Habeas corpus

As Execution Nears, Plano Road-Rage Killer Claims Inhumane Treatment, Neglects to Mention He Tried To Tear Phone From Wall


Barring a stay of execution, Douglas Feldman is scheduled to die in nine days. His petition for a state writ of habeas corpus based on ineffective assistance of counsel has gone nowhere. He claims his trial attorney failed to investigate the role his alleged bipolar disorder played in the murders. Now he’s running out of road, but Feldman is in no hurry to become the 503rd Texas inmate to meet the end. So, he filed his own petition with a federal district court last week.

It’s handwritten and a little messy, but Feldman is no dummy. His petition is also lucid and articulate. He was, after all, once a financial analyst. Then, in 1998, he was out for a night ride on his Harley when he claimed an 18-wheeler nearly ran him off the road. He gunned his motorcycle alongside the truck and emptied his clip into the cab, killing Robert Everett, the driver.

On his way home, he pulled off at an Exxon fueling station and shot tanker driver Nicholas Velasquez in the back. A week later, he shot Antonio Vega outside of a Jack-in-the-Box because he was standing next to a big rig. A jury sentenced him to die. Last year, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to vacate his death sentence. Earlier this year, he wrote a letter to Gawker, pondering the sociological inequities he’d identified on death row and requesting “LSD Hydrate” to help him cope with some heavy existential anxiety.

Now, he’s taking a run at the federal district court himself and claiming some abhorrent treatment in the Polunsky Unit. Among other things, he says he’s had his head shaved, been subject to round-the-clock searches, been forced to sleep naked on the bare concrete floor and been denied toilet paper. All of this, he claims, without having been “convicted of any disciplinary offense.”

But Unfair Park reached out to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and was just stunned to discover that Feldman isn’t exactly Nelson Mandela. About a month ago, he granted an interview to a reporter. Before it could begin, TDCJ spokesman Jason Clark says, the inmate tried to tear a telephone from the wall.

Feldman, Clark says, has a lengthy disciplinary history. He’s been caught with a razor, which officers believed could be used as a weapon. He has filled bottles in his cell with feces and urine. He has “attempted to assault a corrections officer by slipping out of his cuffs.”

Clark couldn’t comment on Feldman’s pending litigation.


Supreme Court To Hear Texas Death Row Inmate’s Case – Carlos Trevino

October 29, 2012 http://www.texastribune.org

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear the case of Texas death row inmate Carlos Trevino in a case that could determine whether a defendant in Texas has a right to “competent” attorney during habeas appeals — a challenge to a criminal conviction that considers whether the defendant’s constitutional rights were violated during his trial.

In March, the nation’s highest court decided inMartinez v. Ryan that the failure of state habeas lawyers to argue that their client’s trial counsel was ineffective should not keep the defendant from being able to make that argument later in the appeals process.

The question in the Trevino case is whether the court’s decision in Martinez applies in Texas, said Trevino’s lawyer, Warren Alan Wolf. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decided in November 2011 that since the laws governing habeas appeals in Texas are different from those in Arizona, the Martinez decision does not apply.

Wolf said he had expected the court to select the case of John Balentine, another Texas death row inmate, as the one with which to decide the question. Balentine was an hour away from execution in August when the court granted him a stay to decide whether his state habeas attorney should have raised claims that his trial counsel had been ineffective. His trial lawyer, Balentine contended, failed to consider mitigating evidence that might have convinced jurors to sentence him to life rather than death.

Dissenting from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ refusal to grant Balentine a hearing, two judges wrote that, “The issue of Martinez v. Ryan’s applicability to capital habeas petitioners in Texas presents an issue of exceptional importance.”

Trevino was convicted in 1997 of the rape and murder of 15-year-old Linda Salinas at a park in San Antonio. At the time, he was a member of the Pisteleros gang, and several other members were charged for the murder. Trevino was the only one sentenced to death.

Trevino’s first habeas attorney, Albert Rodriguez, did “no investigation” outside of the record that already existed, Wolf said, and then became sick and “didn’t want to proceed.” As a result, he explained, “Carlos never really got fair representation.

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 http://www.kboi2.com

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 sourcehttp://www.boiseweekly.com

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.

Texas – Anthony Bartee – execution – may 2, 2012 Stay granted

Picture of Offender

Sentenced to 10 years and 33 years for two counts of Aggravated Rape out of Bexar County.  Bartee was on parole when he committed the offense of capital murder described here.

Bartee was originally scheduled to be executed on February 28, 2012, even though DNA evidence collected at the crime scene had not been tested as ordered on at least two occasions by District Judge Mary Román. He received a reprieve on February 23, 2012 when Judge Román withdrew the execution warrant so that additional DNA testing could be conducted on strands of hair found in the hands of the victim, David Cook.  She also ordered the forensic lab to provide a detailed and comprehensive report to the court with an analysis of the results. Yet, before the testing occurred, Judge Román inexplicably set another execution date, for May 2, 2012.

According to Bartee’s attorneys, DNA testing was just conducted and indicated that hairs that were tested found in Cook’s hands belonged to Cook.  The jury never heard this evidence – and in fact wasn’t told about the hairs at all – which might have undermined the prosecution’s theory of the case that a violent struggle had ensued between Cook and his killer. Still, Judge Román entered the findings as unfavorable, opining that this evidence would not have made a difference in the outcome of the trial, had it been available to the jury. Under Article 64.05 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Bartee’s attorneys have the right to appeal the unfavorable findings. The fast-approaching execution date significantly impedes this right to due process, however.

In addition, there is still more evidence that has not been tested for DNA, including cigarette butts and at least three drinking glasses found at the crime scene. In 2010, the court ordered that all items that had not been tested be tested, but these items still have not been tested.

from Texas Attorney General

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit described the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Cook as follows:

On 17 August 1996, the victim’s body was discovered by police and his family in his home in San Antonio, Texas. He had been shot twice in the head and stabbed in the shoulder. The bullet fragments at the scene were consistent with having been fired from a pistol owned by the victim. This pistol, and the victim’s red Harley Davidson motorcycle, were missing from his home.

At some point that summer, Bartee had asked an acquaintance to assist him in robbing and killing a neighbor, informing him this neighbor “had some gold [credit] cards and a motorcycle” that Bartee wanted. And, two days prior to the discovery of the victim’s body, Bartee had informed another acquaintance, Munoz, that he intended to “ace some white dude out”. Bartee unsuccessfully solicited both Munoz and several others to assist him in achieving this result. That same day, at nearly midnight, Bartee arrived at Munoz’[s] home, riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle and claiming to carry a gun. Several witnesses identified this motorcycle as being similar or identical to the victim’s.


On April 2, 1997, a Bexar County grand jury indicted Bartee for murdering David Cook.

On May 15, 1998, a Bexar County jury convicted Bartee of capital murder. After a separate punishment proceeding, Bartee was sentenced to death on May 19, 1998.

On May 3, 2000, Bartee’s conviction and sentence were affirmed by the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas on direct appeal. Bartee did not appeal the state court’s decision to the Supreme Court of the United States. Instead, he filed an application for habeas corpus relief which was denied by the Court of Criminal Appeals on March 8, 2006.

On January 23, 2007, Bartee filed a motion for DNA testing in the 175th State District Court in Bexar County. On June 18, 2007, the district court granted Bartee’s motion and ordered that DNA tests be conducted on the crime scene evidence. After reviewing the test results, the court determined that the evidence did not exonerate Bartee because the DNA profiles developed from the blood and hair samples were consistent with the victim’s profile. Consequently, the convicting court rejected Bartee’s appeal and upheld the capital murder conviction. Bartee appealed the trial court’s finding to the Court of Criminal Appeals, but his appeal was dismissed as untimely on March 16, 2011.

On February 21, 2007, Bartee filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division. The federal court denied Bartee’s petition on August 6, 2008.

On July 31, 2009, the Fifth Circuit rejected Bartee’s appeal and affirmed the denial of habeas corpus relief by the district court.

Bartee filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court on November 23, 2009, but the Supreme Court denied certiorari review on March 22, 2010.

On April 20, 2011, Bartee file a second application for habeas corpus relief which was dismissed by the Court of Criminal Appeals on September 14, 2011.

Convicted in the August 1996 robbery murder of a friend, Bartee was given a stay before his scheduled execution in February so that additional DNA testing could be done. When the May 2 date was announced, Bartee attorney David Dow sent the court a letter saying the new date should not have been set because DNA testing has not been done. Dow said no notice of a hearing for a new execution date was sent to him or Bartee.

unpublished docket  : opinion 2009

Click on the folder icons above for more case information.
Case Information:

Case Number: WR-63,381-01
Date Filed: 11/1/2005
Case Type: 11.071

Case Events:

  Date Event Type Description
View Event ORDER FILED 2/29/2012 ORDER FILED Habeas Corpus – Capital Death
View Event MOT FEDERAL APPT 3/31/2006 MOT FEDERAL APPT Habeas Corpus – Capital Death
View Event MOT FEDERAL APPT LETTER 3/20/2006 MOT FEDERAL APPT LETTER Habeas Corpus – Capital Death
View Event 11.071 WRIT DISP 3/8/2006 11.071 WRIT DISP Habeas Corpus – Capital Death
View Event WRIT SUBMITTED 2/23/2006 WRIT SUBMITTED Habeas Corpus – Capital Death
View Event 11.071 WRIT RECD 11/1/2005 11.071 WRIT RECD Habeas Corpus – Capital Death


  Set Date Calendar Type Reason Set
View Party 3/8/2006 STORED WRIT STORED


  Party Party Type
View Party BARTEE, ANTHONY BARTEE, ANTHONY Applicant (writs)/Appellant…

Court of Appeals Case Information:

COA Case Number:
COA Disposition:
Opinion Cite:
Court of Appeals District:

Trial Court Information:

Trial Court: 175th District Court
County: Bexar
Case Number: 1997CR1659-W1
Court Reporter: