November

OHIO – Kasich postpones March 19 execution – GREGORY LOTT


february 7, 2014

Gov. John Kasich has postponed the scheduled March 19 execution of Gregory Lott because of lingering concerns about the drugs used in the lethal injection of Dennis McGuire last month.

Kasich this afternoon used his executive clemency power to move Lott’s execution to Nov. 19.

While the governor did not cite a reason, Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said he wanted to give the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction time to complete its internal review of McGuire’s Jan. 16 execution. “Gregory Lott committed a heinous crime for which he will be executed,” Nichols said.

During his Jan. 16 execution, McGuire, 53, gasped, choked and clenched his fists, all the while appearing to be unconscious, for at least 10 minutes after the lethal drugs – 10 mg of midazolam, a sedative, and 40 mg of hydromorphone, a morphine derivative – flowed into his body. The drugs had never been used together for an execution.

Attorneys for Lott, 51, are challenging his execution, complaining the drugs could cause “unnecessary pain and suffering” in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 19 in the U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost’s court.

Lott, 51, was convicted and sentenced to death for killing John McGrath, 82, by setting him on fire in his Cleveland-area home in 1986. McGrath survived in a hospital for 11 days before dying. Lott came close to execution in 2004, but the U.S. Supreme Court blocked it.

Kevin Werner, executive director of Ohioans to Stop Executions, praised Kasich for showing “leadership and careful consideration” by issuing a temporary reprieve.

UPCOMING EXECUTIONS – NOVEMBER 2012


Dates are subject to change due to stays and appeals

Pennsylvania execution dates and stays are generally not listed because the state routinely sets execution dates before all appeals have been exhausted.

NOVEMBER 16 , 2012  

November    
11.06.12 Garry Allen Oklahoma  EXECUTED  6.10 p.m
11.08.12 Mario Swain Texas  EXECUTED  6.39 p.m
11/08.2012 Hubert Michael Pennsylvania STAY                                                                                                                      
11/13/2012 Brett Hartman Ohio EXECUTED  10.34 a.m 
11/14/2012 Ramon Hernandez Texas EXECUTED  6.38 p.m
11/15/2012 Preston hughes Texas  EXECUTED  7.52 p.m

OHIO – Inmate on death row professes innocence – BRETT HARTMANN


October 15, 2012 http://www.vindy.com

photo

COLUMBUS

An Akron man facing execution next month for the murder and dismemberment of a woman 15 years ago maintains his innocence, saying prosecutors and a jailhouse snitch lied about the crime and failed to test evidence that could exonerate him.

In an interview from death row at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution, Brett Hartmann told the Statehouse bureau of The Vindicator that phone records and hair and fingerprints taken from the scene could prove he didn’t stab 46-year-old Winda Snipes 138 times, slit her throat or cut off her hands.

The latter were never found.

“Whether people want to believe I’m innocent or not, you know, but ask why,” Hartmann said. “Why are they hiding? Why are they lying so much? … Why are they lying and hiding evidence like they do?”

Hartmann, 38, is scheduled for lethal injection Nov. 13 at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.

Twice in recent years, the state parole board has recommended against clemency in the case, with a third decision from that panel expected in coming days after another hearing earlier this week.

In documents presented to the parole board, Snipes was described as a “thoughtful and caring person” who “dressed meticulously” and was “extremely close” to her family.

One day in September 1997, she picked up her paycheck, mailed a letter and stick of gum to her grandmother and was spotted crossing the street near her Highland Square neighborhood in Akron.

Police found her mutilated body tied to a bed in her apartment that evening after receiving several 9-1-1 calls from Hartmann, who admitted having sexual relations with the victim hours before she was murdered.

Police found Hartmann’s fingerprints on a bedspread and on the leg of a chair, and investigators later matched his DNA to the victim’s body.

They also found a wristwatch that purportedly belonged to Snipes and a bloody T-shirt at Hartmann’s apartment.

They also cited incriminating comments he made to a co-worker and a cellmate. The latter said Hartmann confessed the crime.

According to documents submitted by the prosecutor’s office to the state parole board, “… The evidence at trial (as well as recent DNA evidence) clearly establish that [Hartmann] tied Winda to her bed, had vaginal and anal intercourse with her, beat her, strangled her with a cord, stabbed her 138 times, slit her throat, and cut off her hands. The jury found [Hartmann] guilty of Winda’s murder and determined unanimously that [Hartmann’s] crimes warranted death. The jury’s verdict has been affirmed many times by state and federal courts. Subsequent DNA testing also confirmed [Hartmann’s] guilt. … [His] many claims of legal error have been carefully reviewed, considered and rejected.”

Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh added in a released statement Friday, “The state has provided Mr. [Hartmann] with top-notch defense attorneys to argue his claims in state and federal courts for the past 14 years. No court — state or federal — has bought any of Mr. Hartman’s claims.”

Hartmann said he and Snipes had a casual sexual relationship, “hooking up” on occasion after drinking at a bar near her apartment. He admitted to police on the night that Snipes’ body was found that he had been with her early on the morning of the crime but that she was alive when he left.

“Clearly, no matter how intoxicated I was that morning, when I left her, she was well, alive and healthy, because she was seen alive later that day,” he said.

Hartmann said he did not murder Snipes; rather, he returned to her apartment for another “hookup” and found her dead on the floor. He said he panicked, grabbed anything that connected him to the crime scene and fled. He said he didn’t think about calling the police immediately to report the crime, only doing so later from a nearby pay phone.

“I lived on the streets with bikers and meth-heads,” he said. “I grew up on Indian reservations where you don’t call the police at all. … When I found her, the first thing that went through my head was two warrants out for my arrest for traffic violations and failure to pay fines. And the first thing that went through my head was if I call the police, they’re going to run my name, see I have warrants and arrest me and I’m going to lose my job.”

Hartmann said the watch police found at his apartment was common at the time and belonged to a married woman, one of many who he had sexual relations with and who left clothes or other belongings behind. And he said it doesn’t make sense, logically, that he would leave the watch and bloody T-shirt at his apartment for police to find but manage to hide the victim’s hands and other evidence.

“… I supposedly went and hid all these so well that police have never found them and yet come back to my apartment and these two pieces of evidence are just thrown right there in the middle of everything,” he said. “If I would have done something like this, common sense would dictate that you take everything if you’re going to hide it hide it altogether. You don’t hide some of this stuff and then throw some of the most critical evidence in the middle of your floor.”

Hartmann said phone records prove he was at home at the time the murder was committed. He said police and prosecutors failed to test fingerprints, hair and other evidence found at the crime scene that could prove someone else committed the murder. And he denied making incriminating statements to a co-worker or cellmate.

Hartmann said he does not support the death penalty, calling the process for determining capital punishment “totally flawed. … It has nothing to do with justice or the law or anything. It’s almost all politics.”

He said he and others on Ohio’s Death Row are changed people.

“Most people I know back here don’t even resemble the people they were when they first came,” he said. “I know no one will ever believe me, most of the public will never believe me when I tell them I’ve met better people on Death Row than I ever met out on the street. If I’m hungry, all I have to do is say so and there’s someone there to give me some food. If there’s ever something I need, there will be someone there to help me.”

Asked what he would say to the family and friends of Winda Snipes, Hartmann replied, “My heart goes out to them. I know losing anyone, especially family, is a very traumatizing experience. I recently lost my mom and my sister. And no one in the world deserves to lose a relative or anyone the way that Winda was taken, and my heart goes out to them. But I didn’t do it.”

South Dakota set to execute two on death row – Robert due next week; Moeller wants his lawyers dismissed


October 9, 2012 http://www.argusleader.com

State Department of Corrections officials gave media representatives a tour Tuesday of the execution chamber and holding cell where death row inmates Eric Robert and Donald Moeller will live out the last minutes of their lives later this month.

Robert, 50, has pleaded guilty to the 2011 murder of corrections officer Ron Johnson and is scheduled to die by lethal injection sometime next week. Moeller, 60, was twice convicted of rape and murder in the 1990 death of Becky O’Connell and is scheduled to be executed the week of Oct. 28-Nov. 3.

Though Moeller’s execution date has been set, U.S. District Judge Larry Piersol still has to decide on Moeller’s request to cease any further action on a constitutional challenge to the state’s execution method by injection. The judge’s decision on the matter is expected any day.

Arkansas lawyers appointed at the federal level to represent Moeller want to continue with the challenge and have asked Piersol to find that Moeller isn’t competent to make decisions in his case. On Tuesday, Moeller sent a letter to Piersol reiterating that he wants the Arkansas lawyers removed as his counsel.

Also Tuesday, media representatives shot photographs and video in what inmates call the old hospital section of the state penitentiary.

The death chamber is a square room with a table in the middle that sits on a cylindrical metal pedestal.

A white mattress rests on the table with armrests to each side. Four leather straps are draped across the mattress for now, and there are leather straps on the armrests and at the foot of the mattress.

There are two windows on each of the west and north walls with blinds closed over them Tuesday. There are four separate offices on the other sides of the windows from which witnesses will watch the execution. Red letters above each window designate them as “A,” “B,” “C” and “D.”

A one-way mirrored window on the east wall hides what prison officials call “the chemical room” on the other side. There are four digital clocks in the execution chamber — each gives the time, the date and the temperature in the room. A long, black rod hangs down from the ceiling over the mattress with a microphone attached to it.

Just east of the execution chamber are three holding cells where Robert and Moeller will be housed before their executions.

Each cell has a toilet, a sink and a bed, as well as a white cabinet with three, open shelves that sits just to the right as you enter.

State statute allows the court to set the week of a scheduled execution, then leaves it to the warden to set a specific day and time depending on the needs of the institution and execution requirements, said Corrections spokesman Michael Winder.

The last inmate to be executed in South Dakota, Elijah Page, was put to death July 11, 2007, at the state penitentiary in Sioux Falls

Lon Allan: Panels to debate death penalty


September 25,2012 http://www.sanluisobispo.com

All my life, I have favored the death penalty. I have always believed it deters crime, that execution is cheaper than life sentences for our most dangerous criminals and that the timely application of the death penalty offers relief and a sense of justice served to victims’ families.

I continue to hold to the above frame of mind, but discussions lately regarding doing away with the death penalty have me questioning the practice. Proposition 34 on the upcoming November ballot is asking Californians to put an end to the death penalty.

A friend of mine who is a member of the Yes on Prop. 34 Committee sent me some information on the subject along with the dates of two seminars coming up very soon dealing with the issue.

The first panel presentation will be held Sunday at 7 p.m. at Oak Creek Commons, 635 Nicklaus Ave. in Paso Robles. Guest panelists include Jay Adams, Ph.D., clinical psychologist with 10 years at the California Men’s Colony; The Rev. Lyle Grosjean, a death penalty opponent/activist for 50 years; Jaimee Karroll, a survivor of a violent crime and now a teacher at San Quentin; and Tom Parker, former deputy chief agent for the Los Angeles region of the FBI. I got to know and respect the Rev. Grosjean when he served as pastor of the local Episcopal Church many years ago.

There will be an opportunity to ask questions at this event.

The next night, Monday, there will be a panel discussion in the Chumash Auditorium at Cal Poly at 7 p.m. In addition to the Rev. Grosjean, Adams, Parker and Karroll, this panel will include Lesley Becker, graduating senior of Poly’s social science department, and Chris Bickel, professor of sociology at Cal Poly.

I’m interested in learning more about the whole subject. Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno is quoted in material I received from the Yes on Prop. 34 folks as saying, “I have inquired for most of my adult life about studies that might show that the death penalty is a deterrent. And I have not seen any research that would substantiate that point.”

I remember a crime scene here in Atascadero where two young people had just been killed. Their small children were protected by their mother’s body. I was glad when the killer was convicted and sentenced to the death penalty. That was almost 30 years ago. I still think he deserves to die for what he did.

But at this stage of my life, I find myself questioning a lot of what I thought I believed.

I have a lot of homework to do between now and Nov. 6.

Reach him at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.

CALIFORNIA – Californians to vote on abolishing death penalty


april 24 sourcehttp://www.foxnews.com

SAN FRANCISCO –  California voters will soon get a chance to decide whether to replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole.

A measure to abolish capital punishment in California qualified for the November ballot on Monday, Secretary of State Debra Bowen said.

If it passes, the 725 California inmates now on Death Row will have their sentences converted to life in prison without the possibility of parole. It would also make life without parole the harshest penalty prosecutors can seek.

Backers of the measure say abolishing the death penalty will save the state millions of dollars through layoffs of prosecutors and defense attorneys who handle death penalty cases, as well as savings from not having to maintain the nation’s largest death row at San Quentin State Prison.

Those savings, supporters argue, can be used to help unsolved crimes. If the measure passes, $100 million in purported savings from abolishing the death penalty would be used over three years to investigate unsolved murders and rapes.

The measure is dubbed the “Savings, Accountability, and Full Enforcement for California Act,” also known as the SAFE California Act. It’s the fifth measure to qualify for the November ballot, the secretary of state announced Monday. Supporters collected more than the 504,760 valid signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot.

“Our system is broken, expensive and it always will carry the grave risk of a mistake,” said Jeanne Woodford, the former warden of San Quentin who is now an anti-death penalty advocate and an official supporter of the measure.

The measure will also require most inmates sentenced to life without parole to find jobs within prisons. Most death row inmates do not hold prison jobs for security reasons.

Though California is one of 35 states that authorize the death penalty, the state hasn’t put anyone to death since 2006. A federal judge that year halted executions until prison officials built a new death chamber at San Quentin, developed new lethal injection protocols and made other improvements to delivering the lethal three-drug combination.

A separate state lawsuit is challenging the way the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation developed the new protocols. A judge in Marin County earlier this year ordered the CDCR to redraft its lethal injection protocols, further delaying executions.

Since California reinstated the death penalty in 1978, the state has executed 13 inmates. A 2009 study conducted by a senior federal judge and law school professor concluded that the state was spending about $184 million a year to maintain Death Row and the death penalty system.

Supporters of the proposition, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, are portraying it as a cost-savings measure in a time of political austerity. They count several prominent conservatives and prosecutors — including the author of the 1978 measure adopting the death penalty — as supporters and argue that too few executions have been carried out at too great a cost.

“My conclusion is that he law is totally ineffective,” said Gil Garcetti, a former Los Angeles County district attorney. “Most inmates are going to die of natural causes, not executions.”

Garcetti, who served as district attorney from 1992 to 2000, said he changed his mind after publication of the 2009 study, which was published by Judge Arthur Alarcon of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and law professor Paula Mitchell.

Opponents of the measure, such as former Sacramento U.S Attorney McGregor Scott, argue that lawyers filing “frivolous appeals” are the problem, not the death penalty law.

“On behalf of crime victims and their loved ones who have suffered at the hands of California’s most violent criminals, we are disappointed that the ACLU and their allies would seek to score political points in their continued efforts to override the will of the people and repeal the death penalty,” said Scott, who is chairman of the Californians for Justice and Public Safety, a coalition of law enforcement officials, crime victims and others formed to oppose the measure.

The Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, meanwhile, remains one the biggest backers of the death penalty in the state and opposes the latest attempt to abolish it in California. The foundation and its supports argue that federal judges are gumming up the process with endless delays and reversals of state Supreme Court rulings upholding individual death sentences.

The foundation on Thursday filed a lawsuit seeking the immediate resumption of executions in California. The foundation’s lawsuit, filed directly with the state Court of Appeal, argues that since the three-drug method has been the subject of so much litigation — and the source of the execution delays — a one-drug method of lethal injection like Ohio uses can be substituted immediately.