We hope you have a great Fourth of July, and thank you for joining us in the fight for justice!
“If you knew going out there that raping and killing someone had the consequence of the death penalty, then why are you going to do it?” Givens asked. “I considered it suicide.”
As Virginia executed its 110th person in the modern era last month, Givens prayed for the man, but also for an end to the death penalty. Since leaving his job in 1999, Givens has become one of the state’s most visible — and unlikely — opponents of capital punishment.
His evolution underscores that of Virginia itself and the nation. Although polls show that the majority of state residents still support the death penalty, Virginia has experienced a sea change on capital punishment in recent years that is part of a national trend.
The state has had fewer death sentences over the past five years than any period since the 1970s. Robert Gleason, who was put to death Jan. 16, was the first execution in a year and a half. As recently as 1999, the state put 13 to death in a single year.
Nationwide, the number of death sentences was at record lows in 2011 and 2012, down 75 percent since 1996, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Five states have outlawed capital punishment in the past five years, and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) affirmed plans to push for a moratorium there. Gallup polls show support for capital punishment ebbing.
Givens’s improbable journey to the death chamber and back did not come easily or quickly for the 60-year-old from Richmond. A searing murder spurred his interest in the work, but it was the innocent life he nearly took that led him to question the system. And he was changed for good when he found himself behind bars.
His story helps explain how a state closely associated with the death penalty for decades has entered a new era.
“From the 62 lives I took, I learned a lot,” Givens said.
The first execution
Friends and strangers regularly ask Givens the essential question: What is it like to take another man’s life? In answering, he vividly recalls his first execution, in 1984.
Amanda wrote this post on the blog, i share with u :
My name is Amanda Hodge My husband Shaun Hodge is currently incarcerated at Riverbend Maximum Security Inst. in Nashville Tennessee his lawyers have recently discovered new evidencane in his case..and have filed a writ of error coram novis petition in the case..my husband has been incarcerated 13 yrs. and is innocent and was wrongfully convicted anyone that would like to follow his case we’d love the support!Shaun Alexander Hodge
September 21, 2012 http://www.azcentral.com
A federal appeals court this week rejected multiple challenges by an Arizona death-row inmate to reduce his sentence for the 1992 murders of four people, including three who were killed in a Phoenix trailer-park “homicidal rampage.”
Pete Carl Rogovich, 46, confessed to the killings and other crimes when caught by police on March 15, 1992, after a lengthy car chase, according to court documents.
“I did it. I know it was wrong. I know I’ll burn in hell,” Rogovich reportedly told police.
He presented an insanity defense, but was convicted of all counts by an Arizona jury in a seven-day trial in May 1994.
In his latest round of appeals, Rogovich argued that his attorney at trial presented the insanity defense without his approval. He also claimed that his attorney failed to challenge prejudicial prosecution statements during closing arguments or to challenge the aggravating factors that led to the imposition of the death penalty.
But a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected those arguments Tuesday, saying there is no law “requiring the defendant to consent on the record to an insanity defense.” It also upheld lower-court rulings that Rogovich was adequately represented at trial.
“Of course we’re disappointed” by the decision, said Sarah Stone, Rogovich’s lawyer for his appeal. “He’s a seriously mentally ill person.”
She said there is no question that he committed the crimes, since he never denied his actions. “The question is whether the punishment (a death sentence) is appropriate,” she said.
“We think a life sentence is best for Mr. Rogovich, given his mental condition,” she said.
Prosecutors could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The case began on the morning of March 15, 1992, when a customer walked in to the Super Stop Market near Rogovich’s central Phoenix apartment at 8:45 and found clerk Tekleberhan Manna, 24, dead, shot once in the eye at close range. Nothing had been taken from the store, court documents said.
Rogovich, who had told an apartment maintenance worker that morning that he was angry with his girlfriend and would get even with her, left his apartment about 1 p.m. that day with a gun and began firing randomly. After shooting at two people in the parking lot and missing, he hopped the fence to a neighboring trailer park and began what courts described as a “homicidal rampage.”
Rogovich shot Phyllis Mancuso, 62, in the laundry room; Rebecca Carreon, 48, in her driveway; and Marie Pendergast, 83, in her trailer. All three women died as Rogovich ran off.
Some time later, he stole a radio station’s van at gunpoint from a promotional appearance at a restaurant. He was later seen at a convenience store in Goodyear, where he stole beer and cash before “casually” walking out and driving off in the van.
Goodyear police spotted him about 5 p.m. and caught Rogovich after a “lengthy chase at speeds ranging from 50 to over 100 miles per hour.”
Rogovich admitted to all the crimes, including all four killings, but said he was upset by the breakup with his girlfriend and the death of his stepfather six years earlier.
“Of course I’m sorry. It was wrong,” he said, according to the court. “I know it, but I just snapped. I was so angry. I just couldn’t stop.”
Despite his insanity defense he was convicted in 1994 of all charges: four murders, two aggravated assaults, two armed robberies and unlawful flight.
At his sentencing a year later, his attorneys presented evidence of an abusive childhood, mental illness and drug dependencies. But the court sentenced him to death for the trailer-park killings and life in prison for Manna’s death.
Stone said that Rogovich’s attorneys have not decided on the next step.
June 15, 2012 Source : http://napavalleyregister.com
In his opinion piece (“Would repealing the death penalty really save money?,” June 10), Michael O’Reilley tells California voters that passing the SAFE (Savings Accountability Full Enforcement) California initiative on Nov. 6 would not result in any cost savings for the state.
Mr. O’Reilley relies on the same argument advanced by many proponents of the death penalty, which is that there is no reliable evidence that repealing the death penalty will save money because the “true cost” of the current system is “difficult to determine.”
For too many years, Californians have been kept in the dark about how much the state is spending on its broken death penalty system because, they were told, such a cost analysis was impossible to perform. That is simply not the case.
In our three-year-long, exhaustive investigation into the costs of California’s death penalty, Senior Judge Arthur L. Alarcón and I reviewed every available source of cost data. Our mission was to tell voters the truth about what they are spending on the state’s current system — one that has been described as “dysfunctional” by both the former and current chief justices of the California Supreme Court.
Our research revealed that while there is, indeed, a lack of political will when it comes to tracking these costs, there is no question that California’s death penalty has cost taxpayers billions of dollars over the past 34 years. We relied on court records, state budgets, and other objectively reliable data to calculate the costs associated with each stage of process from trials through final appeals.
The findings in our report are supported by the Blue-Ribbon Panel convened by the state Senate, the California Commission for the Fair Administration of Justice, which did a similar study and reported similar data in its Final Report published in 2008.
The following facts are undisputed:
• California taxpayers have funded roughly 2,000 death penalty trials over the past three decades;
• California houses more than 22 percent of the nation’s death row inmates, but has carried out no more than 1 percent of all executions nationwide in that time — 13 executions since 1978;
• The vast majority of condemned inmates die on death row before their sentences are ever carried out, which means that those inmates receive state-funded medical care for the entirety of their lives — an expense that Mr. O’Reilley argues (incorrectly) is incurred only under a life without possibility of parole (LWOP) sentence, but not under a sentence of death.
Voters must decide for themselves whether Mr. O’Reilley’s argument that the current system is a deterrent to violent crime that comes at no added cost to taxpayers rings true. Voters must also consider whether — when it comes to public safety — the current dysfunctional death penalty system is a good use of our state’s limited resources when more than 10,000 homicides committed over the past 10 years remain unsolved.
In the current economic climate, voters should not be satisfied with being told that it is impossible to calculate what the death penalty costs. Voters should demand to know the truth.
Mitchell is co-author (with Judge Arthur L. Alarcón) of “Executing the Will of the Voters? A Roadmap to Mend or End the California Legislature’s Multi-Billion-Dollar Death Penalty Debacle,” and lives in Los Angeles.
Sentencing reforms need to be set in place preventing ‘permanent’ punishments. Sentencing needs to be derived from a ‘protect us from the bad elements’ point of view and not from a ‘pay them back for their nefarious deeds’ point of view.
When a law is created from a retribution or payback perspective, it violates the spirit of law and order, particularly, when a sentence option is death, having the wrong person or an aggressive prosecution and then doing something as ‘unacceptable’ as they did sounds like childish retribution and just doesn’t weigh in as making sense.
If you have the wrong person and you kill them, then heaven save us all. It could be you, me, any family member, friend or a complete stranger; it doesn’t matter because they are dead. This is dangerous to us all and why are we paying taxes to have a law like this if there is a potential that we can be easily killed by accidentor wrongly but legally. It doesn’t matter how rarely it might happen, death just doesn’t sound smart to me.
Again, if the prosecution believes that the person is guilty, their expert experience with the judicial system give them an advantage as well as increase the likelihood that an innocent person gets the death penalty. I am not insinuating that prosecutors are evil, maybe, maybe not; the point is when the sentencing is so permanent it leaves NO room for mistakes. In this era of human rights I find it difficult that the most valuable right we have, the right to life, is not protected.
How can we punish someone for something we say is wrong and are abhorred by and then go and do the exact same thing to them ourselves, collectively, and feel justified in our actions. We ignore the reality of it all by saying we are more humane and we would not be doing it if they did not make the choices they have chosen. Then we sit down, contemplate, debate, and plan laws, voting on them and finally making a decision in the first degree of culpability to impose a death penalty.
If you say killing is wrong, then it’s wrong. Period.
Source : http://socyberty.com
May 29, 2012 Source :http://www.reprieve.org.uk
Sixty-one years ago today, Jack Alderman was born in Savannah, Georgia. On 16 September 2008 he was executed by that same state for a crime he did not commit. By that time, he had spent 33 years on death row, making him the longest serving prisoner awaiting execution in the US.
Based on the testimony of John Arthur Brown – Jack’s neighbour and a known drug addict and alcoholic – Jack was convicted for the murder of his wife Barbara in 1975. Since there was no forensic evidence against him, the District Attorney stated that he “structured the entire case” around Brown’s statement. A few months later, Brown was himself sentenced to death after claiming that he and Jack killed Barbara together. This was later commuted to a life sentence – a result of a deal struck between Brown and the prosecutors – and he was freed after 12 years. Always maintaining his innocence, Jack lost several appeals, and remained on death row until his death five years ago.
During his 33 years on death row, Jack gained the respect of his fellow prisoners, guards, and even the prison administration, for his peacemaking abilities within the prison community. Along with Reprieve, hundreds of individuals, faith-based organizations, and even supporters of capital punishment, advocated for his clemency.
There was a glimmer of hope on the day of his execution – a judge ordered a stay until the State Board of Patrons and Paroled had granted a “meaningful” hearing, where Jack’s legal team and witnesses could have an opportunity to appeal for clemency. Sadly, the Board – the same which offered parole to Brown – denied clemency, and Jack was executed by lethal injection just a few hours later.
Refusing to plead guilty to a crime he did not commit, Jack consistently stated until the end: “I would rather die than lie to save myself.” The horribly unfair nature of this case shows how a system created to do justice may very easily end up killing innocent people.
May 19, 2012 Source : http://www.independent.co.uk
A condemned killer’s fight to receive surgery for agonising hip pain has pushed Kentucky officials into an uncomfortable debate over security and politics.
Emails and memos show corrections officials struggling to reconcile their duty to provide medical care with the political ramifications of spending thousands of dollars for surgery on a man they plan to execute. A key problem was security issues that led several hospitals to balk at treating inmate Robert Foley.
Foley, 55, was convicted of killing six people in Kentucky in 1989 and 1991, making him the most prolific killer on that’s state’s death row.
His attorney, James Drake, said the state must care for condemned inmates. Foley, who has been on death row since 1993, can’t get around without help because he’s at risk of falling and hurting himself. “If you’re on death row, it’s just like anybody else,” Mr Drake said. “If you need a new hip, you need a new hip. It hurts.”
May 15, source : http://www.kpho.com
Watch the video : click here
Robert Henry Moorman received bypass surgery three months before he was executed.
Lynette Barrett’s eyes well up with tears when she talks about her husband, Murray, and his struggle to survive.
“Nine years ago last December,” Barrett said is when she discovered Murray had liver failure. “He needs a new liver,” she said.
Unable to work and with no health insurance, the Barretts found themselves under a mountain of debt and with an even larger bill on the horizon.
“He’s had three hospital stays in the last year and each of them has been over $50,000. Without insurance, we had to have $100,000 up front before they’d even consider a transplant,” said Barrett.
Since 2010, the state indigent healthcare system has purged more than 100,000 people from its rolls. Families like the Barretts no longer qualify for state aid.
State leaders say helping them is a luxury they just can’t afford. But a CBS 5 investigation found cases where state dollars have gone to lifesaving operations in one of the unlikeliest places.
That place is death row.
Every inmate here is awaiting execution and in a strange quirk of the law, some of these condemned inmates are receiving the kind of state-funded medical care being denied to law-abiding citizens who don’t have health insurance.
In 1984, Robert Moorman murdered his adoptive mother and chopped her up into pieces. But in November of last year, Moorman received a quintuple heart bypass surgery at the taxpayers’ expense. He was executed three months later.
Why does the state pay for healthcare for prison inmates?
“Because there’s no choice,” said Daniel Pachoda, who is the legal director for the Phoenix office of the ACLU.
He said he can’t explain what happened to Robert Moorman, but the requirements of the death penalty may help explain it.
“That is a quirk in the law that people have to be medically and physically competent before they’re allowed to be executed,” said Pachoda.
But according to Pachoda, it would be a mistake to think that all inmates get the same treatment.
The ACLU recently sued the state, citing dozens of cases where basic medical treatment or antibiotics would have saved the lives of inmates or spared them from serious illness.
Lynette Barrett says the Moorman case does not make any sense to her.
“It’s really hard to see somebody they’re going to execute in three months…what was the point of the bypass?” she asked.
Department of Corrections officials could not discuss any specific inmate medical questions, but they did say medical professionals are the ones who make the decisions about healthcare for inmates. And they insist that all inmates receive the same constitutionally required medical care.
i share again with u all, a comment i got on the blog
from curi56 blog’link : http://faktensucher.wordpress.com/
Dear …… (don´t know Your name),
saw several reports about prisons in USA & Russia. Not needed to tell about my emotions.
I immediately started to get informations and look how I could get active.
In spite off my poor English I created blogs, wrote on Twitter & Facebook and: wrote to TV-stations in Germany, asking for send reports of prisons. And I crossposted all informations I got.
In spite off I am not able to create a blog-site like Your´s is, I am fighting for justice for inprisoned innocent people.
And now I come to the point: people are writing e-mails, asking for help.
Now there is a woman whose brother is in prison, innocent.
I experienced that prison-inmates would oft send around and their families couldn´t visit them.
It seems they broke them all connections to a world, outside of prison.
In this spec. case the prisoners name is: John Wesling. The family is destroyed, family-members died, it´s such a drama.
I am in contact with Alice Willison, his sister. Here is help needed, linfe-changing needed.
Excuse my many words, but…
Thank You so much:
Dr. Annamaria Grabowski (Psychologist), Germany