of a federal habeas corpus appeal filed earlier this year.