Archive for

July, 2013



FBI Investigates Potentially Flawed Scientific Conclusions in 27 Death Penalty Cases

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has uncovered 27 death penalty cases in which experts at the FBI could have wrongfully linked defendants to crimes. The reviews are being launched with the concern that forensic experts may have exaggerated scientific conclusions and testimonies that led to convictions. The 27 cases were uncovered from an ongoing review launched last year of over 21,000 cases involving forensic evidence. It is too early to know if any of the cases resulted in wrongful convictions or if any are linked to death penalty sentences that have already been carried out, although the FBI has stated that they are interested in disclosing problems in any selected cases, even if the defendant has been executed.

The review has already led to a stay of execution for Willie Manning in Mississippi. An FBI agent at Manning’s trial testified that a hair found at the crime scene belonged to Manning, but the FBI later stated that the conclusion “exceeded the limits of science.” Hair evidence is of particular concern in the 27 cases. FBI lab reports have stated for decades that hair association cannot lead to positive identifications, but agents have still given testimony that different hairs have been a near certain match, even stating that hairs matched “to the exclusion of all others.”

The FBI is consulting with the Innocence Project, the Department of Justice, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers on the cases and plans to notify prosecution and defense if any mistakes are uncovered. There is hope that this review will encourage state and local labs to undergo similar reviews. Any significant findings could also lead to a renewed debate on the risk of the U.S. executing innocent people.

FBI logo via ubergizmo.com

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Arkansas Attorney General Says Death Penalty is Broken, Urges Change

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel stated last week that he believes “our death penalty system, as it currently exists, is completely broken.” Speaking at the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association summer convention, he said “I don’t think we are telling jurors the truth when we lead them to believe that they are sentencing someone to death when we really don’t have a viable system with which to execute someone.”

McDaniel, who supports the death penalty, said that the system has changed even since he took office in 2007. Arkansas’ most recent execution was in 2005, and while seven of the state’s 38 death row inmates have exhausted their appeals, none of them have execution dates set. The Attorney General laid out two reasons for the delay in the state’s use of capital punishment. The first is that the civil litigations brought against the state on aspects of the execution process have become very lengthy, further tying up the process even beyond appeals. Secondly, he states that “the drugs needed for lethal injection are simply not available for purchase by state prisons anymore,” as most of these drugs come from manufacturers in Europe, which has no death penalty, who don’t want the drugs used for executions. Some states still have stockpiles of the drugs but will no longer sell them to other states because of their limited access. Arkansas also faces the growing national problem of finding physicians to administer the drugs, as they are concerned about the ethics of the situation and about keeping their identities secret. Just yesterday a stay of execution was issued for Warren Hill in Georgia over issues of the lethal injection procedure.

McDaniel doesn’t believe that the courts would approve the use of an alternative method such as the electric chair, gas chamber, or firing squad, or that the majority of Arkansans would support those methods.

Looking forward, McDaniel pointed to the legislature and Arkansas’ Supreme Court as legitimate means for abolition stating, “It’s time for the policy makers of Arkansas to say, ‘Do we continue with a broken system and throwing money and resources at essentially pointless litigation, or do we modify the system?’ And there’s only really two modifications that I see available — it’s either abolish the death penalty or change the method of execution.”

While McDaniel is concerned about the system because of the difficulty in carrying out death sentences and not for issues of morality or unjust application, he recognizes the terrible consequences of the drawn out system on victim’s families. His remarks support a trend of leaders, including conservatives, concerned that the death penalty is beyond repair and leads to a waste of resources and less efficient state governments.

(Photo courtesy of Texarkana Gazette)

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual appeal among men is the erectile disfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong heartiness problem such as heart trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health conditions that can be very dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile disfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.

Will the Supreme Court Spare Warren Hill?

Update (Wednesday, July 23): Georgia was unable to appeal the trial judge’s ruling on Friday to the Georgia Supreme Court because state lawyers did not receive the court reporter’s transcript from Thursday’s hearing on time. The state’s death warrant for Hill has now expired. The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to review Hill’s petition that he is intellectually disabled in September. However, legal maneuvers could result in a new execution date before the Supreme Court hearing.

Update (Thursday, July 18): Today a Georgia judge ruled that the state’s new law shielding the source of lethal injection drugs interferes with Warren Hill’s right to challenge the method of execution. His stay of execution (which was rescheduled to July 19) has been extended. The state plans to appeal this ruling.

Update (Monday, July 15): Warren Hill’s execution has been stayed for now. During a hearing today, Superior Court Judge Gail Tusan scheduled another hearing for this Thursday, July 18 to consider challenges raised by Hill’s lawyer about the new Georgia law that keeps the identities of the doctors who prescribe the lethal injection drug and the manufacturer of it a secret.

In February, minutes before he was to be executed, Georgia death row inmate Warren Lee Hill was granted a stay. The Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that further review was needed of new affidavits by state mental health experts who changed their minds about Hill’s mental capacity.

Mr. Hill has an IQ of 70 and is considered intellectually disabled. According to the 2002 U. S. Supreme Court decision Atkins v. Virginia, people with intellectual disability are to be excluded from execution because of their reduced culpability. However, the Supreme Court left it up to the states to define and determine intellectual disability and Georgia has the strictest requirement in the country: one must prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

In 2000, three doctors testified on behalf of the state that Hill did not meet the criteria for mental retardation, as it was called at the time, and instead diagnosed him with borderline intellectual functioning. This past February, however, those same doctors released sworn affidavits affirming that Hill is intellectually disabled, thus concurring with all other doctors who have examined him. Although this would appear to prove his intellectual disability beyond a reasonable doubt, it doesn’t seem to be enough. On April 23, 2013, an Eleventh Circuit panel in a 2-1 vote denied Hill’s habeas petition, finding that he did not meet the standards of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and so they could not consider the new evidence of his intellectual disability.

In May, Hill’s attorneys filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus with the U.S. Supreme Court and they are scheduled to review his petition on September 30. Despite this, last week, Georgia set another execution date for Hill for this coming Monday, July 15, at 7:00 p.m. ET. Hill’s lawyers filed a motion for a stay of execution with the Eleventh Circuit and it was denied on Tuesday. Warren Hill’s life now depends on an intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“All experts who have evaluated Warren Hill agree: he is mentally retarded,” said Brain Kammer, Hill’s attorney. “Mr. Hill’s execution would therefore be a grotesque miscarriage of justice and render the Eighth Amendment a mere paper tiger. This case presents the extraordinary circumstances where an individual who is ineligible for a capital sentence is about to be executed. Mr. Hill has no recourse left but to beg the nation’s highest court to intervene, and we trust and hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear his plea.”

Several individuals and organizations are speaking out against the execution of Warren Hill, including the family of the victim, President Jimmy Carter and Rosalyn Carter, the American Bar Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union. Two amicus briefs in support of Hill’s petition were also filed, including one from the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and another filed by law professors with expertise on habeas corpus. In addition, several jurors who sat on Hill’s original jury have also stated under oath that they believe that life without parole is the appropriate sentence in this case. It was not offered to them as an option at trial in 1991.

The Georgia Department of Corrections announced today that it will get pentobarbital from a compounding pharmacy for the execution, though it is unknown what doctor is writing the prescription for the drug and what pharmacy or pharmacist will mix it. This is because Georgia recently passed a law that makes the name of any person or entity who participates in an execution a “confidential state secret.”

For more information on this case, please read and distribute this recent opinion editorial that appeared in The Atlantic. Please also sign this petition to Georgia’s Governor and Attorney General.

Photo via rawstory.com

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual complaint among men is the erectile disfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as core trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile disfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying soundness conditions that can be very dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile disfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.

Starvin’ For Justice

This past Saturday marked the 41st anniversary of Furman v. Georgia, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the imposition of the death penalty constituted cruel and unusual punishment and violated the Constitution. This case led to a de facto moratorium on capital punishment throughout the United States. Today marks the 37th anniversary of Gregg v. Georgia, in which the Supreme Court voted 7 to 2 that capital punishment did not violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments under all circumstances, therefore reinstating the death penalty.

In remembrance of these critical decisions, supporters of death penalty repeal (including an active supporter of TADP) have gathered in front of the Supreme Court for the past few days in order to raise awareness about the continued injustices of the death penalty and to call for an end to this broken policy. The four day event called “Starvin’ For Justice,” is in its 20th year and nearly 90 people are participating. Some are on a liquid-only fast to demonstrate their opposition to the death penalty and support for repeal.

(Photo of demonstrators in front of Supreme Court via The Blog of Legal Times)

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual complaint among men is the erectile dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as core trouble. Albeit the erectile disfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile disfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health conditions that can be extremely dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile dysfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.