Archive for

2016



Thank you to TADP

Since I began my stint with Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty two and half years ago much has happened in the movement to end capital punishment. The turn of events in a relatively short period – the beginning of 2014 – has been dizzying.

In the first six months on the job, two executions were botched, one in Oklahoma and Arizona, both of which have had massive legal repercussions for each state since then. At the same time, broad conversations were emerging more frequently across the nation. Even pop culture began to take up storylines of wrongful convictions and exonerations. The Serial podcast, Netflix’s Making a Murderer, and Sundance TV’s Rectify all gained critical acclaim and has made these constellation of issues household topics. Bryan Stevenson’s incredible success with Just Mercy (Spiegel & Grau, 2015) has proven not only the timely nature of issues surrounding capital punishment, but also the marketability of such works. For a time, I couldn’t enter a Starbucks without seeing Stevenson’s book displayed at the front counter. Try to recall another book about a weighty policy issue that has been sold in thousands of coffee shops. I’m not sure that there has been one.

I’ve been encouraged by meeting people of all political ideologies that have abandoned the mythology of the death penalty’s effectiveness for public safety. My colleagues at Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty – Heather Beaudoin, Marc Hyden, Ben Jones, and Amy Lawrence (TN) – model how to communicate a difficult matter with grace and hospitality for anyone who will give them a hearing. Furthermore, having seen and heard the changing opinion of Tennessee lawmakers, there is much reason to be hopeful for the near future.

Another area for hope, perhaps from an unlikely source, emerges from evangelicals in Tennessee with whom I’ve shared many conversations. Having traveled from one end of Tennessee to the other, I know how the changing perception of the death penalty is spreading among pastors, university professors and administrators, and especially among millennials. The systemic problems are becoming too big to go unnoticed moving the consciences of many to oppose capital punishment.

The greatest lessons I will take from my time with TADP, however, came from listening to Stacy Rector. Stacy shared with me her experiences as spiritual advisor to the now-deceased Steve Henley, a former death row inmate. Stacy took me to Tennessee’s death row at Riverbend Maximum Security Institute after only six months on the job. The trip made such an impact that I visited an inmate for the next year while I lived in Nashville, which deepened my conviction that “each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done,” as Bryan Stevenson says.

Lastly, Stacy has always encouraged me to sit with the stories of murder victims’ family members and those wrongfully convicted by our justice system. It is impossible to meet these people and not be struck by how violence and retribution are vicious cycles that never contribute to their healing. Even as these meetings were rare for me, I listened for as long as they desired to speak, and I came away changed. It was truly a privilege to hear their stories. While I am going to miss working with everyone connected to TADP on a day-to-day basis, I remain committed to the work that I believe will make Tennessee a more just place. I came to TADP from the classroom, which has been my first love vocationally, and I’m leaving TADP to return to a teaching position here in Knoxville. I will certainly stay involved locally and with TADP to ensure that we honor life by working to abolish capital punishment.

Sincerely,

Justin Phillips, Associate Director

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 disfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as heart trouble. Albeit the erectile disfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying soundness conditions that can be so 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.

Reflections on a Hard Week

I have felt so tired recently. Maybe you have too. It is a tiredness that I feel in my bones, a tiredness that is not likely to go away anytime soon as we continue to deal with the violence and pain of what has transpired over the past week or so.

Of course for too many, particularly for communities of color, this violence isn’t new, just more visible to white people like me. The threat of such violence is a daily reality for black and brown people, and I can only imagine how tired these folks are.

Like you, over the last several days, I have heard the cries and watched the images of the gut-wrenching grief expressed by the families, friends, and communities of two more black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, shot by police. I have stood with a thousand people gathered for a Black Lives Matter vigil and march in Nashville and experienced the pain given voice, legs, hands, and feet there. I know that for far too long, black and brown communities have lived in fear of the very systems that were supposed to protect them. As a white woman, I know that I can never truly understand this experience, but I can stand with and for those who understand it all too well. And, I can challenge those of us who are white to listen, to see, and to work for change .

I also know that the law enforcement community is hurting. The loss of five officers in Dallas—Michael Smith, Michael Krol, Patrick Zamarippa, Brent Thompson, and Lorne Ahrens—as well as the loss of officers killed in other parts of our country is devastating. These killings have left police feeling vulnerable and under attack. These men and women put their lives on the line every day in service to their communities and should not have to live in constant fear either.

So what do we do? I don’t have the answers. But, I am committed to working together towards finding them. The status quo is serving no one. Perhaps these horrible events of the past week can move us, particularly the white community, to further self-reflection and a commitment to change.

As a nation, we have an opportunity now to change our focus and priorities. We can renew our focus on healing traumatized communities where violence is all too common. We can invest more of our energy and resources into addressing the immediate and long-term needs of all crime victims rather than into how to more harshly punish the perpetrators. We can support law enforcement by providing additional resources for training and education and thanking them for their service.  We can recognize, as a people, that meeting violence with more violence does not make us safer but distracts us from how to prevent such violence in the first place.

I am a Presbyterian pastor, and my faith is my primary motivation for my work for justice and an end to the death penalty. I find my greatest comfort and strength, particularly in difficult times, through prayer, Scripture, and the community of faith. This past Sunday, the text for the weekly sermon came from Luke’s gospel, Jesus’ well-known parable of the Good Samaritan. The minister of the church where I worship shared a prayer that he discovered on a blog, with a few of his own tweaks. I found the prayer to be a healing one and want to share a portion with you. I hope you find it healing as well.

“Do not pass me by,” the black life cries, dying on American streets quickly from violent oppression, and slowly from the poverty of inequality. We are neighbors to those in need of justice.

 “Do not pass me by,” the police officer cries, whose hard exterior masks fear and sorrow. We are neighbors to those who risk their lives for our sake.

 “Do not pass me by,” Jesus cries, whose face is reflected in all who are oppressed, victimized, beset by tragedy, and in need.

 We are neighbors to the stranger among us to whom we are called to be radically hospitable. We are neighbors to the world around us to which we are called to share God’s shalom.

 May we go and do likewise.

Peace to you,

Stacy Rector

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong heartiness problem such as soul trouble. Albeit the erectile disfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying heartiness conditions that can be so 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.

Fair Punishment Project Releases Report on the Five Deadliest Prosecutors in America

Last Thursday, Harvard’s Fair Punishment Project released a report ranking the top five deadliest prosecutors in the United States over the past 40 years. The report highlights the link between “overzealous personalities” and death sentencing, providing evidence of a “win at all costs mentality” among the five prosecutors that led to shockingly high rates of misconduct and a grossly disproportional number of death sentences. The five deadliest prosecutors are listed as follows:

#1. Joe Britt (Robeson County, NC)

#2. Robert Macy (Oklahoma County, OK)

#3. Donnie Myers (Lexington, SC)

#4. Lynne Abraham (Philadelphia County, PA)

#5. Johnnie Holmes (Harris County, TX)

All together, the five total at least 440 death sentences, the equivalent of 1 out of every 7 people currently on death row, or 15% of current death row inmates.

The report finds that accompanying the high rates of death sentencing were equally high rates of prosecutorial misconduct as the courts found in 33%, 37%, and 46% of Britt, Macy and Myers’s death cases (alleged misconduct reported as high as 94% credited to Macy). Eight exonerations have also resulted from these cases or cases supervised by these five.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Fair Punishment Project Director Rob Smith commented on the connection between the prosecutors’ aggressive nature and the clear inattention to ethics and regulations: “What’s striking is not just that there a few peculiar personalities that account for so many death sentences, but that their overzealous support for capital punishment comes paired with underzealous commitment to the rules and regulations that promote fairness and accuracy.”

The report also indicates that after four of the prosecutors left office (Holmes remains until 2017), death sentencing rates plummeted in the corresponding jurisdictions, supporting the narrative that the death penalty is disproportionately used among a handful of prosecutors: “Over the past fifteen years, even as death sentences have declined nationally, a small group of individuals continue to drive up the total number of death sentences nationwide, which has contributed to a misperception that the death penalty is a common practice, when in reality, most of America’s prosecutors have abandoned it.”

Perhaps one of the most significant takeaways from the study is the fact that in the U.S., the county where one is tried has equal (if not more) weight on one’s sentence than the crime itself, a condition Justice Stephen Breyer commented on in his dissent in Glossip vs. Gross: “…within a death penalty state, the imposition of the death penalty heavily depends on the county in which a defendant is tried.”  In Tennessee, inmates from Shelby County represent 40% of death row–nearly half–while inmates from Davidson County only represent about 12% of the state’s death row population.  And, in the Death Penalty Information Center’s 2013 report, “The 2% Death Penalty” Shelby County ranked 13th out of the counties responsible for the majority of inmates currently on death row in the nation.

Read the Fair Punishment Project Report 

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 malfunction. 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 disfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying soundness 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.

Questioning the Justice System — A Student’s Perspective

“In the eyes of the law, the core of society is measured by life and death. The law has absolute power in deciding the fate of an individual’s life — this is the death penalty.” This quote is taken from a paper I wrote about the death penalty, focusing on how invaluable every life is, including the lives of individuals on death row—this is when I realized that a change was needed.

I started questioning the role of the criminal justice system after taking a criminal justice course after my sophomore year at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. My whole perspective about the justice system changed. I started to question whether the justice system was actually seeking justice. I especially questioned the law when I learned more about the death penalty. I experienced a range of emotions about this issue that I did not know much about before taking this class. I was shocked at the arbitrary way the law determined whether a person was placed on death row or sentenced to prison for the rest of his/her life. I didn’t understand how our justice system was able to make such a decision. These questions prompted me to change my course of study in college. I focused on psychology and sociology courses, and I am now going to be studying for my Masters in the fall for Forensic and Legal Psychology.

My interest increased when I was fortunate enough to hear Ray Krone — the 100th exonerated person off of death row — speak at the University of Tennessee. I was in awe of his story and how he spoke so eloquently about his time in the system. I could not understand how an innocent man was put on death row and stayed there for years. This only strengthened my opinion that there needed to be change in the law—I wanted the death penalty to be replaced with another alternative, one that was not fatal. This is how I came to be an intern with the Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (TADP).

The more I educate myself on the death penalty and the criminal justice system the more questions I have and the more I believe that change is needed. If you are concerned about problems with the death penalty system, you too can help make a change. Each and every person can help end this broken system. Get involved.

Emma Sims

Intern, TADP

(Photo source: http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/13/health/pfizer-death-penalty-drugs/)

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 claim among men is the erectile dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as core trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile malfunction 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 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.

U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear Two Death Penalty Cases Next Term

On the heels of the 7-1 Foster ruling, reversing a decision by the Georgia Supreme Court that overlooked evidence of racial discrimination in the trial of Timothy Foster, the U.S. Supreme Court recently confirmed that it would review the cases of two African American men on death row in Texas: Duane Buck and Bobby Moore.

Duane Buck was convicted of killing his girlfriend and another man in 1995. During Buck’s trial, his lawyer called a defense witness, psychologist Walter Quijano, who testified that the fact that Buck is black increased his likelihood for future violence. Buck’s current lawyers argue that his defense was ineffective, and his trial was tainted by racial bias as they seek a new sentencing hearing from the court: “Left uncorrected, trial counsel’s injection of explicit racial discrimination into Mr. Buck’s capital sentencing profoundly undermines confidence in the integrity of both Mr. Buck’s death sentence and the criminal justice system over all.”

In 1980, Bobby Moore was convicted of killing a shopkeeper at age 20. Moore, whose IQ was confirmed to be 70 in a lower court, falls within the range of “mild mental retardation,” which should exclude him from the death penalty. But the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the lower court’s determination of Moore’s intellectual disablity using a two-decades old definition of intellectual disability rather than the more current definition used by the lower court. Moore’s defense counsel argues that the use of these outdated standards conflicts with a 2014 Supreme Court ruling which stressed the necessity of using more modern diagnostic standards to determine intellectual disability. Moore’s lawyers also contend that his 35 years in prison (15 of those in solitary confinement) constitute a violation of his 8th Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. However, the Supreme Court is only reviewing the issue of intellectual disability.

These cases, like far too many others, demonstrate the gross inequities and biases that continue to plague the death penalty system. Race, class, mental disability, geography are all factors that often have more bearing on who gets the death penalty than the crime itself.  Such a system cannot be called a just one. How can we trust this system to determine who lives and who dies? We can’t.

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 dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile malfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as core trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile malfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying heartiness 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 malfunction 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.

Pfizer Announces Restrictions on Lethal Injection Drugs

On May 13th, the pharmaceutical company Pfizer officially announced its decision to stop supplying drugs for use in lethal injections. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, “every major pharmaceutical company that produces drugs that have been used in lethal injections has voiced opposition in executions,” meaning Pfizer’s new position effectively closes the final open market source of lethal injection drugs, inevitably impacting correctional agencies nationwide.

Pfizer’s merger with drug company Hospira in September led to this restriction as the company gained control over several products that had previously been used in executions. While this move limits the available supply of drugs, it does not stop the controversial scramble for alternative drug sources.

Ever since the only federally approved factory for sodium thiopental (one of the three approved drugs used in lethal injection) closed in 2009, correctional facilities have gone to great lengths to obtain the drugs. Several states have changed their lethal injection protocols to include other drugs while also resorting to the use of  compounding pharmacies, which are free from FDA oversight, to obtain these drugs. Georgia, Missouri, and Texas have likely relied on compounding pharmacies to acquire the drugs now used in executions.

The “confidentiality” laws enacted by many states, including Tennessee, also allow the states to keep their sources hidden from the public. The New York Times reports that a majority of states with the death penalty impose secrecy around their drug sources in order to protect those sources from “violence from death penalty opponents.” However, Robert Durham of the Death Penalty Information Center contends that this reason is nothing be a smokescreen, saying: “The secrecy is not designed to protect the manufacturers, it is designed to keep the manufacturers in the dark about misuse of their products.”

Read more:

Pfizer’s New Position

History of Botched Executions,

 

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 disfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as core trouble. Albeit the erectile disfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health conditions that can be so 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.

U.S. Supreme Court Calls Out Racial Bias in the Jury Selection Process of Georgia Death Row Inmate Timothy Foster

On Monday morning, the Supreme Court overturned the conviction and sentence of Georgia death row inmate, Timothy Foster, in a 7-1 decision based on racial bias in the jury selection process for his trial.  Timothy Foster was a poor black youth tried for the murder of a white woman in Georgia in 1987. In the jury selection process, the prosecution struck all of the potential African American jurors from the jury, a practice which is unconstitutional but hard to prove as other reasons are often given for the strikes. After seating an all-white jury in the case, the prosecution urged them to sentence Foster to death to “deter other people out there in the projects,” referring to the the housing projects in Rome, GA, were Timothy Foster grew up, which were 90% black at the time. The jury obliged and gave Foster the death sentence.

A 2010 review of the jury selection process in eight Southern states (including Tennessee) by Equal Justice Initiative found evidence of racial discrimination in jury selection in every one of those states; a 2012 North Carolina study found eligible black jurors struck at twice the rate of whites; and a 2003 Louisiana study found it was three times the rate.

In 2006, through an open records request, the Southern Center for Human Rights obtained the prosecution’s notes from jury selection in Foster’s 1987 trial. The notes eliminated any doubt that the strikes were based on race.

According to an op-ed by Stephen Bright, senior counsel and president at the Southern Center for Human Rights, “in the notes, the prosecutors demarcated the black jurors’ names at least six different ways, including marking the names of black prospective jurors with a “B,” highlighting them in green, and circling the word “black” next to the “race” question on the juror questionnaires of black prospective jurors. The notes revealed that the prosecutors ranked the black potential jurors against one another and included all of them as the first names on their list of “Definite NOs” — potential jurors who would definitely be struck.”

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the racial discrimination at play in this case, though Georgia’s state courts had refused to do so. Chief Justice Roberts weighed in on the decision:

This discrimination became apparent only because we obtained the prosecution’s notes, which revealed their intent to discriminate.  Usually that does not happen.  The practice of discriminating in striking juries continues in courtrooms across the country. Usually courts ignore patterns of race discrimination and accept false reasons for the strikes. Even after the undeniable evidence of discrimination was presented in this case, the Georgia courts ignored it and upheld Foster’s conviction and death sentence.

But what about all the other Timothy Fosters out there? The discovery of prosecutors’ notes rarely happens. Still there is little doubt that such bias in jury selection is pervasive, as shown by the numerous studies referenced. Such bias and exclusion delegitimize the process and serve as a way to stack the deck in favor of the prosecution since prosecutors believe that all-white juries are more likely to convict and sentence defendants to death than racially diverse juries.

Monday’s decision won’t end racial bias and discrimination in jury selection. But, it is an acknowledgement of what many of us have known for a long time. The process continues to be unfair and racially biased. Under such circumstances, how can we possibly continue to utilize the death penalty?

Read More

Racial Discrimination in Tennessee’s Jury Selection Process 

Additional Study: Illegal race discrimination in jury selection

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 malfunction can be the symptom a strong health 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 soundness conditions that can be highly 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.

Texas Death Row Inmate with Strong Innocence Claims Dies Three Days Before Appeal

Another possibly innocent man has died on death row.

On April 24th, Max Soffar, age 60, passed away from liver cancer after 35 years on Texas’s death row. Soffar confessed after an illegal three-day interrogation and was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of three people in a Houston bowling alley. Soffar suffered from brain damage from fetal alcohol syndrome, had a mental illness, and a drug addiction. Furthermore, there was neither DNA evidence nor witnesses tying Soffar to the crime scene.

In fact, there was convincing evidence that an alternative suspect committed the murders, TN death row inmate Paul Reid, who himself died of natural causes on Tennessee’s death row a few years ago. Several nights before the murders, there were reports of a man threatening to kill everyone in the bowling alley after being thrown out of it. A witness later identified him as Paul Reid. Further evidence implicating Reid included his past residency in Texas, another ID by a witness at the scene of the crime, and the fact that the murders Reid was convicted of committing in Tennessee fit a similar pattern to the Texas murders.

Soffar was granted a retrial in 2004 because of ineffective assistance of counsel in his 1981 trial. He filed to dismiss the charges because of the outdated evidence, but the courts placed the blame for the delay on his appeals, though prosecutors had participated in delaying the proceedings for over two decades.

His final appeal date was scheduled for April 27th.

The case of Max Soffar is a heart-breaking example of a system where process often trumps justice. Brian Still, one of Soffar’s attorneys, commented on the death penalty saying:

It distorts the process, destroys the promise of a jury of peers (because only those willing to hand down a death sentence can serve), diverts resources badly needed to separate the guilty from the innocent, and needlessly risks the only thing worse than the nightmare my friend endured for 35 years.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Sam Turpen, Intern TADP

Read the full story

 

 

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 health problem such as soul trouble. Albeit the erectile malfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health conditions that can be so 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.

Michael Rimmer Found Guilty Again

On Saturday, a Memphis jury found Michael Rimmer guilty again and sentenced him to death for the third time. He was originally sentenced to death in 1998 for the murder of Ricci Ellsworth, who disappeared from her job as a night clerk in a Memphis hotel in 1997. He was resentenced to death in 2004.

USA Today wrote an in depth piece on Rimmer’s case in 2011, reporting that Shelby County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Henderson withheld critical evidence from the defense of a very credible witness who saw two different men at the bloody crime scene on the night of Ellsworth’s disappearance —not Michael Rimmer.

In 2012, Judge James Beasley overturned Rimmer’s conviction and sentence, granting him a new trial. The Judge wrote in his order that “Henderson’s assertions in the 1998 and 2004 cases that ‘he knew of no evidence exonerating or exculpating (Rimmer)’ were blatantly false, inappropriate, and ethically questionable.”

Still, even with the evidence of these alternative suspects at the crime scene, the jury determined that the evidence against Rimmer was enough to find him guilty again. Because Rimmer did not provide any mitigating evidence during sentencing, the jury sentenced him to death again as well.

On May 6, the Commercial Appeal reported that Ricci Ellsworth’s family members, though “completely for the death penalty,” were hoping that with this retrial the case “would be over for good.” The family conceded that life without parole would suffice as they wanted to avoid the opportunity for further appeals.

Sadly, the family did not get what they wanted.  Instead, Michael Rimmer will now begin the appeals process all over again because he received another death sentence. If the death penalty had not been an option, the Ellsworth family might have been able to get some legal finality after nearly 20 years of waiting, but with the death sentence handed down again, they won’t.

This case demonstrates just how dysfunctional the death penalty system has become. Because the prosecution withheld critical evidence for years–evidence which obviously wasn’t enough to keep a jury from finding Rimmer guilty–a new trial was needed to be sure a jury got all the facts. And, if the state had not pursued death again, the Ellsworth family would likely have gotten what they hoped for–life without parole and legal finality. The state would have saved millions, given that capital trials are at least twice as expensive as noncapital trials (Tennessee Comptrollers Report, 2004), never mind the savings on the appeals.

Instead, taxpayers are on the hook for the cost of three capital trials in just this one case, and the process starts all over again.

Who does the death penalty system serve here? Who benefits from yet another death sentence in this case? Not the Ellsworth family. Not Tennessee taxpayers. No one.

 

 

 

 

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 claim among men is the erectile dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as core trouble. Albeit the erectile malfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health conditions that can be so 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.

The Big Payback is Here!

Support TADP through The Big Payback today!

Last year TADP raised $4,000 through The Big Payback, and we hope to top that number this year!

The Big Payback is a 24-hour, on-line giving event to increase philanthropy in the 40 counties served by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. The goal is to inspire Tennesseans to come together and contribute to the life-changing work of local non-profits like TADP.

You can make a donation by filling by clicking the Big Payback logo at the top of the screen. The event ends at midnight so time is short!

We hope you will consider making a spring gift to TADP.

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 malfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as heart 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 so dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile malfunction 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.