Thursday, July 31, 2008

Death row prisoners reaching out via the Internet

Scott and Laci Peterson

Coalition creates Web pages for convicts to use
By Tim Reiterman, Los Angeles Times July 28, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO - From the steely confines of San Quentin Prison's death row, scores of California's most notorious convicts are reaching out to the free world via the Internet.

Scott Peterson's Web page features smiling photos of himself with his wife, Laci, whom he was found guilty of murdering and dumping into San Francisco Bay while she was pregnant with their son. It also links viewers to his family's support site, where Peterson has a recent blog posting on his "wrongful conviction."

Randy Kraft, a condemned Orange County slayer of 16 young men, is looking for pen pals. So is convicted Northern California serial killer Charles Ng, who describes himself as shy and offers to sell his wildlife drawings.

Prisoners are barred from direct computer access that officials say could allow them to threaten witnesses or orchestrate crimes. But thanks to supporters and commercial services, many of the state's 673 condemned inmates have pen-pal postings and personalized Web pages with writing, artwork, and photos of themselves, often accompanied by declarations of innocence and pleas for friendship and funds.

Although some inmates use sites in the United States, the nonprofit Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty has created Web pages or pen-pal ads for more than 100 California death-row inmates. The site, unlike some others, is free.

Since the mid-1990s, when a condemned inmate's column called "Deadman Talkin' " appeared online, use of the Internet by prisoners has proliferated in California and elsewhere.

Civil libertarians applaud the development as the exercise of free speech by isolated people, but victims' rights activists decry it as an unnecessary affront to loved ones of those whose suffering led society to lock up prisoners.

"It's hurtful," said Christine Ward, director of the Crime Victims Action Alliance. "They are seeing a [convicted] person going on with their life, but the person they raised or married or knew does not get that opportunity. . . . That murdered person is not coming back."

Elizabeth Alexander, director of the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, said survivors simply should steer clear of websites that would be painful to see. "It does not seem that you can design a limit on the First Amendment based on an expectation that victims will seek out something that gives them more pain," she said.

After the widow of an Arizona murder victim became outraged by the killer's online ad, that state's legislators passed a law banning inmates from the Internet even through outside contacts. In 2003, a judge declared it unconstitutional.

A year earlier, a judge had barred California prison officials from enforcing a rule prohibiting inmates from receiving materials printed from the Internet - a measure officials said was partly to prevent encoded messages.

Missouri adopted a rule in 2007, similar to one in Florida, prohibiting inmates from soliciting pen pals on the Internet, saying that several had been scamming their new friends. Prison spokesman Brian Hauswirth said many solicitations were misleading, and one female prisoner received $10,000 each from several men who thought she loved them.

Randall Berg, an attorney with the Florida Justice Institute who plans to challenge the Sunshine State's pen-pal solicitation ban, said such rules violate free speech and reduce the odds that prisoners will be able to stay out of prison.

"They can't use a pen pal [anymore] to help find employment or a place to live," he said.

Writing to outsiders is beneficial even for death-row inmates with slim prospects for freedom because "idleness is the devil's workshop," Berg said.

Bailiffs Pull Quadruple Murder Defendant From Courtroom

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. -- A long-delayed murder trial of a man accused of killing three men and a woman in a house near Orange Park had barely started Monday when the defendant began making outbursts, threatening to fire his lawyers and -- as he was physically removed from the courtroom -- telling to arrest the judge "for illegal activities."

Prosecutors said Gary McCray shot and killed four people on May 23, 2004 in a house known for illegal drug activity.

More than four years ago, Clay County deputies investigating reports of shots being fired found Phillip Perrotta, 53, John Whitehead, 37, John Oliver Ellis, Jr., 51, and Robin Selkirk, 45, dead of gunshot wounds.

Investigators said they were each shot with a high-powered semi-automatic, two of them as they were running away.

Clay County deputies said McCray apparently knew his victims and the house was known for drug activity. The house has since been destroyed.

Authorities said it was one of the worst crimes ever committed in Clay County.

Several days after the slayings, McCray was arrested in a motel near Tallahassee and held on drug charges while prosecutors built their homicide case against him.

In February 2006, Judge Frederic Buttner found McCray not competent to stand trial and sent him to a Florida State Hospital for treatment. Late that year, after hearing the recommendation of doctors at the mental hospital, Buttner ruled McCray was able to assist in his own defense.

As a jury was being seated on Monday, McCray became argumentative, told his lawyer to be quiet and began lecturing trial Judge William A. Wilkes about his rights.

"I am the head of the defense. I can defend myself if I feel like it," McCray told Wilkes. "I haven't fired (my lawyers) yet, but they are close to being fired."

When McCray refused to take some time and talk with his lawyers, Wilkes cut him off.

"Take him out. I've had enough," Wilkes said.

The State Attorney's Office said they intend to seek a death penalty if McCray is convicted.

Jury Recommends Death for Ballard

By Jason Geary

Published: Thursday, July 24, 2008 at 2:21 p.m.

BARTOW A jury has recommended that convicted murderer Roy Phillip Ballard be executed for killing his stepdaughter, Autumn Marie Traub.

Under Florida law, Circuit Judge Donald Jacobsen must give the jury’s 9-3 recommendation great weight.

Traub, 33, of Lakeland, disappeared Sept. 13., 2006, after meeting with Ballard. Her body has never been found.

Jurors found Ballard, 67, guilty earlier this month of first-degree murder.

At a hearing in late August, the defense will have an opportunity to provide more legal arguments about why Ballard should be sentenced to life in prison instead of the death penalty. Jacobsen will then set a sentencing date.

Local attorneys disciplined by Florida Bar

Ludmilla Lelis

Sentinel Staff Writer

3:30 PM EDT, July 29, 2008

Orlando attorney Steven C. Blinn was disbarred and Port Orange attorney Jeffrey Louis Clements was suspended, according to the disciplinary notice released today by the Florida Bar.

They were among 22 attorneys facing disciplinary action by the Florida Supreme Court, following investigations by the bar.

Blinn, who first became an attorney in 1986, has been disbarred for five years, for using client funds for personal use, according to the notice. He had already been suspended following an arrest on grand theft and cocaine charges.

Clements is suspended from practice until early October and then will be placed on probation for a year, during which he must attend an ethics class. The bar investigation found that in ten cases, he failed to take actions to represent his clients, including abandoning a woman who hired him for a civil lawsuit and failing to properly file a bankruptcy.

To gain freedom, man pleads guilty to crime he swears he didn't commit

Thelma Royston, with her husband, Larry, was killed June 7, 1989. Larry Royston was charged but killed himself.

By Alexandra Zayas, Times Staff Writer

Published Wednesday, July 30, 2008 10:49 PM


TAMPA — Michael Mordenti always swore he didn't do it.

That he didn't shoot and stab 54-year-old Thelma Royston in her Odessa horse barn in 1989. That he didn't accept $17,000 from her husband, Larry Royston, to do the deed. That he was innocent, even after two juries convicted him of murder and he spent 17 years in prison.

But late last week, as prosecutors and Mordenti headed into a new trial following an appeal, he agreed to a deal: plead guilty, and go free.

Wednesday, the 67-year-old Mordenti boarded a plane to Alaska, to start a new life.

All along, the case had hinged on the testimony of one witness, Mordenti's ex-wife, Gail Mordenti Milligan. Under immunity, the Largo woman told authorities she had acted as the go-between in the contract killing.

Prosecutors had no physical evidence, no money trail, no eyewitnesses, no confession. But in 1991, he was sentenced to death after a jury decided he was guilty of first-degree murder.

The Florida Supreme Court ordered a retrial, ruling that the prosecution had withheld important evidence. A second jury in 2005 heard Mordenti's case but could not come up with a unanimous decision. After the mistrial, a third jury in the same year convicted him again. This time, the penalty was life in prison, with a possibility of parole after 25 years.

But here's a piece of evidence none of those three juries heard:

Before he committed suicide, the victim's husband, Larry Royston, told his attorney that prosecutors had charged the wrong man.

This February, an appellate panel overturned his second conviction, saying a jury might have exonerated Mordenti had they heard that evidence. A fourth trial was scheduled for August.

But both sides were tired.

The victim's daughter said she didn't want to endure another trial. Mordenti told his lawyer he didn't think he could survive another conviction.

Last week, Mordenti weighed this offer: plead guilty to second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder, which carry a 25-year sentence and concurrent life sentence. With the 17 years credit time he had served, he would have already completed his sentence.

Mordenti's attorney, Martin McClain, recalls his client's conundrum: stay in jail, "maintaining your innocence and fighting to clear your name, in a system that hasn't listened," or say, "Just let me out."

He said Mordenti hesitated. "He really wanted to clear his name." Then he entered the plea, and on Friday, was released as a convicted murderer.

Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi said Wednesday that Mordenti's plea option allowed him to enter a guilty plea "in his best interest." So in the end, Bondi said, "He never said he did it."

One woman in court Friday had never spoken to Mordenti but came to show support.

Susanna Burleigh, a 34-year-old mother of two, was the hung juror in his second trial. She didn't believe Mordenti's ex-wife.

"She had lied in so many other situations," Burleigh said. "I just didn't see how we could send this man to jail."

Others agreed, but didn't speak out, she said. She never budged. After the mistrial, Burleigh called Mordenti's attorney. "I'm sorry," she recalled telling him. "I tried."

McClain later asked her to help him prepare for the next trial, and she kept tabs on the case. So did attorney John Trevena, who represented Larry Royston when the husband told him Mordenti wasn't the killer.

"It's unfortunate that they compelled an innocent man to plea to the charge just to obtain his freedom and save face," Trevena said Wednesday. "But clearly, that man was innocent based on a lack of evidence."

The victim's daughter, Sherri L. Loeffelholz, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Mordenti walked out of the Orient Road Jail on Friday evening, at dinner time. A handful of people awaited him, including his attorney, his daughter and old friends from his used car dealership. They went to Maggiano's Little Italy in Westshore Plaza for some pasta.

Mordenti marvelled at Blackberries and cell phones, things he'd only seen on television. He talked of moving to Big Lake, Alaska, where he has friends.

And he ate, McClain said. "He just ate and ate."

Times staff writers Colleen Jenkins and Erin Sullivan contributed to this report.

Panel Votes to Deny Tax Funding For Inmate Health Care Coverage

By Robin Williams Adams

Published: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at 1:51 a.m.

BARTOW None of Polk County's half-cent indigent sales tax should be spent on health care for jail inmates, even if they were in the plan before going to jail, members of the Citizens HealthCare Oversight Committee voted last week.

They didn't consider it right to divert money that way when finances were good. And it's just as bad an idea now that the troubled economy has tax revenues shrinking, COC members told Assistant County Manager Lea Ann Thomas.

"I don't believe in supporting inmate care," said Connie Kinnick. "That's not what I campaigned for the half-cent sales tax money (to do)."

Paying health costs for existing plan members while they are in jail was a compromise proposal on Thomas' part, instead of suggesting all prison inmate expenses be shifted to the tax, as some county officials have mentioned in previous years.

The proposal she brought would have cost about $197,000, based on the plan's former eligibility income guidelines, and less now that those guidelines have shrunk to reflect the tight financial situation. The committee voted, 7-1, against the proposal Friday.

The county's general fund is facing a $27 million deficit, Thomas said.

Committee members were sympathetic, but, except for Brian Hinton, unmoved.

"We can't take care of all the (working) indigents who are trying to make it," member Misilene Fulse said.

Even Hinton, the only one voting to pay for the care of jailed plan members, had reservations. He said he fears that would lead to the county trying to get people enrolled in the plan after they were in jail.

That would happen, Dr. Ralph Nobo Jr. said, reminding other members that the committee has always strongly opposed that move.

"This is to help those who need us the most, like the taxpayers voted for," Nobo said.

Although Polk County commissioners have the final authority and "don't have to answer to us," Nobo said, they "have to answer to the people who elected them."

[ Robin Williams Adams can be reached at or 863-802-7558. Read her blog at ]

The Butterworth effect: His leadership guided a troubled agency through a time of turmoil

Bob Butterworth steps away after telling Judge Robert J. Morris Jr. in January 2007 that the Department of Children and Families would no longer fight efforts to obtain treatment for mentally ill inmates awaiting trial. Butterworth resigned from DCF on Tuesday.

Published: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 2:30 a.m.

Nineteen months at the helm of Florida's most challenging bureaucracy is just not enough time to solve its problems. But Bob Butterworth did make a difference in his leadership of the state Department of Children and Families.

Butterworth announced Tuesday that he would step down, as of Aug. 15, from the job he accepted in late December 2006. Gov. Charlie Crist said Butterworth had pledged to stay on 18 months, and more than met that promise.

Butterworth, a former sheriff, Florida attorney general and law school dean, brought his strong credibility to DCF at a time of turmoil. He took over as the agency was under fire for a logjam in treating mentally incompetent inmates awaiting trial. Butterworth helped negotiate a settlement and higher funding for such programs.

When a girl in foster care went missing for months -- a case overseen by the Sarasota YMCA and DCF -- Butterworth ordered a state review, which brought needed reforms. Child welfare problems in other districts, such as Palm Beach and Lee counties, were addressed too.

There were also setbacks -- especially the economic slowdown, which brought funding cuts that threaten DCF's ability to help vulnerable citizens.

'Keep it going'

"It's not that all the problems are solved," Butterworth acknowledged in his resignation letter. "This agency will never be able to say 'Mission Accomplished.' We can only look at the accomplishments of these past 19 months and say, 'Keep it going.'"

With a budget of nearly $3 billion, DCF is in charge of serving 2.6 million Floridians and the community-based agencies assigned to protect them. Its mission covers "Adult Services, Child Care Services, Economic Self-Sufficiency, Florida Abuse Hotline, Child Welfare and Community-Based Care, Domestic Violence, Mental Health Services, and Substance Abuse Services," according to OPPAGA (the Legislature's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability).

The breadth of responsibilities helps explain why heading the DCF is sometimes called the most difficult job in state government. But DCF has made some progress.

For instance, the state has surpassed its goal for finalized adoptions. More children have been able to avoid foster care and safely stay with their families. The rate of children "re-abused" subsequent to a DCF investigation has declined, according to agency charts.

DCF has instituted new monitoring programs for its community-based care agencies, but it's too soon to tell how these quality-assurance changes are working, said a report by OPPAGA. Oversight of community-based care -- a decentralizing initiative that puts many child welfare duties in the hands of local agencies -- remains one of DCF's most important challenges.

DCF needs stability

We hope reforms continue to bring improvements. Butterworth contributed to them with his sense of directness and his appreciation for accountability.

But the agency also needs a stable period of leadership after years of management changes.

Florida should be -- and is -- grateful for Butterworth's service. The best way to thank him is to quickly appoint a strong, new leader.

Next time, we hope, the DCF post won't be temporary.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Boy, 15, Reportedly Confesses To Killing 14-Year-Old Girl

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The 15-year-old boy arrested and charged with the murder of a teenage girl and hiding her body near a Dumpster will make his first court appearance Friday afternoon.

But many questions about the crime remain unanswered.

It is still unclear how the teens knew each other, how the victim was killed, or what motive the boy may have had for killing 14-year-old Neica Gibbs.

Local 10 will not identify the teen suspect unless prosecutors decide to charge him as an adult, but the boy's mother said she was as shocked as anyone to hear her son confess.

"He told me what happened. Did I have any clue? No. He didn't show no signs," said Lorraine Boggess, the suspect's mother.

Boggess said she found out Thursday night, not long after detectives took her and her 15-year-old son in for what she thought was routine questioning. Boggess is one of the people who found Gibbs' body, wrapped in a blue tarp, near the Dumpster of their trailer park Monday afternoon.

Family members reported Gibbs missing three weeks ago. Boggess said during that time, her son never let on that he knew where she was.

"The only time he started acting strange on me is when he went to the police station. That's when I started to noticed that he was acting funny. But other than that, no," Boggess told Local 10's Elena Echarri.

But some of the teens who live in the Azalea Trailer Colony suspected from the start that her son was involved. They said their hunches were confirmed when they learned Gibbs' hands were tied together.

"That blue rope that she got tied up with, I've seen that rope over there by (the suspect's) house so I think he did it," said one friend.

Police said they believe Gibbs was killed on June 28, inside the trailer the teen suspect shares with his mother and younger brother. Neither family member was home at the time.

Investigators describe the boy and Gibbs as acquaintances and said he killed her during an argument. But they won't say what the two were fighting about.

The boy is charged with an open count of homicide. It's unclear if he'll be prosecuted as an adult.

An account has been established to help Gibbs' family pay for funeral and burial arrangements. Send a donation to Gibbs' church at: Unity Church, 1563 W. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale Routing Number: 063100277 Account Number: 003773709114

Jury Urges Death for Ballard in Murder

Intricate plan included making the body of his stepdaughter, Autumn Marie Traub, disappear after slaying.

By Jason Geary

Published: Friday, July 25, 2008 at 6:11 a.m.

BARTOW Jurors recommended Thursday that Roy Phillip Ballard should be executed for killing his stepdaughter in an intricate plan that included making her body disappear.

After about two hours of deliberations, the jury returned with a 9-3 vote recommending that the 67-year-old Zephyrhills man should receive the death penalty. While the jury must be unanimous when it votes to convict, which it did July 2 - only a majority is required to recommend a sentence.

Circuit Judge Donald Jacobsen must now decide whether Ballard should be sentenced to life in prison or sent to death row.

Under Florida law, a judge must give great weight to the jury's recommendation.

His wife, Kathy, lowered her head when the recommendation was read and began to cry. Kathy Ballard, whose daughter, Autumn Marie Traub, is the victim in the case, has stood by her husband throughout the trial.

Traub, 33, of Lakeland disappeared Sept. 13, 2006, after meeting with Roy Ballard. Her body has never been found.

Investigators said they unraveled a complex web involving child sexual abuse, jealousy and murder.

Prosecutors say Ballard killed Traub because she was preventing him from regaining custody of a 14-year-old female relative who Ballard was molesting.

Assistant State Attorney Cass Castillo argued Traub's murder was "cold, calculated and premeditated" - an aggravating circumstance that can provide the legal basis for a death sentence.

"The decision to kill another human being to satisfy your sexual perversion is cold," Castillo said.

Ballard was also jealous that Traub's husband was having sex with the girl, Castillo said. "He had dual motives for the killing of Autumn Traub."

Ballard's lawyer, Stephen Fisher, said the murder wasn't a cold killing, but sprang from his client's obsession with the girl and his jealousy that another man might be having sex with her.

"Sexual desire and jealousy are not cold; they are hot emotions," Fisher said. "And so much so in this case that it drove Mr. Ballard to murder."

But Castillo argued Ballard's complicated planning demonstrates he is someone completely aware of his actions who took great pains to avoid detection.

In August 2006, Ballard attempted to regain custody of the girl but was thwarted by Traub.

The Ledger is not naming the girl because she is an alleged victim of a sex crime.

Ballard, a former maintenance supervisor for Atlantic Metal Industries in Tampa, then spent more than 30 days thinking about a plan to get rid of Traub, Castillo said.

A receipt from a home improvement store dated Sept. 2, 2006, shows Ballard purchased a roll of duct tape and an 18-inch metal pipe, which is thought to be the murder weapon.

Castillo said data from cell phone towers show Ballard was in North Lakeland on the day before Traub's disappearance. He concluded Ballard must have been making preparations.

A jail inmate testified Ballard confessed to beating Traub to death with the pipe.

Ballard is said to have then bashed her teeth out to prevent identification with dental records, placed her body in acidic water to eat away her skin and weighted her down with blocks. Ballard got rid of the pipe by grinding it down at work.

If her body wasn't discovered, Traub would remain a missing person, and there would be no further investigation, Castillo said.

But Ballard underestimated the dedication of Lakeland police.

"That's what he failed to calculate," Castillo said.

Investigators found crucial evidence inside the trunk of Ballard's 2004 Saturn: the receipt for the pipe and tape, some plastic Wal-Mart bags with a small trace of Traub's blood on them, a roll of duct tape with blood on it thought to be Traub's and a sex toy with the girl's DNA material on it.

The Ballard murder case was a source of contention between the State Attorney's Office and Circuit Judge Susan Roberts.

The State Attorney's Office accused the judge of making comments that showed she was prejudging that the death penalty wasn't appropriate because of Ballard's age.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled Roberts should not preside over the case, which was reassigned to Jacobsen.

On Thursday, the defense argued Ballard suffers from brain damage that affects his ability to follow the law and control his behavior.

Fisher told jurors Ballard's declining health problems, including multiple strokes and seizures, have left him with brain damage that slowly transformed a "good man into a killer."

"We are not asking you to spare Mr. Ballard's life just because he is old," Fisher said.

Castillo pointed out Ballard was able to perform well at his job before his arrest. He has also behaved himself while incarcerated at the Polk County Jail.

At a hearing in late August, the defense will have an opportunity to provide more legal arguments and testimony that Ballard should receive a life sentence.

Jacobsen will then set a sentencing date.

[ Reporter Jason Geary can be reached at or (863) 802-7536. ]

Wong’s attorneys want privacy for jailhouse meetings

Jon Ostendorff

The man accused of killing a N.C. Highway Patrol trooper will likely meet with his attorneys inside a library room at the jail in an effort to provide privacy, Haywood County Sheriff Tom Alexander said Tuesday.

The decision comes after Edwardo Wong’s attorneys told a judge in court papers that they haven’t been able to speak privately with the 37-year-old Florida man.

The attorneys said their conversations at a table in the common area of the jail pod, where Wong is held, can be heard by jailers and inmates.

Alexander said jailers will monitor the library area with a video camera. The camera provides images but no sound so the men will be able to have private conversations.
The sheriff said he is slightly concerned about using the room because it is large and would give Wong more space to move around.

“It is for their safety as much as anything else,” Alexander said. “He is a very dangerous person and has a history of escaping.”

Wong is charged with first-degree murder in the June 17 shooting death of 24-year-old Trooper David Shawn Blanton Jr. He’s also charged with robbery on allegations he took the trooper’s gun after the shooting and the attempted murder of a sheriff’s detective who tried to stop him that night.

Blanton died at the hospital. He had stopped Wong’s truck near the Canton exit on Interstate 40.

Wong’s criminal record includes convictions for assaulting law enforcement officers in Florida. Alexander said he has not caused trouble in the jail.

Wong could face the death penalty if convicted of the murder charge. A trial date has not been set.

Former Florida Correctional Officer Indicted on Federal Civil Rights Charges

WASHINGTON (Map) - WASHINGTON, July 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A federal grand jury in Jacksonville, Fla., indicted a former Florida State Prison correctional officer on federal civil rights charges related to an August 2005 assault on an inmate, the Justice Department announced today. Paul Tillis was charged with violating the civil rights of the inmate by intentionally pouring hot water on the inmate, causing bodily injury. If convicted, Tillis faces a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

An indictment is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

The case is being investigated by the Jacksonville Division of the FBI and the Florida Office of the Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mac Heavener of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida, and Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Trial Attorneys Christine Dunn and Douglas Kern.

The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforcement of every federal criminal civil rights statute, such as the laws that prohibit the willful use of excessive force or other acts of misconduct by law enforcement officials. The Division has compiled a significant record on criminal civil rights law enforcement prosecutions. In fiscal year 2007, the Criminal Section convicted the highest number of defendants in its history, surpassing the record previously set in fiscal year 2006. During the last seven years, the Criminal Section obtained convictions of 53 percent more defendants (391 v. 256) in law enforcement prosecutions than it did during the previous seven years.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lawyers challenge state's case for the death penalty.

By Jason Geary

Published: Thursday, July 24, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 24, 2008 at 2:48 p.m.
BARTOW Doctors testified Wednesday that convicted murderer Roy Phillip Ballard has brain damage that affects his ability to follow the law and control his behavior.

Prosecutors are urging jurors to recommend that the 67-year-old Zephyrhills man be executed by lethal injection for carrying out an intricate plan to kill his stepdaughter, Autumn Marie Traub.

Traub, 33, of Lakeland, disappeared on Sept. 13, 2006, after meeting with Ballard. Her body has never been found.

Prosecutors say Ballard killed Traub because she stood in the way of his regaining custody of a 14-year-old female relative he was molesting. They theorize Ballard beat Traub to death with an 18-inch metal pipe and then disposed of her body without a trace.

Jurors found Ballard guilty earlier this month of first-degree murder.

The jury must now decide whether he should spend the rest of his life in prison or be executed by lethal injection.

Defense experts testified that Ballard can carry out plans, but suffers from significant brain damage.

"He can have the ability to plan, but is it a good plan," said Dr. Joseph Sesta, a neuropsychologist. "Is it reasonable? Is it rational? I think in this case (that) it is not. It's a very haphazard plan."

Sesta was one of two doctors who testified Wednesday that Ballard's health problems have left him brain-damaged.

In early September 2006, Ballard suffered multiple seizures and strokes, and was hospitalized.

The girl identified as having been molested by Ballard testified that she visited Ballard while he was in the hospital, and he told her that he loved her and wanted to marry her.

Ballard's brain damage helps explain how he could have a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old female relative, Sesta said.

"There is a severe impairment in reasoning, judgment and the ability to conform his behavior to both legal standards - she is underage - and cultural standards - you don't have sex with family members," Sesta said.

Sesta, who has a private practice in Tampa, said Ballard's brain shows "mild to moderate impairment."

He said there is significant damage to the right side of Ballard's brain.

"Think of the left side (of the brain) as the gas and the right side as the brakes," explained Sesta.

"The brakes are either gone or they're weakened so a lot of behavior that wouldn't come out before now comes out."

Sesta said there is also damage to the frontal lobes of his brain, which control reasoning, judgment, planning, organization and the ability to conform to laws and rules.

During the trial, the defense has also argued that Ballard had a toxic level of seizure medication in his blood, which created side effects of mental confusion and memory impairment.

Under cross examination, Assistant State Attorney Cass Castillo pressed Sesta about Ballard's ability to carry out plans and set goals.

The prosecutor asked whether someone with no brain impairment can make unwise and illegal decisions.

"Absolutely," Sesta said. "You can be a dumb criminal."

"Aren't there some smart criminals, too?" Castillo asked.

"You can be a smart criminal and still get caught - yes," Sesta said.

Testimony continues today, and then the jury is expected to begin discussing a recommendation.

Under Florida law, Circuit Judge Donald Jacobsen must give the jury's recommendation great weight.

Prosecutors are expected to argue that Traub's murder was "cold, calculated and premeditated" - an aggravating circumstance that can provide the legal basis for a death sentence.

[ Reporter Jason Geary can be reached at or 863-802-7536. ]

2 teens arrested in Little Havana shooting death

Police investigate Javier Ulloa's car after he was shot and killed early Wednesday on Southwest Eighth Street.


Two teenagers have been charged with the shooting death of a man at a Little Havana gas station, Miami police said Thursday.

Jonathan Robelo, 18, and Tim Gonzalez, 16, were both charged with second-degree murder in the death of Javier Ulloa, 24, of Miami Gardens.

Police say Robelo, wielding a revolver, fired several shots at Ulloa's Pontiac as it pulled out of a gas station at 1180 SW Eighth St., about 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Ulloa, hit in the head, died later at Jackson Memorial Hospital. His wife was wounded and two friends unhurt. The Pontiac crashed a block away.

Robelo and Gonzalez were found two hours later, driving in a silver Chevrolet Impala nearby. Officers saw spent 9mm casings inside the car.

Both men confessed, according to arrest reports by Miami homicide Detective Leo Tapanes. Gonzalez drove the Impala and helped his pal get rid of the guns, police said.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Caylee Marie Anthony's mother held on $500,000 bond

Investigators reveal they found the odor of decomposition in family car
Sarah Lundy

Sentinel Staff Writer

6:01 PM EDT, July 22, 2008

Caylee Anthony's mother Casey left an Orange County courtroom crying this afternoon after a judge set her bond at $500,000.

It's unclear if Casey Anthony's parents -- Cindy and George Anthony -- will be able to afford that much money, said Anthony's attorney, Jose Baez. He plans to sit down with them to determine what they will do next.

In addition to her bond, the family has to consider money for her defense and the cost of the search for 2-year-old Caylee, who Anthony told investigators she has not seen since early June, he said.

If Casey Anthony is released on bond for child-neglect and other charges, Orange Circuit Court Judge Stan Strickland ordered a GPS device be attached to her ankle so authorities can track her whereabouts.

The nearly three-hour bond hearing revealed startling details in the investigation of the disappearance of Caylee.

Cadaver dogs alerted detectives of the odor of possible human decomposition in the car that Casey would drive and in the same area of the Anthony's backyard. Investigators are trying to determine the source of the smell in the car. They dug up spots in the backyard but found nothing, said Detective Yuri Melich.

Hair, dirt and stains spotted under a blacklight were discovered in the trunk.

Authorities say they may have a possible homicide at this point. Melich said Casey Anthony is not a "suspect" but a "person of interest."

Casey's family - her parents and brother - testified, saying she is a good mother and should be released. The brother, Lee Anthony, said he had "no doubt" that he could get Casey Anthony to provide more information to help in the search for Caylee.

Casey Anthony, 22, cried at times during the hearing. She wiped away tears when her family testified but showed little emotion when Melich and the dog handler took the stand.

Father indicted in toddler's death

Rene Stutzman

Sentinel Staff Writer

6:21 PM EDT, July 22, 2008


A Seminole County grand jury today indicted a father on charges he murdered his 14-month-old daughter.

Fidel Alejandro Juarez Sr., 28, is charged with first-degree felony murder and aggravated child abuse. The child, Aurelia Juarez, died June 25.

Her father took her to Central Florida Regional Hospital, where she died. Authorities said she had suffered blunt force trauma to the head and abdomen.

Her father said the toddler had fallen from a bed, according to prosecutors.

Juarez was being held without bail in the Seminole County Jail Tuesday evening.

Altamonte Springs police officer, wife arrested on federal drug, weapons charges

Altamonte Springs Police Chief Robert Merchant

Jim Leusner

Sentinel Staff Writer

4:19 PM EDT, July 22, 2008

An Altamonte Springs police officer - recently kicked out of a countywide drug task force -- and his wife have been arrested on federal drug and weapons charges. Authorities said he also was planning to kill a former drug unit supervisor.

Clay T. Adams, 36, a master patrolman, was arrested by a task force of agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fireams and Explosives; the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; and the Seminole County Sheriff's Office. His wife, Robyn, also was charged.

Adams has been suspended without pay, Altamonte Springs Police Chief Robert Merchant said at a press conference held Tuesday.

"I am extremely upset," he said. "We work very, very hard to build our reputation only to have it brought down by (Adams') actions."

Adams was arrested as he reported for duty at 7:30 p.m., said Altamonte Police spokesman Tim Hyer. "It was shocking to hear," PFC. Robert Pelton said. "It hit us out of left field. It's disappointing that one of your own could do something like that."

At a brief bail hearing Tuesday afternoon in federal court, attorneys for the couple asked that proceedings be delayed until Friday so they could prepare their defense.

Throughout the hearing, Robyn Adams wept and covered her face with a tissue. Her husband conferred with his lawyer and briefly answered questions from the judge.

Assistant U.S Attorney Rob Bodnar asked that the couple be detained without bail because the case involved weapons and that both defendants had made threats against the informant and others in the case. Bodnar said the couple faces up to life in prison, if convicted.

They are being held without bail at the Seminole County Jail.

A complaint filed by ATF agent Timothy Gunning charges that Adams was a cop gone bad, who ran a marijuana grow-house operation which supplied distributors in Tallahassee and dealt illicit prescription drugs. It also said Adams provided weapons to an informant who is a convicted felon and who tipped authorities about the scheme earlier this month.

The informant, who recorded numerous conversations with the couple, said Clay provided him with driver's license photos, undercover and real names of drug agents of Seminole's City-County Investigative Bureau, their vehicle descriptions and techniques used by them.

Adams joined CCIB earlier this year to learn investigative techniques used to detect marijuana growing operations, Gunning wrote. But he was forced out of the unit last month.

"Clay was extremely upset a month ago when he was reprimanded by a supervisor," Gunning wrote. "As a result of the reprimand, Clay was removed from CCIB. Clay advised [the informant] that he will let the issue cool off for a couple of months and then "take [the supervisor] out" when he least expects it, utlizing a .308-caliber rifle equipped with a silencer," Gunning wrote.

CCIB Capt. Sammy Gibson said Adams served in the unit from March to June, when Adams transferred back to his agency. He referred inquiries about the case to federal authorities.

The complaint gives this account of the investigation: On July 7, ATF interviewed the informant, who had known Adams for years since he joined the Altamonte force in 1999. The informant said Adams secretly was addicted to OxyContin, a powerful pain reliever, and that he observed Adams at an Orlando pain clinic. He said Adams feared his job would be in danger if his employer discovered his addiction.

Adams' wife, Robyn, is employed by an orthopedic surgeon and obtained OxyContin for him. She also had a mail box in her name to obtain marijuana seeds shipped in her name over the Internet from the Netherlands, Gunning wrote.

The informant said Adams approached him with an offer to "get rich" from a $5,500 investment in a marijuana grow-house operation -- including $2,000 for the purchase of an assault rifle to protect the grow-house. On July 9, the informant gave the money to Adams and was instructed to find a home for the operation and steal a license plate for vehicles driven to the site. Meanwhile, Adams went to various stores to buy hydroponic equipment.

Adams, who carried multiple firearms, had a hidden room in his home with several assault weapons, shotguns and grenades, the informant said. He provided the informant an Uzi-type semi-automatic rifle for $2,000.

Adams told the informant that "he would never lose his job and go to jail without a fight and that he would kill anyone who [messed] with him," the complaint said. Robyn Adams also told the informant she would kill anyone who exposed the operation.

The officer bragged to the informant that he mastered the thwarting of employment polygraph examinations by taking Valium pills to reduce his blood pressure and avoid deceptive readings.

Eventually, the informant and investigators leased a home for Adams to set up the marijuana growing site. On Sunday, Adams told the informant he and his wife set up the growing operation over the prior few nights. Police raided the home after the arrests.

The couple is charged with several firearms violations including possessing firearms in a drug-trafficking offense, unlawful transferr of a machine gun and conspiracy.

Sentinel staff writer Vincent Bradshaw contributed to this report.

Killer should face death penalty, jurors decide

Rene Stutzman

Sentinel Staff Writer

July 22, 2008


A jury Monday recommended the death penalty for a 43-year-old homeless man who bought a shotgun and six hours later used it to kill his estranged wife.

Jurors voted 11-1 in favor of the death penalty for William Silvia Jr.

Circuit Judge Donna McIntosh will make the final sentencing decision later.

Silvia shot and killed Patricia Silvia, 39, on Sept. 22, 2006, at the home near Casselberry that she shared with her parents.

Also wounded that night was her mother, Betty Woodard.

Silvia told a psychiatrist that he bought the shotgun because he was afraid of his estranged wife's relatives.

Man guilty in 2006 killing, abuse

Ludmilla Lelis

Sentinel Staff Writer

July 22, 2008


He had walked to a police station to confess to murder, leading police to a blood-filled bathtub, a dead woman in his bed and the knife in the kitchen sink.

Now Russell Bradshaw, 22, could forfeit his life for the crimes against Lisa Anne Memro, 21, of New Smyrna Beach. Bradshaw was found guilty Monday of killing Memro and sexually abusing her body.

The jury will return next week to recommend whether Bradshaw should get life in prison or the death penalty. Circuit Judge James R. Clayton will sentence him, but a jury recommendation usually is given great weight.

"We respect the jury's decision, and now we will ask them to spare his life," defense attorney Rob Sanders said.

The jury took three hours to reach a verdict in the Sept. 25, 2006, slaying.

That night, Bradshaw walked to the police station to report the murder, and then called 911 after finding the agency's door locked. He gave officers the keys to his house, where they found Memro in his bed, a bloody trail from the bathroom and a knife in the kitchen sink.

Central to the case was a videotaped confession that Bradshaw gave homicide investigator Shon McGuire.

Defense attorney Gayle Graziano tried to cast doubt on that confession, arguing that Bradshaw was in shock and was only answering yes to the detective's questions.

"McGuire could have asked him if he killed Santa Claus, and he would have said he did," she told the jury.

But the prosecutor argued that Memro's killing involved several conscious acts, requiring time and thought.

"He knew exactly what he was doing," Assistant State Attorney Matt Foxman told the jury. "The murder of Lisa Memro took time and it took commitment."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Judge Rules Zephyrhills Man Can Face Death Penalty

Judge Rules Zephyrhills Man Can Face Death Penalty

Roy Phillip Ballard, 67, was convicted of his stepdaughter's Lakeland murder.
By Jason Geary


Published: Saturday, July 19, 2008 at 7:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, July 19, 2008 at 8:44 a.m.
BARTOW A judge ruled Friday that prosecutors can continue pursuing the death penalty against Roy Phillip Ballard.

A jury convicted the 67-year-old Zephyrhills man earlier this month of traveling to Lakeland to kill his stepdaughter, Autumn Marie Traub.

Ballard's lawyer, Byron Hileman, filed motions Monday requesting that Circuit Judge Donald Jacobsen acquit his client or prohibit prosecutors from seeking the death penalty. Jacobsen denied the defense's motions.

Traub, 33, disappeared Sept. 13, 2006, after meeting with Ballard. Her body has never been found.

Prosecutors theorized that Ballard wanted to continue a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old female relative, and Traub was preventing him from regaining custody.

Jurors are scheduled to begin hearing testimony Wednesday in the penalty phase of Ballard's trial.

The jury that found Ballard guilty of first-degree murder will recommend whether he should face life in prison or the death penalty.

Under Florida law, Jacobsen must give the jury's recommendation great weight.

Possible witnesses during the penalty phase include doctors who have evaluated Ballard and perhaps Ballard's wife.

Prosecutors are expected to argue that Traub's murder was "cold, calculated and premeditated" - an aggravating circumstance that can provide the legal basis for a death sentence.

[ Jason Geary can be reached at or 863-802-7536. ]

Friday, July 18, 2008

Prison Guards Accused Of Smuggling Drugs

Prosecutors Say Guards Took Money In Exchange For Delivering Drugs

POSTED: 3:26 pm EDT July 18, 2008

MIAMI -- Federal authorities Friday announced the arrests of five state correctional officers accused of smuggling drugs inside a Florida City prison.

Capt. Jimmy Lee Love Jr., Officer Shantavia A.L. Johnson, Officer Dennard G. Fluker, Officer Alexander J. Davis and Officer Ivis N. Grace were indicted on charges of conspiring and attempting to traffic illegal narcotics inside the Dade Correctional Institution, a maximum-security state prison.

Federal prosecutors allege the defendants accepted cash payments from inmates in return for helping to deliver drugs inside the prison.

The arrests stem from the result of an undercover FBI investigation.

Felicia Z. Calloway, a contract employee who worked in the prison kitchen, was also charged and arrested. Six inmates and an associate of one of the inmates were also named in the indictment.

The defendants face a maximum 20-year sentence on each charge and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Lawyer Wants Death Penalty off Table for Client

Roy P. Ballard

By Jason Geary

Published: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 4:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 4:53 p.m.
BARTOW A lawyer for convicted murderer Roy Phillip Ballard says prosecutors are continuing to seek the death penalty against him to justify a high-profile spat with a circuit judge.

Ballard was found guilty earlier this month of first-degree murder.

Prosecutors argued the 67-year-old Zephyrhills man killed his stepdaughter, Autumn Marie Traub. Her body has never been found.

Jurors are scheduled to return to court next week to recommend whether Ballard should face the death penalty. Under Florida law, Circuit Judge Donald Jacobsen must give the jury’s recommendation great weight.

But Ballard’s lawyer, Byron Hileman, argues in a 10-page motion filed Monday that Jacobsen should acquit his client or prohibit prosecutors from seeking the death penalty.

Jacobsen might consider the motion at a Friday afternoon hearing.

Prosecutors theorized Ballard killed Traub, 33, because she opposed Ballard regaining custody of a 14-year-old female relative so he could continue a sexual relationship with the girl.

Hileman wrote that Traub’s body has never been found, and the murder case against Ballard “has been a process of stacking inference and speculation upon inference and speculation.”

He wrote prosecutors joined a weak sexual battery case with the murder charge “only because the state can fit those facts by careful argument into a plausible but almost totally unproven story of what happened.”

“It is a good fictional bedtime story, but not a real tale supported by proof beyond any reasonable doubt,” the motion states.

Hileman accuses prosecutors of misconduct by continuing to seek the death penalty against Ballard for political reasons.

The Ballard murder case was a source of contention between the State Attorney’s Office and Circuit Judge Susan Roberts.

In the Ballard case, the State Attorney’s Office accused Roberts of making comments that showed she was prejudging that the death penalty wasn’t appropriate because of Ballard’s age.

Prosecutors requested that Roberts get off the case. The judge refused the request. The 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled Roberts should not preside over the case, which was reassigned to Jacobsen.

After unsuccessful efforts to remove Roberts from other pending murder cases, Roberts was eventually reassigned to another division and has since retired.

The motion concludes the State Attorney’s Office has a “political imperative” to “zealously seek the death penalty for Roy Ballard in order to justify their political machinations involving getting rid of Judge Susan Roberts.”

Chip Thullbery, a spokesman for the State Attorney’s Office in Bartow, said prosecutors’ position at Friday’s hearing will be that “the defense’s allegations are without merit.”

Public defenders make drastic proposals amid cuts

By CURT ANDERSON – 1 day ago

MIAMI (AP) — Citing deep budget cuts and a crushing workload, Miami's public defender wants to turn away thousands of poor people accused of crimes such as sexual assault and armed robbery because his attorneys can't properly represent them in court.

The drastic step is one of many proposed by public defenders nationwide who are grappling with shrinking resources and a never-ending stream of defendants who can't afford private lawyers.

"It is a pervasive national problem. Even in good budget times, it's a huge problem," said Norm Lefstein, an Indiana University law professor who has written extensively about the issue and chaired American Bar Association panels on criminal defense matters.

Miami's longtime public defender, Bennett Brummer, said the current situation violates a defendant's constitutional rights and puts his 170 lawyers in a serious ethical dilemma. Courts have long held that defendants have a right to "effective assistance of counsel," which Brummer said has been jeopardized.

"Each person has a right to meaningful representation and a meaningful day in court," said Brummer, who is retiring in January after 32 years. "They are not getting that."

Brummer's proposal, which must be approved by a judge, is among the most extreme from public defenders, who are facing budget cuts because of the economic downturn.

In Kentucky, public defenders sued seeking the right to decline new cases. Minnesota's public defenders earlier this month stopped representing parents in child custody cases. The public defender in Knoxville, Tenn., wants to stop handling misdemeanor cases.

"We found that the number of cases was causing us to make compromises lawyers should not have to make," the Knox County Public Defenders Community Law Office said in a statement.

The budget cuts in many states are only the latest blow to a system that has struggled with low pay and bare-bones budgets since the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963 guaranteed legal representation for all criminal defendants regardless of their ability to pay.

"The reality is that public defense in the United States is practiced in a way that is contrary to the principles of the legal profession. It's a kind of second-rate legal service," said Lefstein, who has submitted a legal brief supporting Brummer's efforts.

In Miami, Brummer runs the state's largest public defender office. He has long fought for more funding and won concessions in the past, such as in 1980 when his office began refusing to handle appeals in death penalty cases. That lasted for 10 years, until more money was guaranteed from state legislators.

State Sen. Victor Crist, who chairs the committee that funds the state's court system, said public defenders have not suffered cuts as severe as other agencies. He said Brummer was "trying to create an even bigger problem."

"I think he's trying to force the Legislature into court," Crist said. "I think it is absolutely horrible."

In 2006-07, the last year complete figures are available, Brummer's lawyers handled more than 40,600 felony cases, not including murder cases that could involve the death penalty. These felonies have risen more than 16 percent over five years and are the cases Brummer wants to stop taking.

It works out to about 392 cases for each attorney, according to Brummer. The American Bar Association recommends a defense lawyer handle no more than 150 felonies at a time, while Florida state guidelines bump that up to about 200 because evidence is more broadly available to the defense than in most other states.

At the same time, state lawmakers have slashed Brummer's budget by some 8.5 percent over the past two years, with additional cuts likely. And with a starting salary of about $42,000, the public defender's office frequently loses attorneys.

The chief judge in Miami-Dade County has scheduled a July 30 hearing to consider Brummer's request. Prosecutors oppose Brummer's plan, contending it could trigger dismissal of charges against thousands of people accused of serious crimes.

Under Florida law, a defendant must go to trial within 175 days of arrest unless that right is waived. Any delays in getting proper representation for poor defendants could run out that clock in some cases.

"They will get off scot-free," said Don Horn, chief assistant Miami-Dade state attorney. "You would have criminals being released back on the street who are victimizing new victims."

On the Net:
Miami public defender:
American Bar Association:

Inmate Arraigned In Officer's Slaying

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The inmate accused of killing a Tomoka State Prison corrections officer was arraigned on charges of first-degree murder on Thursday.

Enoch Hall pleaded not guilty in the murder of corrections officer Donna Fitzgerald.

State Attorney John Tanner said he wants to push for the death penalty if Hall is convicted of murder.

"The state of Florida, I think in its wisdom in having a death penalty, makes our prisons safer for both the guards and the inmates," Tanner said.

Fitzgerald was standing guard near an entrance to where inmates repair vehicles. All of the inmates had left except Hall, officials said. Fitzgerald went to search for him alone, unarmed and without her radio.

Fitzgerald confronted Hall, who proceeded to stab her repeatedly with a knife Hall welded out of sheet metal, according to police.

Documents reported Hall told police he snapped and killed her. Hall said he had taken four white pills given to him by another inmate and remained behind to steal more when Fitzgerald found him.

Fitzgerald was found face down, bent over a utility cart with her clothes pulled down to her ankles. Official documents reported she was not raped.

Hall is already serving life in prison, and the state attorney said there could be enough evidence to sentence Hall to the death penalty.

"We hope that the results of this trial will act as a deterrent to other prisoners or inmates who might consider killing or harming a corrections officer or a fellow guard," Tanner said.

The state attorney said he wants to try the case in six months, during which Hall will be kept in secure detention at Volusia County Jail.

Man sentenced for killing 'Curious George' writer

Vincent Puglisi

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A man convicted of killing "Curious George" collaborator Alan Shalleck in South Florida has been spared the death penalty.

A judge sentenced Vincent Puglisi to life in prison on Thursday after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder and robbery with a deadly weapon.

His co-defendant Rex Ditto was given a life sentence in 2007.

Authorities said the pair went to Shalleck's home in February 2006 intending to rob him.

Shalleck suffered 83 blunt force injuries and more than three dozen stab wounds.

Shalleck wrote and directed episodes of "Curious George" and co-wrote books with Margret Rey, who created the mischievous monkey with her husband more than 60 years ago.

Man Accused In Corrections Officer Murder Meets Judge

DAYTONA BEACH -- The prisoner accused in the murder of a corrections officer made his appearance in court Thursday to answer the murder charge.

The arraignment for Enoch Hall almost didn't happen. Hall's attorneys wanted to enter a not guilty plea without having Hall appear. However, Judge J. David Walsh wanted to see him.

Hall entered a not guilty plea in the June 25 rape and murder of Donna Fitzgerald, a corrections officer at the Tomoka Correctional Institution.

"Without the death penalty in these type of cases, we believe our corrections officers would not be as safe as they are, and other inmates in the jail -- in the prisons -- would not be as safe. So, this certainly is an example where the State of Florida, in its wisdom in having a death penalty, makes our prisons safer for both the guards and the inmates," said State Attorney John Tanner.

Hall's next appearance is scheduled for Sept. 23. He will be held in the Volusia County branch jail until his trial begins so his attorneys will have the chance to talk with him as they build their case.

Fitzgerald was the first correctional officer killed in the line of duty at the facility.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Hall admitted to killing Fitzgerald with a piece of sheet metal which he had formed into a knife.

Hall was indicted in the case last week. Tanner said Hall will be charged with capital murder, which means he faces the death penalty.

Hall already is serving two life sentences for the rape and kidnap of an Escambia County woman.

Tanner said he is fast-tracking the case because it involves a law enforcement officer. He hopes to go to trial within six months.


Jamaican authorities are seeking assurance and commitment from the United States government that it will not impose the death penalty on Davion Parson, 19, who is charged with the shooting of three people in a bar in Florida in May 2008. A representative of the Director of Public Prosecutions office says the office is waiting for this assurance before proceeding with the request of extradition.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ocoee cop fired after sex arrest

Thomas T. Maroney

Susan Jacobson

Sentinel Staff Writer

July 16, 2008

An Ocoee police sergeant arrested after a woman said he stripped, fondled and spanked her against her will was fired, effective today.

In a letter Tuesday to Sgt. Thomas T. Maroney, police Chief Steven Goclon said Maroney's behavior "reflects so poorly upon you and the department that it severely affects your ability to perform your duties as a police officer, let alone as a sergeant."

Maroney was arrested Thursday after the woman, 30, told Orange County deputies that he bet her on a card trick, then asked for oral sex and attacked her at another officer's home for a party. The charges are attempted sexual battery, false imprisonment and battery.

The sergeant admitted he was drunk and "behaved poorly," according to the chief's letter.

In 2004, a former Ocoee police intern said Maroney won a bet on a card trick and tried to collect by spanking her, a police internal-affairs report shows. Maroney received a written warning.

Susan Jacobson can be reached at or 407-540-5981.

Faithful show courage in face of criticism with execution protests


Published: 07.15.08

Whenever we at the Florida Catholic write about the church’s opposition to use of death penalty and the related activism of many of the faithful – as we did in our print editions and on our Web site before and after the July 1 execution of Mark Dean Schwab – we hear from readers who dissent. (Read the article here.)

Some of comments are anonymous and unkind, menacingly scrawled over newspaper clippings in all capital letters with lots of underlining and exclamation points. Many, though, are polite notes or telephone calls from devout and active Catholic parishioners who seem deeply troubled the teaching of their church on a subject as dire and dear as the taking of human life is at odds with what they feel.

They stand, and in many cases literally march, with the church on other issues involving the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death – abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research. But they are firm in the notion that, by taking a human life, a murderer forfeits his God-given right to live until natural death. They construe the state’s violent collection of that debt as an act of compassion for the family and friends of the murder victim. Such perceptions are especially strong when a crime is as heartrending as that for which Schwab was convicted – kidnapping, raping and killing an 11-year-old child whose picture he had seen in a newspaper.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, assuming guilt is indisputable, the church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty “if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.” But the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has held for more than 25 years that such instances are rare to nonexistent in the nation, and in 2005 launched a campaign to end use of the death penalty “not only for what it does to those who are executed, but what it does to us as a society. We cannot teach respect for life by taking life.”

Receiving reader comments contrary to that teaching is never surprising. A November 2004 Zogby International poll cited by the U.S. bishops when they launched their campaign showed that slightly more Catholics supported capital punishment than opposed it – 48 percent to 47 percent. Behind those numbers, though, was promising news: the support was down from a previous high of 68 percent; about a third of Catholics who once supported use of the death penalty no longer did; and younger Catholics and those who attended Mass often were increasingly less likely to support the death penalty.

Those figures are now almost four years old. And perhaps the strong showing of the Catholic faithful for vigils and prayerful protests around Florida at the time of Schwab’s execution – the state’s first use of the death penalty in a year and a half – was a sign that the change of hearts is continuing. Catholic groups and individuals prayed, lit candles and carried banners at parishes in the dioceses of Venice, Palm Beach and St. Petersburg, some alongside busy highways. They gathered outside the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee. A 44-passenger bus, packed to capacity, carried prayerful protesters from two parishes in the Diocese of Orlando to the grounds of the state’s death chamber 90 miles away in Starke.

The protesters were echoing the words of Florida’s bishops, expressed in a letter to Gov. Charlie Crist dated a week earlier. The bishops called on the governor to “set a new standard of respect for life” by stopping the execution. They said they were praying for the victim, and knew they were unable to fully grasp the pain experienced by his family. They lamented, though, that taking the life of another who has killed perpetuates violence as a solution. They also pointed to economic and racial biases in the way Florida’s death penalty has been applied.

The faithful across Florida who turned out July 1 on the occasion of Schwab’s execution to draw attention to capital punishment as both a respect life issue and a social justice issue demonstrated courage in the face of potential criticism, even from some of the people with whom they share the pews on Sunday. If they remain steadfast in that prayerful courage as the scheduled executions mount – the legal wranglings that caused the 18-month lull are over, 387 men and women are on Florida’s death row, and Gov. Crist signed another death warrant July 9 – perhaps others will see their light, the trend away from public support for state-sponsored killing will continue and the practice will end.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Waiting on death row

A microphone hangs over the gurney in a lethal injection room in this file photo. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has signed two death warrants since a state moratorium on the death penalty was lifted earlier this year.

Tom McLaughlin
July 12, 2008 - 2:37PM
Frank Walls, Jeffrey Hutchinson, Edward Zakrzewski and Daniel Jon Peterka.

This is Okaloosa County's rogues gallery; the men who have been sentenced to die for their crimes.

Their names don't appear in the newspaper or on television much anymore. All but Hutchinson have been on death row for more than a decade. Hutchinson was sentenced to die in 2001.

But on Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Crist signed a second death warrant since a moratorium on Florida's death penalty was lifted earlier this year.

He has also called, the Associated Press reported, "for a list of about five death-row inmates who have served the longest or committed the most heinous crimes" so he could sign more.

Could one or more of Okaloosa County's death-row inmates be on that list?

The short answer seems to be no, although Assistant State Attorney Bobby Elmore said the governor's office inquired "about a year ago" into the status of Zakrzewski's appeals.

"Mr. Zakrzewski may be on the list. I haven't been told that, but it could be the governor's considering moving him to the top of the list," Elmore said. "I could see the governor looking at Zakrzewski and saying ‘this guy chopped up his kids, he fits the profile for my list.' "

Zakrzewski, an Air Force technical sergeant who was described by witnesses in his defense as a loving father and husband, used a crowbar to bludgeon and strangle his wife, Sylvia. He then hacked his children, ages 7 and 5, to death with a new machete.

The murders occurred June 9, 1994, on Shrewsbury Road in Mary Esther. Zakrzewski fled to the remote Hawaiian island of Molokai, but turned himself in four months later.

But Zakrzewski's lawyers haven't exhausted their state court appeals - he filed his most recent one to the Florida Supreme Court on Jan. 9. Unless he decides to stop the appeals, he'll turn to federal court for relief when he exhausts his state court options.

For its part, the governor's office denies that a list such as the one the AP cited even exists.

"He (Crist) might have asked for a list, but we never produced a list," said Crist spokesman Sterling Ivey.

Ivey said "our legal team is very much aware" of where individual inmates stand in their appeals.

"We're working closely with the Attorney General's Office following appeals as they move through the court system," Ivey said.

Roger Maas, with the Florida Commission on Capital Cases, said a governor traditionally will not sign a death warrant until an inmate has exhausted all of his or her appeals. There are presently 19 inmates on death row whose appeals have run out, including two who have said they want to die.

"None of those guys is ready for a warrant yet," Maas said of Okaloosa County's death-row residents.

But Maas also noted that Crist broke from tradition when he signed the most recent death warrant.

Richard Henyard, slated to die Sept. 23 for the 1993 abduction and rape of a Eustis woman and the murder of her two children, still has an appeal pending before the Florida Supreme Court.

Frank Walls is possibly closer to facing a date with the executioner than Zakrzewski. Walls was convicted in 1988 of two murders, but is believed by many people to have been responsible for several more.

According to Ace Grinsted, an assistant state attorney who has followed the case, Walls has run out of state appeals.

"His conviction has been reviewed by the state Supreme Court and upheld," Grinsted said.

Walls' attorneys, Grinsted said, "were getting ready to start federal appeals" the last time he had contact with them.

Maas said federal courts typically handle death penalty appeals and inmate motions faster than the state courts.

"Federal courts don't grant relief too often," he said.

Walls' conviction was actually overturned the first time he appealed to the state Supreme Court. The case was retried and he was sentenced to death again in 1992.

Daniel Jon Peterka, who was convicted and sentenced to death in April 1990 for the 1989 close-range shooting of his roommate, John Frederick Russell, has appeals pending at the federal and state levels.

The Commission on Capital Cases' Web site states a direct appeal Peterka filed to the Florida Supreme Court in 1990 wasn't heard until 1994. Another motion was filed in state court in 1997 and was not acted upon until 2002, the Web site stated.

Jeffrey Hutchinson was sentenced to die Feb. 6, 2001, for killing his girlfriend and her three children with a shotgun.

Circuit Court Judge G. Robert Barron called the slayings of Renee Flaherty and her children, ages 9, 7 and 4, "especially heinous, atrocious and cruel."

Hutchinson "is nowhere near a death warrant," Elmore said. "He's still in state court legal proceedings."

Like seemingly so many other cases, Hutchinson's first appeal to the Florida Supreme Court sat in limbo for years before it was denied. The appeal was filed in March 2001 and ruled on in July 2004.

Hutchinson's most recent motion to have his conviction overturned was filed with the state's Supreme Court in January.

Daily News Staff Writer Tom McLaughlin can be reached at 863-1111, Ext. 1435.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Judge overturns death penalty in 1997 murder

Staff writer

DAYTONA BEACH -- In a rare ruling, a judge Friday overrode a jury's recommendation that a man should be put to death for killing a 39-year-old mother of three in 1997.

Gregory Murphy, 45, was convicted of the first-degree premeditated killing of Erleen Albright in a March jury trial. When the same jury later recommended by an 8-4 vote that Murphy should die, the killer's 24-year-old son broke down as he left the courtroom. The elder Murphy showed little reaction Friday when his fate was announced by Circuit Judge J. David Walsh.

"On reflection and great consideration, the court has determined the ultimate penalty of death is not appropriate in this case," said the judge, adding he considered the aggravators and mitigators and put "great weight" on the jury's recommendation. "He shall serve the balance of his natural life in the custody of the Department of Corrections without any chance of parole."

In spite of no immediate reaction from Murphy, the feelings of his attorney were clear.

"I will appreciate that for the rest of my life, sir," Assistant Public Defender Matt Phillips said.

Asked later how Murphy reacted to the decision, Phillips said, "My client is glad he's not going to death row."

Albright was found on her kitchen floor strangled, beaten with a hammer and stabbed in the chest. Friday, family members had mixed feelings.

"I'm disappointed," Albright's husband, John Albright, 61, said. "But I'm happy he'll never get a chance to get out. He'll never get a chance to hurt anyone else. I'm OK with that."

Statistically, judges don't depart from jury recommendations for the death penalty very often, although the margin of the jury's votes might be one factor. According to research, the vast majority of override cases in Florida have historically seen judges overruling life sentences and imposing death.

While U.S. Supreme Court rulings in recent years have made it more difficult for judges to override jury recommendations for life, overruling jury-recommended death sentences could become a trend, some experts say.

Peter Cannon, an attorney with Capital Collateral, which defends inmates on death row, said he thinks all involved in the process have grown "more sophisticated" in determining how mitigating factors might effect a person's criminal actions. As a result, the trend is toward less death sentences than in the past.

Phillips said he credited the judge's "character and temperment" in going against the jury recommendation, which still remains rare in a state where juries are considered more "death prone" than others.

State Attorney John Tanner said the outcome shows how difficult it is to obtain the death penalty in Florida, under the system that's in place, "and I agree it should be."

"In this case, we have a woman who is raped in her own home, brutally strangled, stabbed and beaten to death with a hammer, " Tanner said. "We know that legally it was an appropriate case as well as factually a proper case in which we should seek the death penalty. We had a strong majority of jurors who agreed with us after they heard all the aggravators."

Any one of a number of factors may have been on the judge's mind. In one apparently likely scenario, "he disagrees with the jury," Professor Bob Dekle of the University of Florida Law School said. "He doesn't feel the aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigators."

Tanner, who said he asks for the death penalty in "only the most heinous and brutal of killings," said he had nothing critical to say of the judge's decision.

"He has fulfilled his role as he saw fit," Tanner said, "and that's what he's supposed to do."

All agree the decision of whether or not to impose a death sentence under the law is a very difficult one to make and that the outcome echoed how the law is supposed to be followed.

"It's easy to sit in the coffee shop and say what you should have done," Dekle said. "But when you're sitting in the shoes of that prosecutor, judge and jury, and you're making those awful decisions, the world looks totally different."

Albright's son Tony Bobbitt, a talented 17-year-old basketball player at the time, discovered his mother's battered and bloodied body on her kitchen floor on April 13, 1997.

Bobbitt later left the area to play basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers and other professional teams. For nearly a decade, he and his two sisters, Sabrina and Monique Albright, were left wondering who killed their mother.

In early 2006, detectives resubmitted to a national database a small amount of DNA evidence left at the scene. The sample matched Murphy, police said. He later wrote a letter to a Daytona Beach police detective, police say, in which the slaying was described.

"She kept swinging that steak knife and I snapped, grabbing her and began to choke her until she was dead," the letter states.

At his trial, Murphy testified that "he'd made love to his wife." Prosecutors used that to show the killing was motivated by a sexual attack. Defense lawyer Phillips, however, argued the testimony by Murphy highlighted his mental illness.

Tanner said he respected the verdict of the majority of jurors, who felt death was appropriate for Murphy. "But we also respect the judge's role in the process, under the law."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Case Against the Death Penalty

The Case Against The Death Penalty
by Hugo Adam Bedau






Inevitability of Error



Financial Costs

Public Opinion

Abolition Trends

For Further Information & Reference



Hugo Adam Bedau is Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University. He has written and edited a number of books on political philosophy and on capital punishment, including Death is Different (1987) and The Death Penalty in America, 3rd edition (1982 ). He gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Henry Schwarzschild, Director Emeritus of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project.
The American Civil Liberties Union holds that the death penalty inherently violates the constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment and the guarantee of due process of law and the equal protection of the laws. The imposition of the death penalty is inconsistent with fundamental values of our democratic system. The state should not arrogate unto itself the right to kill human beings, especially when it kills with premeditation and ceremony, under color of law, in our names, and when it does so in an arbitrary and discriminatory fashion. In the judgment of the ACLU, capital punishment is an intolerable denial of civil liberties. We shall therefore continue to seek to prevent executions and to abolish capital punishment by litigation, legislation , commutation, or by the weight of a renewed public outcry against this brutal and brutalizing institution.

Capital Punishment Project
American Civil Liberties Union
122 Maryland Avenue, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002

ISBN 0-86566-063-8
(c) American Civil Liberties Union
Permission to reprint, with credit given to the source, is granted.


In 1972, the Supreme Court declared that under then existing laws "the imposition and carrying out of the death penalty ... constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments." (Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S.238) The majority of the Court concentrated its objections on the way death-penalty laws had been applied, finding the result so "harsh, freakish, and arbitrary" as to be constitutionally unacceptable. Making the nationwide impact of its decision unmistakable, the Court summarily reversed death sentences in the many cases then before it, which involved a wide range of state statutes, crimes, and factual situations.
But within four years after the Furman decision, more than 600 persons had been sentenced to death under new capital-punishment statutes that provided guidance for the jury's sentencing discretion. These statutes typically require a bifurcated (two-stage) trial procedure, in which the jury first determines guilt or innocence and then chooses imprisonment or death in the light of aggravating or mitigating circumstances.

In July 1976, the Supreme Court moved in the opposite direction, holding that "the punishment of death does not invariably violate the Constitution." The Court ruled that these new statutes contained "objective standards to guide, regularize, and make rationally reviewable the process for imposing the sentence of death." (Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S.153) Thus the states as well as Congress have had for some years constitutionally valid statutory models for death-penalty laws, and more than three dozen state legislatures have enacted death penalty statutes patterned after those the Court upheld in Gregg. In recent years, Congress has enacted death penalty statutes for peacetime espionage by military personnel and for drug-related murders.

Executions resumed in 1977, and by the early 1990s nearly three thousand persons were under sentence of death and more than 180 had been executed.

Despite the Supreme Court's 1976 ruling in Gregg v. Georgia, the ACLU continues to oppose capital punishment on moral and practical, as well as on constitutional, grounds:

Capital punishment is cruel and unusual. It is a relic of the earliest days of penology, when slavery, branding, and other corporal punishments were commonplace. Like those other barbaric practices, executions have no place in a civilized society.

Opposition to the death penalty does not arise from misplaced sympathy for convicted murderers. On the contrary, murder demonstrates a lack of respect for human life. For this very reason, murder is abhorrent, and any policy of state-authorized killings is immoral.

Capital punishment denies due process of law. Its imposition is arbitrary and irrevocable. It forever deprives an individual of benefits of new evidence or new law that might warrant the reversal of a conviction or the setting aside of a death sentence.

The death penalty violates the constitutional guarantee of the equal protection of the laws. It is applied randomly at best and discriminatorily at worst. It is imposed disproportionately upon those whose victims are white, on offenders who are people of color, and on those who are themselves poor and uneducated.

The defects in death-penalty laws, conceded by the Supreme Court in the early 1970s, have not been appreciably altered by the shift from unfettered discretion to "guided discretion." These changes in death sentencing have proved to be largely cosmetic. They merely mask the impermissible arbitrariness of a process that results in an execution.

Executions give society the unmistakable message that human life no longer deserves respect when it is useful to take it and that homicide is legitimate when deemed justified by pragmatic concerns.

Reliance on the death penalty obscures the true causes of crime and distracts attention from the social measures that effectively contribute to its control. Politicians who preach the desirability of executions as a weapon of crime control deceive the public and mask their own failure to support anti-crime measures that will really work.

Capital punishment wastes resources. It squanders the time and energy of courts, prosecuting attorneys, defense counsel, juries, and courtroom and correctional personnel. It unduly burdens the system of criminal justice, and it is therefore counterproductive as an instrument for society's control of violent crime. It epitomizes the tragic inefficacy and brutality of the resort to violence rather than reason for the solution of difficult social problems.

A decent and humane society does not deliberately kill human beings. An execution is a dramatic, public spectacle of official, violent homicide that teaches the permissibility of killing people to solve social problems -- the worst possible example to s et for society. In this century, governments have too often attempted to justify their lethal fury by the benefits such killing would bring to the rest Or society. The bloodshed is real and deeply destructive of the common decency of the community; the benefits are illusory.

Two conclusions buttress our entire case: Capital punishment does not deter crime, and the death penalty is uncivilized in theory and unfair and inequitable in practice.


The argument most often cited in support of capital punishment is that the threat of executions deters capital crimes more effectively than imprisonment. This claim is plausible, but the facts do not support it. The death penalty fails as a deterrent for several reasons.
Any punishment can be an effective deterrent only if it is consistently and promptly employed. Capital punishment cannot be administered to meet these conditions.

Only a small proportion of first-degree murderers is sentenced to death, and even fewer are executed. Although death sentences since 1980 have increased in number to about 250 per year,(1) this is still only 1 per cent of all homicides known to the police.(2) Of all those convicted on a charge of criminal homicide, only 2 percent -- about 1 in 50 -- are eventually sentenced to death.(3)

The possibility of increasing the number of convicted murderers sentenced to death and executed by enacting mandatory death penalty laws was ruled unconstitutional in 1976 (Woodson v. North Carolina, 428 U.S. 280).

Considerable delay in carrying out the death sentence is unavoidable, given the procedural safeguards required by the courts in capital cases. Starting with empaneling the trial jury, murder trials take far longer when the death penalty is involved. Post-conviction appeals in death-penalty cases are far more frequent as well. All these factors increase the time and cost of administering criminal justice.

The sobering lesson is that we can reduce such delay and costs only by abandoning the procedural safeguards and constitutional rights of suspects, defendants, and convicts, with the attendant high risk of convicting the wrong person and executing the innocent.

Persons who commit murder and other crimes of personal violence either premeditate them or they do not. If the crime is premeditated, the criminal ordinarily concentrates on escaping detection, arrest, and conviction. The threat of even the severest punishment will not deter those who expect to escape detection and arrest. If the crime is not premeditated, then it is impossible to imagine how the threat of any punishment could deter it. Most capital crimes are committed during moments of great emotional stress or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, when logical thinking has been suspended. Impulsive or expressive violence is inflicted by persons heedless of the consequences to themselves as well as to others.

Gangland killings, air piracy, drive-by shootings, and kidnapping for ransom are among the graver felonies that continue to be committed because some individuals think they are too clever to get caught. Political terrorism is usually committed in the name of an ideology that honors its martyrs; trying to cope with it by threatening death for terrorists is futile. Such threats leave untouched the underlying causes and ignore the many political and diplomatic sanctions (such as treaties against asylum for international terrorists) that could appreciably lower the incidence of terrorism.

The attempt to reduce murders in the illegal drug trade by the threat of severe punishment ignores this fact: Anyone trafficking in illegal drugs is already betting his life in violent competition with other dealers. It is irrational to think that the death penalty--a remote threat at best -- will deter murders committed in drug turf wars or by street-level dealers.

If, however, severe punishment can deter crime, then long term imprisonment is severe enough to cause any rational person not to commit violent crimes. The vast preponderance of the evidence shows that the death penalty is no more effective than imprisonment in deterring murder and that it may even be an incitement to criminal violence in certain cases.

(a) Death-penalty states as a group do not have lower rates of criminal homicide than non-death penalty states. During the 1980s, death-penalty states averaged an annual rate of 7.5 criminal homicides per 100,000 of population; abolition states averaged a rate of 7.4.(4)

(b) Use of the death penalty in a given state may increase the subsequent rate of criminal homicide in that state. In New York, for example, between 1907 and 1964, 692 executions were carried out. On the average, over this 57-year period, one or more executions in a given month aided a net increase of two homicides to the total committed in the next month.(5)

(c) In neighboring states -- one with the death penalty and the others without it -- the one with the death penalty does not show a consistently lower rate of criminal homicide. For example, between 1972 and 1990, the homicide rate in Michigan (which ha s no death penalty) was generally as low as or lower than the neighboring state of Indiana, which restored the death penalty in 1973 and since then has sentenced 70 persons to death and carried out 2 executions.(6)

(d) Police officers on duty do not suffer a higher rate of criminal assault and homicide in states that have abolished the death penalty than they do in death-penalty states. Between 1973 and 1984, for example, lethal assaults against police were not significantly more or less frequent in abolition states than in death-penalty states. There is "no support for the view that the death penalty provides a more effective deterrent to police homicides than alternative sanctions. Not for a single year was evidence found that police are safer in jurisdictions that provide for capital punishment."(7)

(e) Prisoners and prison personnel do not suffer a higher rate of criminal assault and homicide from life-term prisoners in abolition states than they do in death-penalty states.(8) Between 1984 and 1989, seventeen prison staff were murdered by prisoners in ten states; of these murders, 88 percent (15 of 17) occurred in death penalty jurisdictions -- just as about 88 percent of all the prisoners in those ten states were in death penalty jurisdictions.(9) Evidently, the threat of the death penalty "does not even exert an incremental deterrent effect over the threat of a lesser punishment in the abolitionist state."(10)

Actual experience establishes these conclusions beyond a reasonable doubt. No comparable body of evidence contradicts them.
Three investigations since Furman, using methods pioneered by economists, reported findings in the opposite direction.(11) Subsequently, several qualified investigators have independently examined these claims, and all have rejected them.(12) The National Academy of Sciences, in its thorough report on the effects of criminal sanctions on crime rates, concluded: "It seems unthinkable to us to base decisions on the use of the death penalty" on such "fragile" and "uncertain" results. "We see too many plausible explanations for [these] findings ... other than the theory that capital punishment deters murder."(13)

Furthermore, cases have been clinically documented where the death penalty actually incited the capital crimes it was supposed to deter. These include instances of the so-called suicide-by-execution syndrome -- persons who wanted but feared to take their own life and committed murder so that society would kill them.(14)

It must, of course, be conceded that inflicting the death penalty guarantees that the condemned person will commit no further crimes. This is an incapacitative, not a deterrent, effect of executions. Furthermore, it is too high a price to pay when studies show that very few convicted murderers ever commit another crime of violence.(15) A recent study examined the prison and post-release records of 533 prisoners on death row in 1972 whose sentences were reduced to life by the Supreme Court's ruling in Furman. The research showed that 6 had committed another murder. But the same study showed that in 4 other cases, an innocent man had been sentenced to death.(16)

Recidivism among murderers does occasionally happen. But it happens less frequently than most people believe; the media rarely distinguish between a paroled murderer who murders again and other murderers who have a previous criminal record but not for homicide.

There is no way to predict which convicted murderers will kill again. Repeat murders could be prevented only by executing all those convicted of criminal homicide. Such a policy is too inhumane and brutal to be taken seriously. Society would never tolerate dozens of executions daily, yet nothing less would suffice. Equally effective but far less inhumane is a policy of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.



Constitutional due process as well as elementary justice require that the judicial functions of trial and sentencing be conducted with fundamental fairness, especially where the irreversible sanction of the death penalty is involved. In murder cases (since 1930, 99 percent of all executions have been for this crime), there has been substantial evidence to show that courts have been arbitrary, racially biased, and unfair in the way in which they have sentenced some persons to prison but others to death.
Racial discrimination was one of the grounds on which the Supreme Court relied in Furman in ruling the death penalty unconstitutional. Half a century ago, Gunnar Myrdal, in his classic American Dilemma (1944), reported that "the South makes the widest application of the death penalty, and Negro criminals come in for much more than their share of the executions." Statistics confirm this discrimination, only it is not confined to the South. Between 1930 and 1990, 4,016 persons were executed in the United States. Of these, 2,129 (or 53 percent) were black. For the crime of murder, 3,343 were executed; 1,693 (or 51 percent) were black.(17) During these years African-Americans were about 12 per cent of the nation's population.

The nation's death rows have always had a disproportionately large population of African-Americans, relative to their fraction of the total population. Over the past century, black offenders, as compared with white, were often executed for crimes less often receiving the death penalty, such as rape and burglary. (Between 1930 and 1976, 455 men were executed for rape, of whom 405 (or 90 percent) were black.) A higher percentage of the blacks who were executed were juveniles; and blacks were more often executed than were whites without having their conviction reviewed by any higher court.(18)

In recent years, it has been widely believed that such flagrant discrimination is a thing of the past. Since the revival of the death penalty in the mid-1970s, about half of those on death row at any given time have been black(19) -- a disproportionately large fraction given the black/white ratio of the total population, but not so obviously unfair if judged by the fact that roughly 50 percent of all those arrested for murder were also black.(20) Nevertheless, when those under death sentence are examined more closely, it turns out that race is a decisive factor after all.

An exhaustive statistical study of racial discrimination in capital cases in Georgia, for example, showed that "the average odds of receiving a death sentence among all indicted cases were 4.3 times higher in cases with white victims."(21) In 1987 these data were placed before the Supreme Court in McCleskey v. Kemp and the Court did not dispute the statistical evidence. The Court did hold, however, that the evidence failed to show that there was "a constitutionally significant risk of racial bias...." . (481 U.S. 279)

In 1990, the U.S. General Accounting Office reported to the Congress the results of its review of empirical studies on racism and the death penalty. The GAO concluded: "Our synthesis of the 28 studies shows a pattern of evidence indicating racial disparities in the charging, sentencing, and imposition of the death penalty after the Furman decision" and that "race of victim influence was found at all stages of the criminal justice system process...." .

These results cannot be explained away by relevant non-racial factors (such as prior criminal record or type of crime), and they lead to a very unsavory conclusion: In the trial courts of this nation, even at the present time, the killing of a white is treated much more severely than the killing of a black. Of the 168 persons executed between January 1977 and April 1992, only 29 had been convicted of the killing of a non-white, and only one of these 29 was himself white.(23) Where the death penalty is involved, our criminal justice system essentially reserves the death penalty for murderers (regardless of their race) who kill white victims.

Both sex and socio-economic class are also factors that enter into determining who receives a death sentence and who is executed. During the 1980s and aerially 1990s, only about I percent of all those on death row were women,(24) even though women commit about 15 percent of all criminal homicides.(25) A third or more of the women under death sentence were guilty of killing men who had victimized them with years of violent abuse.(26) Since 1930, only 33 women (12 of them black) have been executed in the United States.(27)

Discrimination against the poor (and in our society racial minorities are disproportionately poor) is also well established. "Approximately ninety percent of those on death row could not afford to hire a lawyer when they were tried."(28) A defendant's poverty, lack of firm social roots in the community, inadequate legal representation at trial or on appeal--all these have been common factors among death-row populations. As Justice William O. Douglas noted in Furman, "One searches our chronicles in vain for the execution of any member of the affluent strata in this society." (408 U.S. 238)

The demonstrated inequities in the actual administration of capital punishment should tip the balance against it in the judgment of fair-minded and impartial observers. "Whatever else might be said for the use of death as a punishment, one lesson is clear from experience: this is a power that we cannot exercise fairly and without discrimination."(29)

Justice John Marshall Harlan, writing for the Court, noted: "...the history of capital punishment for homicides...reveals continual efforts, uniformly unsuccessful, to identify before the fact those homicides for which the slayer should die.... Those who have come to grips with the hard task of actually attempting to draft means of channeling capital sentencing discretion have confirmed the lesson taught by history.... To identify before the fact those characteristics of criminal homicides and their perpetrators which call for the death penalty, and to express these characteristics in language which can be fairly understood and applied by the sentencing authority, appears to be tasks which are beyond present human ability." (McGautha v. California, 402 U.S . 183 (1971))

Yet in the Gregg decision, the majority of the Supreme Court abandoned the wisdom of Justice Harlan and ruled as though the new guided-discretion statutes could accomplish the impossible. The truth is that death statutes approved by the Court "do not effectively restrict the discretion of juries by any real standards. They never will. No society is going to kill everybody who meets certain preset verbal requirements, put on the statute books without awareness of coverage of the infinity of special factors the real world can produce."(30)

Even if these statutes were to succeed in guiding the jury's choice of sentence, a vast reservoir of unfettered discretion remains: the prosecutor's decision to prosecute for a capital or lesser crime, the court's willingness to accept or reject a guilt y plea, the jury's decision to convict for second-degree murder or manslaughter rather than capital murder, the determination of the defendant's sanity, the final decision by the governor on clemency.

Discretion in the criminal-justice system is unavoidable. The history of capital punishment in American society clearly shows the desire to mitigate the harshness of this penalty by narrowing its scope. Discretion, whether authorized by statutes or by t heir silence, has been the main vehicle to this end. But when discretion is used, as it always has been, to mark for death the poor, the friendless, the uneducated, the members of racial minorities, and the despised, then discretion becomes injustice.

Thoughtful citizens, who in contemplating capital punishment in the abstract might support it, must condemn it in actual practice.


Inevitability of Error
Unlike all other criminal punishments, the death penalty is uniquely irrevocable. Speaking to the French Chamber of Deputies in 1830, years after the excesses of the French Revolution, which he had witnessed, the Marquis de Lafayette said, "I shall ask for the abolition of the punishment of death until I have the infallibility of human judgment demonstrated to me."(31) Although some proponents of capital punishment would argue that its merits are worth the occasional execution of innocent people, most would also insist that there is little likelihood of the innocent being executed. Yet a large body of evidence shows that innocent people are often convicted of crimes, including capital crimes and that some of them have been executed.
Since 1900, in this country, there have been on the average more than four cases per year in which an entirely innocent person was convicted of murder. Scores of these persons were sentenced to death. In many cases, a reprieve or commutation arrived just hours, or even minutes, before the scheduled execution. These erroneous convictions have occurred in virtually every jurisdiction from one end of the nation to the other. Nor have they declined in recent years, despite the new death penalty statutes approved by the Supreme Court.(32) Consider this handful of representative cases:

In 1975, only a year before the Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of capital punishment, two African-American men in Florida, Freddie Pitts and Wilbert Lee, were released from prison after twelve years awaiting execution for the murder of two white men. Their convictions were the result of coerced confessions, erroneous testimony of an alleged eyewitness, and incompetent defense counsel. Though a white man eventually admitted his guilt, a nine-year legal battle was required before the governor would grant Pitts and Lee a pardon.(33) Had their execution not been stayed while the constitutional status of the death penalty was argued in the courts, these two innocent men probably would not be alive today.

Just months after Pitts and Lee were released, authorities in New Mexico were forced to admit they had sentenced to death four white men -- motorcyclists from Los Angeles -- who were innocent. The accused offered a documented alibi at their trial, but the prosecution dismissed it as an elaborate ruse. The jury's verdict was based mainly on what was later revealed to be perjured testimony (encouraged by the police) from an alleged eyewitness. Thanks to persistent investigation by newspaper reporters and the confession of the real killer, the error was exposed and the defendants were released after eighteen months on death row.(34)

In Georgia in 1975, Earl Charles was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. A surviving victim of the crime erroneously identified Charles as the gunman; her testimony was supported by a jail-house informant who claimed he had heard Charles confess . Incontrovertible alibi evidence, showing that Charles was in Florida at the very time of the crime, eventually established his innocence -- but not until he had spent more than three years under death sentence. His release was owing largely to his mother's unflagging efforts.(35)

In 1989, Texas authorities decided not to retry Randall Dale Adams after the appellate court reversed his conviction for murder. Adams had spent more than three years on death row for the murder of a Dallas police officer. He was convicted on the perjured testimony of a 16-year-old youth who was the real killer. Adams's plight was vividly presented in the 1988 docudrama, The Thin Blue Line, which convincingly told the true story of the crime and exposed the errors that resulted in his conviction.(36)

Another case in Texas from the 1980s tells an even more sordid story. In 1980 a black high school janitor, Clarence Brandley, and his white co-worker found the body of a missing 15-year-old white schoolgirl. Interrogated by the police, they were told, " One of you two is going to hang for this." Looking at Brandley, the officer said, "Since you're the nigger, you're elected." In a classic case of rush to judgment, Brandley was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. The circumstantial evidence against him was thin, other leads were ignored by the police, and the courtroom atmosphere reeked of racism. In 1986 Centurion Ministries -- a volunteer group devoted to freeing wrongly convicted prisoners -- came to Brandley's aid. Evidence had meanwhile emerged that another man had committed the murder for which Brandley was awaiting execution. Brandley was not released until 1990.(37)

Each of the five stories told above has a reassuring ending: The innocent prisoner is saved from execution and is released. But when prisoners are executed, no legal forum exists in which unanswered questions about their guilt can be resolved. In May 1992, Roger Keith Coleman was executed in Virginia despite widely publicized doubts surrounding his guilt and evidence that pointed to another person as the murderer -- evidence that was never submitted at his trial. Not until late in the appeal process did anyone take seriously the possibility that the state was about to kill an innocent man, and then efforts to delay or nullify his execution failed. Was Coleman really innocent? At the time of his execution, his case was marked with many of the features found in other cases where the defendant was eventually cleared. Were Coleman still in prison, his friends and attorneys would have a strong incentive to resolve these questions. But with Coleman dead, further inquiry into the facts of the crime for which h e was convicted is unlikely.
Overzealous prosecution, mistaken or perjured testimony, faulty police work, coerced confessions, the defendant's previous criminal record, inept defense counsel, seemingly conclusive circumstantial evidence, community pressure for a conviction -- such factors help explain why the judicial system cannot guarantee that justice will never miscarry. And when it does miscarry, volunteers outside the criminal justice system -- newspaper reporters, for example -- and not the police or prosecutors are the ones who rectify the errors. To retain the death penalty in the face of the demonstrable failures of the system is unacceptable, especially as there are no strong counterbalancing factors in favor of the death penalty.


The traditional mode of execution, still available in a few states, is hanging. Death on the gallows is easily bungled: If the drop is too short, there will be a slow and agonizing death by strangulation. If the drop is too long, the head will be torn off.
Two states, Idaho and Utah, still authorize the firing squad. The prisoner is strapped into a chair, and hooded. A target is pinned to the chest. Five marksmen, one with blanks, take aim and fire.

Electrocution has been the most widely used form of execution in this country in this century. The condemned prisoner is led--or dragged--into the death chamber, strapped into the chair, and electrodes are fastened to head and legs. When the switch is thrown the body strains, jolting as the voltage is raised and lowered. Often smoke rises from the head. There is the awful odor of burning flesh. No one knows how long electrocuted individuals retain consciousness.

In 1983, the electrocution of John Evans in Alabama was described by an eyewitness as follows: "At 8:30 p.m. the first jolt of 1900 volts of electricity passed through Mr. Evans' body. It lasted thirty seconds. Sparks and flames erupted ... from the electrode tied to Mr. Evans' left leg. His body slammed against the straps holding him in the electric chair and his fist clenched permanently. The electrode apparently burst from the strap holding it in place. A large puff of grayish smoke and sparks poured out from under the hood that covered Mr. Evans' face. An overpowering stench of burnt flesh and clothing began pervading the witness room. Two doctors examined Mr. Evans and declared that he was not dead.

"The electrode on the left leg was refastened.... Mr. Evans was administered a second thirty second jolt of electricity. The stench of burning flesh was nauseating. More smoke emanated from his leg and head. Again, the doctors examined Mr. Evans. [They] reported that his heart was still beating, and that he was still alive. At that time, I asked the prison commissioner, who was communicating on an open telephone line to Governor George Wallace, to grant clemency on the grounds that Mr. Evans was being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. The request ... was denied.

"At 8:40 p.m., a third charge of electricity, thirty seconds in duration, was passed through Mr. Evans' body. At 8:44, the doctors pronounced him dead. The execution of John Evans took fourteen minutes."(38) Afterwards, officials were embarrassed by what one observer called the "barbaric ritual." The prison spokesman remarked, "This was supposed to be a very clean manner of administering death."(39)

An attempt to improve on electrocution was the gas chamber. The prisoner is strapped into a chair, a container of sulfuric acid underneath. The chamber is sealed, and cyanide is dropped into the acid to form lethal gas. Here is an account of the 1992 execution in Arizona of Don Harding, as reported in the dissent by U. S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens:

"When the fumes enveloped Don's head he took a quick breath. A few seconds later he again looked in my direction. His face was red and contorted as if he were attempting to fight through tremendous pain. His mouth was pursed shut and his jaw was clenched tight. Don then look several more quick gulps of the fumes.

"At this point Don's body started convulsing violently....His face and body fumed a deep red and the veins in his temple and neck began to bulge until I thought they might explode.

"After about a minute Don's face leaned partially forward, but he was still conscious. Every few seconds he continued to gulp in. He was shuddering uncontrollably and his body was racked with spasms. His head continued to snap back. His hands were clenched.

"After several more manuals, the most violent of the convulsions subsided. At this time the muscles along Don's left arm and back began twitching in a wavelike motion under his skin. Spittle drooled from his mouth.

"Don did not stop moving for approximately eight minutes, and after that he continued to twitch and jerk for another minute. Approximately two minutes later, we were told by a prison official that the execution was complete.

"Don Harding took ten minutes and thirty one seconds to die." (Gomez v. U.S. District Court, 112 S.Ct. 1652)

The latest mode of inflicting the death penalty, enacted into law by nearly two dozen states, is lethal injection, first used in Texas in 1982. It is easy to overstate the humaneness and efficacy of this method. There is no way of knowing that it is really painless. As the U.S. Court of Appeals observed, there is "substantial and uncontroverted evidence ... that execution by lethal injection poses a serious risk of cruel, protracted death.... Even a slight error in dosage or administration can leave a prisoner conscious but paralyzed while dying, a sentient witness of his or her own asphyxiation." (Chaney v. Heckler, 718 F.2d 1174 [1983])

Nor does the execution always proceed smoothly as planned. In 1985 "the authorities repeatedly jabbed needles into ... Stephen Morin, when they had trouble finding a usable vein because he had been a drug abuser."(40) In 1988, during the execution of Raymond Landry, "a tube attached to a needle inside the inmate's right arm began leaking, sending the lethal mixture shooting across the death chamber toward witnesses."(41)

Indeed, by its veneer of decency and by subtle analogy with life-saving medical practice, death by lethal injection makes killing as punishment more acceptable to the public. Even when it prevents the struggles of the condemned person and avoids maiming the body, it is no different from hanging or shooting as an expression of the absolute power of the state over the helpless individual.

Most people observing an execution are horrified and disgusted. "I was ashamed," writes sociologist Richard Moran, who witnessed an execution in Texas in 1985. "I was an intruder, the only member of the public who had trespassed on [the condemned man's] private moment of anguish. In my face he could see the horror of his own death."(42) Revulsion at the duty to supervise and witness executions is one reason why so many prison wardens -- however unsentimental they are about crime and criminals -- are opponents of capital punishment.

In some people, however, executions seem to appeal to strange, aberrant impulses and give an outlet to sadistic urges. Warden Lewis Lawes wrote of the many requests he received to watch electrocutions, and told that when the job of executioner became vacant, "I received more than seven hundred applications for the position, many of them offering cut-rate prices."(43)

Public executions were common in this country during the 19th century; one of the last was in 1936 in Kentucky, when 20,000 people gathered to watch a young African-American male hanged.(44) Delight in brutality, pain, violence, and death may always be with us. But surely we must conclude that it is best for the law not to encourage these impulses. When the government sanctions, commands, and ceremoniously carries out the execution of a prisoner, it lends support to this destructive side of human nature.

More than two centuries ago, the Italian jurist Cesare Beccaria, in his highly influential treatise On Crimes and Punishments (1764), asserted: "The death penalty cannot be useful, because of the example of barbarity it gives men." True, and even if the death penalty were a "useful" deterrent, it would still be an "example of barbarity." No society can safely entrust the enforcement of its laws to torture, brutality, or killing. Such methods are inherently cruel and will always mock the attempt to cloak them in justice. As Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg wrote, "The deliberate institutionalized taking of human life by the state is the greatest conceivable degradation to the dignity of the human personality."(45)


Justice, it is often insisted, requires the death penalty as the only suitable retribution for heinous crimes. This claim will not bear scrutiny. All punishment by its nature is retributive, not only the death penalty. Whatever legitimacy, therefore, is to be found in punishment as just retribution can in principle be satisfied without recourse to executions.
It is also obvious that the death penalty could be defended on narrowly retributive grounds only for the crime of murder, and not for any of the many other crimes that have frequently been made subject to this mode of punishment (rape, kidnapping, espionage, treason, drug kingpins). Few defenders of the death penalty are willing to confine themselves consistently to the narrow scope afforded by retribution. In any case, execution is more than a punishment exacted in retribution for the taking of a life.

As Camus wrote, "For there to be equivalence, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life."(46)

It is also often argued that death is what murderers deserve, and that those who oppose the death penalty violate the fundamental principle that criminals should be punished according to their deserts--"making the punishment fit the crime."

If this principle is understood to require that punishments are unjust unless they are like the crime itself, then the principle is unacceptable. It would require us to rape rapists, torture torturers, and inflict other horrible and degrading punishment s on offenders. It would require us to betray traitors and kill multiple murderers again and again, punishments impossible to inflict. Since we cannot reasonably aim to punish all crimes according to this principle, it is arbitrary to invoke it as a requirement of justice in the punishment of murderers.

If, however, the principle of just deserts is understood to require that the severity of punishments must be proportional to the gravity of the crime, and that murder being the gravest crime deserves the severest punishment, then the principle is no doubt sound. But it does not compel support for the death penalty. What it does require is that crimes other than murder be punished with terms of imprisonment or other deprivations less severe than those used in the punishment of murder.

Criminals no doubt deserve to be punished, and punished with severity appropriate to their culpability and the harm they have caused to the innocent. But severity of punishment has its limits -- imposed both by justice and our common human dignity. Governments that respect these limits do not use premeditated, violent homicide as an instrument of social policy.

Some whose loved one was a murder victim believe that they cannot rest until the murderer is executed. But the feeling is by no means universal. Coretta Scott King has observed, "As one whose husband and mother-in-law have died the victims of murder assassination, I stand firmly and unequivocally opposed to the death penalty for those convicted of capital offenses. An evil deed is not redeemed by an evil deed of retaliation. Justice is never advanced in the tacking of a human life. Morality is never upheld by a legalized murder."(47)

Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the slain Senator Robert Kennedy, has written: "I was eight years old when my father was murdered. It is almost impossible to describe the pain of losing a parent to a senseless murder.... But even as a child one thing was clear to me: I didn't want the killer, in turn, to be killed. I remember lying in bed and praying, 'Please, God. Please don't take his life, too.' I saw nothing that could be accomplished in the loss of one life being answered with the loss of another. And I knew, far too vividly, the anguish that would spread through another family -- another set of parents, children, brothers, and sisters thrown into grief."(48)


Financial Costs
It is sometimes suggested that abolishing capital punishment is unfair to the taxpayer, as though life imprisonment were obviously more expensive than executions. If one takes into account all the relevant costs, the reverse is true. "The death penalty is not now, nor has it ever been, a more economical alternative to life imprisonment."(49)
A murder trial normally takes much longer when the death penalty is at issue than when it is not. Litigation costs - including the time of judges, prosecutors,public defenders, and court reporters, and the high costs of briefs -- are all borne by the taxpayer.

A 1982 study showed that were the death penalty to be reintroduced in New York, the cost of the capital trial alone would be more than double the cost of a life term in prison.(50)

In Maryland, a comparison of capital trial costs with and without the death penalty for the years 1979-1984 concluded that a death penalty case costs "approximately 42 percent more than a case resulting in a non-death sentence."(51) In 1988 and 1989 th e Kansas legislature voted against reinstating the death penalty after it was informed that reintroduction would involve a first-year cost of "more than $ 11 million."(52) Florida, with one of the nation's largest death rows, has estimated that the true cost of each execution is approximately $3.2 million, or approximately six times the cost of a life-imprisonment sentence.(53)

The only way to make the death penalty a "better buy" than imprisonment is to weaken due process and curtail appellate review, which are the defendant's (and society's) only protections against the grossest miscarriages of justice. The savings in dollar s would be at the cost of justice: In nearly half of the death-penalty cases given review under federal habeas corpus, the conviction is overturned.(54)


Public Opinion
The media commonly report that the American public overwhelmingly supports the death penalty. More careful analysis of public attitudes, however, reveals that most Americans would oppose the death penalty if convicted murderers were sentenced to life without parole and were required to make some form of financial restitution. In California, for example, a Field Institute survey showed that in 1990,82 percent approved in principle of the death penalty. But when asked to choose between the death penalty and life imprisonment plus restitution, only a small minority--26 percent--continued to favor executions.(53)
A comparable change in attitude toward the death penally has been verified in many other states and contradicted in none.


Abolition Trends
The death penalty in the United States needs to be put into international perspective. In 1962, it was reported to the Council of Europe that "the facts clearly show that the death penalty is regarded in Europe as something of an anachronism...."(56)
Today, 28 European countries have abolished the death penalty either in law or in practice. In Great Britain, it was abolished (except for treason) in 1971; France abolished it in 1981. Canada abolished it in 1976. The United Nations General Assembly affirmed in a formal resolution that, throughout the world, it is desirable to "progressively restrict the number of offenses for which the death penalty might be imposed, with a view to the desirability of abolishing this punishment."(57)

Conspicuous by their indifference to these recommendations are nations generally known for their disregard for the human rights of their citizens: China, Iraq, Iran, South Africa, and the former Soviet Union.(58) Americans ought to be embarrassed to find themselves linked with the governments of such nations in retaining execution as a method of crime control.

Opposition to the death penalty in the United States is widespread and diverse. Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant religious groups, national organizations representing people of color, and public-interest law groups are among the more than fifty national organizations that constitute the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Once in use everywhere and for a wide variety of crimes, the death penalty today is generally forbidden by law and widely abandoned in practice. The unmistakable worldwide trend is toward the complete abolition of capital punishment.


For Further Information & Reference
Additional copies of this pamphlet, as well as resource materials such as newsletters, books, legal and legislative information, death-row census, reprinted articles, bibliographies, and referrals to other national and state-wide anti-death penalty groups may be obtained from the Capital Punishment Project, American Civil Liberties Union, 122 Maryland Avenue N.E., Washington, D.C., 20002. Diann Y. Rust-Tierney, Esq., is the project's director. The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, which coordinates the work of a wide variety of organizations opposed to capital punishment, is located at 1325 G St. N.W. Lower Level B, Washington, D.C., 20005.
No one volume on the death penalty currently serves as an up-to-date source book on all aspects of the subject. The Death Penalty in America, 3rd ed., ed. Hugo Adam Bedau, Oxford University Press, 1982, is still useful, and a new edition is in preparation. Many other recent volumes contain valuable information and argument, including: Welsh S. White, The Death Penalty in the Nineties, University of Michigan Press,1991; Samuel R. Gross and Robert Mauro, Death and Discrimination, Northeastern University Press, 1989; Michael L. Radelet, ed., Facing the Death Penalty, Temple University Press, 1989; Kenneth C. Haas and James A. Inciardi, eds., Challenging Capital Punishment, Sage Publications, 1988; United States of America -- The Death Penalty, Amnesty International Publications, 1987; Franklin E. Zimring and Gordon Hawkins, Capital Punishment and the American Agenda, Cambridge University Press, 1986; William J. Bowers, Legal Homicide: Death as Punishment in America, 1864-1982, Northeastern University Press , 1984; Charles L. Black, Jr., Capital Punishment, 2nd ed., W. W. Norton, 1981. The wealth of scholarly literature up through 1988 can be traced with the help of Capital Punishment in America: An Annotated Bibliography, Garland Publishing, 1988, edited by Michael L. Radelet and Margaret Vandiver.

Four more specialized volumes deserve mention as well: Michael L. Radelet, Hugo Adam Bedau, and Constance E. Putnam, In Spite of Innocence: Erroneous Convictions in Capital Cases, Northeastern University Press, 1992; Robert M. Bohm, ed., The Death Penalty in America: Current Research. Anderson Publishing Co., 1991: Victor T. Streib, Death Penalty for Juveniles, Indiana University Press, 1987; and Louis P. Masur, Rites of Execution: Capital Punishment and the Transformation of American Culture, 1776-1865 , Oxford University Press, 1989.

Several scholarly and legal journals have devoted whole issues to various legal, sociological, and historical aspects of the problem of the death penalty, notably Dickinson Law Review, vol. 95, no. 4, Summer 1991; New York University Review of Law & Social Change, vol. 18, nos. 2 and 3, 1990-1991; Albany Law Review, vol. 54, nos. 3/4, 1990; Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, vol. 23, no. 1, November 1989; Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, vol. 5, no. 4, December 1989; Law and Human Behavior, vol. 8, nos. 1/2, June 1984; U.C. Davis Law Review, vol. 18, no. 4, summer 1985; Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. vol. 74, no. 3, fall 1983.

Among the recent U.S. government publications containing information of general interest are: "The Federal Death Penalty Act of 1989," Report of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 101st Congress, 1st Session, October 1989; "Death Penalty," Hearings Before Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, 101st Congress, 1st Session, September-October 1989; "Establishing Constitutional Procedures for the Imposition of Capital Punishment," Report of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 99th Congress, 2d Session, April 1986; "Capital Punishment," Hearings Before Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, U.S. House of Representatives, 99th Congress, 1st and 2d Sessions, November 1985-July 1986; "Death Penalty Legislation," hearing Before the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, 99th Congress, 1st Session, September 1985. For earlier federal government publications, see the bibliography by Radelet and Vandiver, pp. 219-20.

Statistical information on death sentences and executions since 1930 may be obtained in the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin, Capital Punishment, an annual report appearing under various titles since the 1950s. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund publishes "Death Row, U.S.A.," issued since the 1970s several times a year; it reports current demographic information on executions and the death row population.


See U.S. Dept. Justice, Capital Punishment, annually, 1980 et seq.

See Uniform Crime Reports, annually, 1980 et seq.

See Uniform Crime Reports.

Uniform Crime Reports, annually, 1980-1989.

Bowers and Pierce, "Deterrence or Brutalization," in Crime & Delinquency (1980).

U.S. Dept. Justice, Capital Punishment, 1972-1990; Uniform Crime Reports, annually, 1972-1990; and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, "Death Row, USA," Spring 1992.

Bailey and Peterson, in Criminology (1987), p. 22.

Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics -- 1990.

Bureau of Justice Statistics, Prisons and Prisoners in the United States (1992), p. 1.

Wolfson, in Bedau, ed., The Death Penalty in America, 3rd ed. (1982), p. 167

Ehrlich, in American Economic Review (1974); Phillips, in American Journal of Sociology (1980); and Layson, in Southern Economic Journal (1985)

Lempert, in Crime & Delinquency (1983); Peterson and Bailey in Chambliss, ed., Criminal Law in Action, 2nd ed. (1984); Bowers, in Hasse and Inciardi, eds., Challenging Capital Punishment (1988); Peterson and Cello, in Social Forces (1988); and Fox and Radelet, in Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review (1989).

Blumstein, Cohen, and Nagin, eds., Deterrence and Incapacitation (1975), p. 358.

West, Solomon, and Diamond, in Bedau and Pierce, eds., Capital Punishment in the United States (1976).

Bedau, "Recidivism, Parole, and Deterrence," in Bedau, ed., Death Penalty in America, 3rd ed.

Marquart and Sorensen, in Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review (1989).

U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Capital Punishment," 1977, and NAACP LDF, "Death Row, USA," Spring 1992.

Bowers, Legal Homicide (1984); Streib, Death Penalty for Juveniles (1987).

"Death Row, USA," 1976 et seq.

Uniform Crime Reports, 1972-1990.

Baldus, Woodworth, and Pulaski, Equal Justice and The Death Penalty (1990), p. 401.

U.S. General Accounting Office, "Death Penalty Sentencing" (1990), pp.5, 6.

"Death Row, USA," Spring 1992; and Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics -- 1990.

U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Capital Punishment," 1980-1990.

Uniform Crime Reports, 1980-1990.

Memorandum, National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, January 1991.

U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Capital Punishment," 1979; NAACP LDF, "Death Row, USA," Spring 1992.

Tabak, in Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review (1989).

Gross and Mauro, Death and Discrimination (1989), p. 224.

Black, Capital Punishment. The Inevitability of Caprice and Mistake. 2nd ed. (1982).

Lucas Recueil des debats ... (1831) pt. II, p. 32.

Radelet, Bedau, and Putnam, In Spite of Innocence (1992); Bedau and Radelet, Miscarriages of Justice in Potentially Capital Cases, Stanford Law Review (1987).

Miller, Invitation to a Lynching (1975); also The New York Times, Sept 10, 1975, p.1.

"Capital Punishment" Senate Hearings (1981) pp. 713-20

Atlanta Weekly, May 30, 1982.

Adams, Hoffer, and Hoffer, Adams v. Texas (1991).

Davies, White Lies (1991).

Glass v. Louisiana, 471 U.S. 1080 (1985).

Boston Globe, April 24, 1983, p. 24.

The New York Times, December 14, 1988, p. A29.


Los Angeles Times, March 24, 1985, Pt IV, p. 5.

Lawes, Life and Death in Sing Sing (1928).

Teeters, in Journal of the Lancaster County Historical Society (1960).

Boston Globe, August 16, 1976, p. 17

Camus, "Reflections on the Guillotine," in Resistance, Rebellion and Death (1960).

Speech to National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Washington, D.C., September 26, 1981.

Foreword to Gray and Stanley, A Punishment in Search of A Crime (1989).

Spangenberg and Walsh, in Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review (1989), p. 47

N. Y. State Defenders Assn., Capital Losses (1982).

U S. Govt. Accounting Office, Limited Data Available on Costs of Death Sentences (1989), p. 50.

Cited in Spangenberg and Walsh, note 49.

Miami Herald, July 10, 1988.

New York Times, Sept. 22, 1989

New York Times, May 28, 1990; and Fox, Radelet, and Bonsteel, in N.Y.U. Review of Law and Social Change (1990-91).

Ancel, The Death Penalty in European Countries (1962), p 55.

UN, Ecosoc, Official Records 58th Sess. (1971), Supl. 1, p.36.

Hood, The Death Penalty: A World-Wide Perspective (1989); Amnesty International, When The State Kills... (1989).


Revised July 1992.
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