Day: March 12, 2012

CALIFORNIA – Supreme Court Denies Death Row Inmate’s Request for New Attorneys

Kenneth Clair

March 5, 2012

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a California death row inmate cannot have his conviction overturned because he disagreed with the defense strategy his attorneys used.

The case appears to limit the control of defendants over their attorneys’ tactics.

The defendant was Kenneth Clair, who was convicted and sentenced to death in 1987 for burglary and murder.

He was represented by court-appointed attorneys because Clair could not afford to hire his own.

After Clair was convicted, his attorneys filed appeals and petitions of habeas corpus arguing their client should not be sentenced to death.

Clair said they should have been trying to appeal his conviction by arguing he was innocent of burglary and murder.

In 2005, he filed a petition to change federal public defenders.

A federal judge denied his request. However, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the lower court judge’s decision.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided unanimously that the Court of Appeals was incorrect.

Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote the court’s decision, said Clair waited too long to change attorneys. The judge in his case was two weeks away from ruling on his habeas corpus petition.

Habeas corpus refers to a request for a ruling that a defendant has been wrongfully convicted.

Kagan said Clair’s petition for new attorneys should be decided under the “interests of justice” standard.

The standard uses a test that balances factors such as whether defendants might lose their liberty, livelihoods, suffer damage to their reputations and a substantial question of law is presented.

Attorneys for California said a different standard should be used. They said Clair could be granted new attorneys only if he proved he was denied adequate representation by his court-appointed attorneys.

Kagan said California’s argument was unpersuasive.

“The state acknowledges, this test comes from … well, from nowhere,” Kagan wrote. “Inventiveness is often an admirable quality, but here we think the state overdoes it.”

The dispute arose after Clair complained in a letter to the court that his attorneys were ignoring evidence found by his prosecutor that might show he was innocent.

They should have been using the evidence to appeal his conviction, he said.

Instead, they continued arguing he should not be given the death penalty.

Initially, Clair and his attorneys reached an agreement and the defendant dropped his complaint. Later, the same dispute arose, prompting Clair to write a second letter to the court saying he wanted different attorneys.

When the second request was denied, Clair appealed, eventually reaching the Supreme Court.

The court’s decision Monday said Clair waited too long.

“The court received Clair’s second letter while putting the finishing touches on its denial of his habeas petition,” Kagan wrote. “The case was all over but the deciding; counsel, whether old or new, could do nothing more in the trial court proceedings. At that point and in that forum, Clair’s conflict with his lawyers no longer mattered. … The court was not required to appoint a new lawyer just so Clair could file a futile motion.”

Although the California attorney general won on most of his arguments, the Supreme Court’s frustration with the procedures followed in the case was obvious during oral arguments.

California’s deputy attorney general, Ward Campbell, argued that the “interests of justice” standard was the wrong way to determine whether criminal defendants should be granted new attorneys.

The standard made it too easy for defendants to delay proceedings against them by filing a complaint against their attorneys, he said.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked whether California’s attorney general was using a different test she described as a “sort of a made-up standard.”

She also asked, “Can you point to one case in which this standard has been used by any district court or court of appeals?”

Campbell replied, “No, I cannot.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked, “Where did you get it from?”

Campbell replied that it was derived from Supreme Court interpretations of the Sixth Amendment’s right to representation by counsel.

source : Article © AHN

OKLAHOMA – Timothy Shaun Stemple – execution march 15 2012 – EXECUTED

case and appeal

official support website

Update : 14 march source :

OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Mary Fallin’s office said Tuesday that she does not intend to issue a stay of execution for Tulsa County killer Timothy Shaun Stemple.

Stemple, 46, is set to be executed Thursday for the 1996 killing of his wife, Trisha Stemple, 30.

His family met Tuesday with the Governor’s Office to seek a stay to pursue evidence of his innocence.

They held a news conference with the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty to urge a stay.

The Pardon and Parole Board last month voted 4-1 to deny clemency to Stemple.

“We don’t have the power to grant clemency without a recommendation from the (Pardon and Parole) board,” said Alex Weintz, a spokesman for Fallin.

“The governor does have the power to issue a stay, but she does not plan to do that.”

Jenae Matland Smucker, Stemple’s sister, said her brother is innocent. She said her sister-in-law died as a result of a pedestrian-motor-vehicle collision.

“Sean himself has maintained his innocence from time of arrest until today,” Smucker said.

Stemple was sentenced to death in 1997 for beating Trisha Stemple and running over her with a pickup so he could collect $950,000 in life insurance.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office pointed out that a jury found Stemple guilty 14 years ago and that his appeals have been denied by the courts and the Pardon and Parole Board.

“The evidence in this case is strong and showed beyond a reasonable doubt that Stemple committed this murder,” Pruitt spokeswoman Diane Clay said. “It would be a travesty of justice to further delay his punishment.”

Update : 13 march  source : (full article and video)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Timothy Shaun Stemple’s family met at the Capitol on Tuesday hoping to get a last minute stay of execution. In less than 48 hours the State of Oklahoma will execute the 46-year-old man for the brutal murder of his wife back in 1996.

Court documents reveal the victim, Trisha Stemple, had fractured bones all over her body, including her skull, and appeared to have been intentionally run over. 

Led by the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, the Stemple family gathered at the State Capitol pleading for a stay of execution.

The family says there are theories from forensic pathologists who say the death of the victim was by car accident, not from murder. 

The family says that evidence, as well as other items, never made it into court.

“When my sister in law died, my brother didn’t even get to grieve her death. Within a few days, all fingers were pointing to him because he had life insurance and he had an affair,” Janae Smucker said.

She says her brother is no killer.

“There is too much doubt,” Sen. Consatnce Johnson said.

Even those who’ve lost loved ones to murderers stood by the family’s side.

The Pardon and Parole Board voted 4-1 to deny Stemple’s clemency.

All Stemple’s legal appeals have also been denied. 

“We don’t have the power to grant clemency without a recommendation from the (Pardon and Parole) board,” Alex Weintz said, Gov. Fallin’s spokesman. “The governor does have the power to issue a stay but she does not plan to do that.”

Stemple is scheduled for execution by lethal injection Thursday at 6 p.m. 

The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty says the state has released 10 people from death row who were wrongfully convicted.


Update : 13 march. source

Oklahoma City

The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is asking Governor Mary Fallin for a Stay of Execution for Timothy Shaun Stemple so the family can pursue his legal rights in the courts.

OK-CADP representatives and Shaun’s sister, Jenae Mudock Stucker, met with Governor Fallin’s Deputy Counsel Rebecca Frasier today.  Stemple is set to be executed at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Timothy Shaun Stemple was convicted in February 1998 of the 1996 murder of his wife Trisha Stemple.  He was sent to death row and has remained there since then. Shaun and his family have maintained his innocence since he was charged.

“Since our state has released 10 people from death row who were wrongly convicted, we know the possibility of executing an innocent is real. We hope Governor Fallin will not want us to take that risk in the face of so much doubt,” said OK-CADP Co-Chair Lydia Polley.

The family has been pursuing his exoneration since the conviction and has hired forensic experts to provide testimony to counter the state’s evidence that convicted him.

All of Mr. Stemple’s appeals have been denied, and the state Pardon and Parole Board denied clemency at a February hearing.

The family of a death-row inmate who is to be executed next week is asking Gov. Mary Fallin to spare his life.

Timothy Shaun Stemple’s family has hired forensic experts to provide testimony to counter the state’s evidence that convicted him of murdering his wife in 1996.

Shaun Stemple was sentenced to death in 1997 for beating his wife, Trisha Stemple, and running over her with a pickup so he could collect $950,000 in life insurance.

All of Stemple’s appeals have been denied, and the state Pardon and Parole Board did not recommend clemency at a February hearing.

Barring intervention by Gov. Mary Fallin, Stemple, 46, will be executed March 15 at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.

On Thursday, Stemple’s family spoke at the law offices of Brewster & De Angelis about why they believe that he is innocent.

Janae Matland Smucker said her family believes that the evidence shows that Trisha Stemple died from an auto-pedestrian collision, not from “blunt force trauma to the head,” as a state medical examiner testified during Shaun Stemple’s trial.

Andre Stuart of 21st Century Forensic Animations was hired by Stemple’s family to reconstruct the accident scene using animation technology.

He said his models show that there is “no basis” for evidence that Trisha Stemple died because of multiple hits from a baseball bat instead of being run over by a pickup.

The animation and other testimony and documents can be viewed online at, a website the family has set up to garner support for Shaun Stemple.

According to court testimony, Shaun Stemple hired a teenage accomplice, Terry Hunt, to wait in the woods by the highway.

Stemple then reportedly feigned car trouble so he could stop at a preselected spot nearby. He and Hunt took turns beating Trisha Stemple with a cellophane-wrapped baseball bat and ran over her body with a pickup, prosecutors said.

Trisha Stemple’s skull, neck bone and pelvis were crushed, and 17 ribs were broken. Her body was found alongside the highway after Shaun Stemple reported her missing.

Her death originally was investigated as a hit-and-run auto-pedestrian collision, but investigators reportedly suspected foul play as they examined the evidence.

Hunt, the cousin of Shaun Stemple’s then-girlfriend, testified for the prosecution and is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder.

“All of the state’s witnesses against my brother had perjured themselves” during the trial, Smucker said.

But court records show that the judge who presided over the case noted that despite discrepancies in Hunt’s earlier testimony, he “consistently reported and testified that Stemple approached him about helping kill Trisha Stemple in exchange for $25,000 to $50,000,” among other details.

At his clemency hearing last month, Shaun Stemple spoke briefly and refused to answer questions from board members.

source : Tulsa world


Meeting Notice Confirmation (Click Here)

Name: Date: Time: Location: City, State: DOC #
Timothy Shaun Stemple 02/24/2012 09:00am Hillside Community Corrections Center3300 Martin Luther King Ave. Oklahoma City, OK 261686

You may view and print the web postings of your body’s meeting notices by visiting our website at: your meetings page.

For more information contact:

Tracy George, General Counsel–(405) 602-5863

Supreme court of United states

No. 11-7143      *** CAPITAL CASE ***
Timothy Shaun Stemple, Petitioner
Randall G. Workman, Warden
Docketed: November 1, 2011
Linked with 11A222
Lower Ct: United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  Case Nos.: (09-5097)
  Decision Date: April 4, 2011
  Rehearing Denied: May 31, 2011
~~~Date~~~ ~~~~~~~Proceedings  and  Orders~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Aug 19 2011 Application (11A222) to extend the time to file a petition for a writ of certiorari from August 29, 2011 to October 28, 2011, submitted to Justice Sotomayor.
Aug 23 2011 Application (11A222) granted by Justice Sotomayor extending the time to file until October 28, 2011.
Oct 28 2011 Petition for a writ of certiorari and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis filed. (Response due December 1, 2011)
Nov 30 2011 Brief of respondent Randall G. Workman, Warden in opposition filed.
Dec 15 2011 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of January 6, 2012.
Jan 9 2012 Petition DENIED.