IDAHO – Richard Leavitt – Execution – June 12 2012 10:00 a.m EXECUTED

Richard Leavitt, 53, was pronounced dead at 10:25 a.m. at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution.

He offered no final statement, and the only time he spoke was to decline to have his head covered. 

Richard Leavitt

-Information taken from Idaho Attorney General’s Office

July 16, 1984: Danette Elg reported a prowling incident to the Blackfoot Police and identified Richard Leavitt as the prowler. Elg was acquainted with Leavitt, having met him through a mutual friend.

On or about July 17, 1984: Elg was murdered in her home. She had been attacked with a knife and sustained 15 separate stab and slash wounds. In addition, she had been sexually mutilated. Following her death, but before her body was discovered, Leavitt contacted the police and friends of Elg and expressed curiosity about her absence. Leavitt claimed that Elg’s co-workers and employer called him after she did not appear for work. These calls could not be confirmed.

July 21, 1984: After obtaining permission from Elg’s parents, Leavitt and Blackfoot police entered her home and discovered her body in a waterbed, which had also been slashed during the murder.

Sept. 25, 1985: A Bingham County jury found Leavitt guilty of first-degree murder and use of a deadly weapon. He was sentenced to death by 7th District Judge H. Reynold George on Dec. 19, 1985.

April 23, 1986: George held an evidentiary hearing.

May 1, 1986: George denied Leavitt’s petition for post-conviction relief.

May 30, 1989: The Idaho Supreme Court affirmed Leavitt’s conviction, but sent the case back to district court for resentencing. The Idaho Supreme Court reversed the sentence, because the trial court failed to “detail any adequate consideration of the ‘mitigating factors’ considered, and whether or not the ‘mitigating circumstances’ outweigh the gravity of any ‘aggravating circumstance’ so as to make unjust the imposition of the death penalty.” The state appealed to the United States Supreme Court, but the court declined to hear the state’s appeal.

Dec. 21, 1989: George held a sentencing hearing.

Jan. 25, 1990: George sentenced Leavitt to death.

Nov. 27, 1991: The Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the death sentence. Leavitt appealed to the United States Supreme Court, but the court declined to hear his appeal.

April 29, 1993: Leavitt filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in United States District Court for the District of Idaho.

Feb. 20, 1996: Leavitt filed an amended petition.

Sept. 6, 2000: U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill denied Leavitt’s claims and dismissed his habeas petition. Leavitt filed a motion asking the court to reconsider.

Dec. 14, 2000: Winmill granted habeas relief relating to jury instructions, and ordered the state to initiate new trial proceedings within 60 days or release Leavitt. The state and Leavitt, on different grounds, appealed Judge Winmill’s decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

June 14, 2004: The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Winmill’s decision granting habeas relief and ordering a new trial and affirmed his decision denying all other trial claims. However, the 9th Circuit sent the case back to Judge Winmill for consideration of Leavitt’s claim of ineffective assistance of counsel during his resentencing.

Leavitt twice petitioned the 9th Circuit for reconsideration. Both petitions were denied.

2005: Leavitt then appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which declined to hear his appeal from the 9th Circuit decision.

Sept. 28, 2007: Winmill granted habeas relief relating to ineffective assistance of counsel. The state appealed to the 9th Circuit.

May 7, 2011: The 9th Circuit reversed Winmill’s decision, concluding that Leavitt was not entitled to habeas sentencing relief.

Sept. 13, 2011: The 9th Circuit denied Leavitt’s petition for rehearing.

Feb. 10, 2012: Leavitt filed an appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

May 14, 2012: U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Leavitt’s case.

May 17, 2012: 7th District Judge Jon Shindurling signs death warrant for Leavitt, who will likely be executed by lethal injection June 12, 2012.


No. 11-8844

Richard A. Leavitt v. Arvon J. Arave, Warden

from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

See other cases from the Ninth Circuit.

Docket Entries

on May 14, 2012

Petition DENIED. (orders list)

on April 26, 2012

Reply of petitioner Richard A. Leavitt filed. (Distributed)

on April 11, 2012

Brief of respondent Arvon J. Arave, Warden in opposition filed.

on March 20, 2012

Order extending time to file response to petition to and including April 16, 2012.

on February 10, 2012

Petition for a writ of certiorari and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis filed. (Response due March 16, 2012)

on December 1, 2011

Application (11A529) granted by Justice Kennedy extending the time to file until February 10, 2012.

on November 18, 2011

Application (11A529) to extend the time to file a petition for a writ of certiorari from December 12, 2011 to February 10, 2012, submitted to Justice Kennedy.


Richard A. Leavitt, Petitioner, represented byDavid Z. Nevin

Arvon J. Arave, Warden, Respondent, represented by L. LaMont Anderson


 May 25, 2012 Source

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The attorney representing a death row inmate scheduled to die in two weeks says he has passed a polygraph test that proves he’s innocent.

Richard Albert Leavitt was convicted of the 1984 stabbing murder of Blackfoot resident Danette Elg. Proseuctors said he stabbed her repeatedly and then cut out her sexual organs. He is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection on June 12.

But Leavitt has long maintained his innocence in the case, and now his attorney, David Nevin, is asking the federal court to accept a polygraph test as proof of that claim. Polygraph tests are typically not admissible as evidence in court.

full article : click here 


May 18, 2012 source

Inmate 23081 has been moved to F Block of the Idaho State Correctional Institute in preparation for his scheduled execution, set for Tuesday, June 12.

Brent Reinke, director of Idaho’s Department of Correction, told Citydesk that inmate Richard Leavitt had a sense that his pending execution was coming.

“Absolutely. He was ready to be moved,” said Reinke. “For an individual at his stage in the legal process, he was resolved and knew what to expect. The warden did a very good job of communicating with him.”

Reinke said that prison officials also made some recommendations regarding other inmates on death row. Leavitt is one of 14 inmates on death row: 13 men and one woman.

“During last November’s execution process [leading up to the death of inmate Paul Ezra Rhoades], we tried very diligently to reach out to that population,” said Reinke. “The warden told me, ‘Look, you’ve gone a bit too far. Just back off a bit. It’s going to be OK. If they need help, they’re going to ask you for it.'”

Reinke confirmed that IDOC has opted to use a one-drug injection method for the execution, which is slated for 10 a.m., June 12. Two syringes, each containing 2.5 grams of pentobarbital, will be used, instead of the three-drug method that was used during the Rhoades execution in November.

Leavitt was convicted of the stabbing death of Danette Elg in her Blackfoot home in July 1985. She had been stabbed 15 times and sexually mutilated. Leavitt was convicted in September 1985, but spent the rest of his days appealing his conviction and sentence. His most-recent appeal, to the U.S. Supreme Court, was turned down this week. On Monday, the high court declined to hear his case.

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