october

Tennessee sets execution dates for 10 men


february 6, 2014

The state of Tennessee plans to execute 10 death row inmates over the next two years after changing the drug protocol to be used in lethal injections, officials said Wednesday.

The state is scheduled to execute the condemned prisoners between April 22, 2014, and Nov. 17, 2015, the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts confirmed. Three executions are scheduled this year and seven in 2015.

Gov. Bill Haslam, noting that three execution orders were handed down Friday by the state Supreme Court, told The Tennessean Wednesday that the decision to seek the executions didn’t go through him. But he said he agrees with it.

State officials asked the Tennessee Supreme Court in October for execution dates for 10 inmates, the highest number of condemned people the state has ever sought to kill at one time. The court has since ordered execution dates for nine of those men. Another inmate, Nickolus Johnson, whose execution was sought separately from the other 10, is scheduled to die April 22.

Dates have not yet been set for Lee Hall, the other man in the October group, or Donald Wayne Strouth, for whom the state requested an execution date in December.

Kelley Henry, who supervises capital punishment defense cases with the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Nashville, said it was unfortunate that so many death row inmates were being grouped together. Henry and other attorneys have asked a Davidson County judge to halt the executions over questions about the drug the state now plans to use.

“Each and every one of these cases has a story that is an example of how the death penalty system in Tennessee is broken,” she said Wednesday. “They each have different stories of ineffective counsel, of evidence that was suppressed by the state, stories of trauma and mental abuse that were never presented to a jury or a judge.”

(Source: The Tennessean)

Advertisements

These two men were both 19 when they were sentenced to death


Anthony Cardell Haynes

Anthony Haynes claimed he didn’t know that Kent Kincaid was a Houston police sergeant when he shot him in the head back in 1998. Kincaid was off-duty and driving his personal vehicle when Haynes drove by; something cracked Kincaid’s windshield, and he reportedly thought Haynes had thrown something at him. He followed Haynes, and when the 19-year-old stopped his car, Kincaid approached him. Kincaid said he was a police officer, but Haynes later said he didn’t know whether to believe him. When Kincaid reached behind his back, presumably for a badge, Haynes pulled out a .25-caliber gun and shot him.

Anthony Haynes

Anthony Haynes

Haynes blamed the tragedy in part on drugs and falling in with a bad crowd of people who reportedly made a game out of shooting at the windshields of passing cars and then robbing the drivers after they stopped. As it happened, the crack in Kincaid’s windshield was made by a bullet. Jurors in Haynes’ case deliberated for three days before sentencing the teen to death.

That sentence was overturned, however, after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Haynes’ defense that an unusual jury-selection setup in Haynes’ case had denied his right to equal protection under law. Indeed, two different judges presided over Haynes’ jury selection; one heard prosecutors interview individual jurors, and a second heard the lawyers’ arguments for striking from service the potential jurors. As it turned out, the state used its power to strike all but one of the black potential jurors, arguing that it was not their race that excluded them (which would be illegal), but their “demeanor.” But Haynes’ appeal attorney argued that the judge who allowed those strikes had not actually witnessed the jurors’ questioning and thus could not actually have seen whether their demeanor would be a basis on which to have them struck. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately disagreed with the 5th Circuit, ruling that there was no rule that would require a judge to “personally observe” the juror questioning when deciding whether a juror is lawfully struck from service.

Haynes is scheduled for execution today, Oct. 18. STAYED

Bobby Lee Hines

Hines

Hines

Bobby Lee Hines was also just 19 when he was sentenced to death for the robbery and strangling of 26-year-old Michelle Haupt in her Dallas apartment. Now, 20 years later, he’s scheduled to die for that crime on Oct. 24. But his attorney, Lydia Brandt, argues that Hines’ execution should, once again, be stayed while the courts consider whether his lawyers have done enough to save his life.

Hines was convicted of the 1991 murder of Haupt, who was stabbed repeatedly with an ice pick and strangled with a cord inside her apartment. Hines had been staying next door with the apartment complex’s maintenance man. Police found items from Haupt’s apartment, including packs of cigarettes and a bowl of pennies, under a couch where Hines had been sleeping.

Hines’ first date with death was stayed in 2003, while the courts considered a claim that he was mentally retarded and thus ineligible for execution. Although Hines had a diagnosed learning disability and was considered emotionally disturbed, the courts ruled that he didn’t meet the criteria for relief. His execution date was reset for June 2012, but was stayed again so that further DNA testing could be performed. The DNA evidence confirmed Hines’ guilt and once again his execution was back on.

Now, Brandt is again seeking a stay, arguing that Hines’ case has been plagued by ineffective assistance of counsel. Brandt’s latest appeal, filed Oct. 10 with the Court of Criminal Appeals, argues that none of Hines’ defense attorneys ever investigated his background for mitigating evidence that could have swayed a jury to sentence him to life in prison. Hines had a “nightmarish” childhood that featured chronic abuse by his racist, alcoholic father, and later by foster parents, and was profoundly affected by his mother’s decision to abandon him as a young child. But the jury never heard anything of Hines’ troubled background. The question now before the CCA is whether the prior counsel’s failings can create an avenue for reconsidering Hines’ punishment. Brandt believes it should: “Fundamental rules of equity will not suffer a right to be without a remedy,” reads the appeal

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