Tennessee Death Penalty News

Started by Jeff1857, April 10, 2008, 02:24:02 AM

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gabmat


its from an antis site but its the case information


And I am sure that you have a lot more information that makes this anti site look bad in this case. As in most cases, only SOME facts are released to the public. Only people closely involved get to see all the facts. I think all the "intimate" facts that Grandmother of Brandon has posted here is a very good example of this.

Mildred


That's so sad. Donnie was your father? Sorry if my questions are too direct. I am just trying to get the information the fastest way I can.


Don't worry about it at all!  Im totally cool with talking about it. 

He's not my natural father.  He was my "stepfather"  Technically, he legally adopted me.

Granny B

Cyn, you've been waiting 10 years longer than we have for justice to be done in your case.  Here's hoping your party occurs sooner than ours does.  I'll have a couple of Margaritas on that one too!

Grandmother of Brandon
" Closure? Closure is a misused word in the English language.  There is no such thing as closure for the family of a murder victim.  There will never be any closure for the death of our loved ones until we are dead ourselves.  The families have a lifetime sentence of anguish and sadness." 
Susan Levy

Mildred


Cyn, you've been waiting 10 years longer than we have for justice to be done in your case.  Here's hoping your party occurs sooner than ours does.  I'll have a couple of Margaritas on that one too!

Grandmother of Brandon


THANKS~!

Jeff1857

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Did you know that its a state law that Tennessee judges have one year to rule on a death penalty appeal?

If you didn't, don't feel bad, because it's a law that has been ignored by judges for more than a decade.

When attorneys for convicted killer Paul Reid filed an appeal for his death sentence, by law, judges have one year to make a decision.


Reid appealed the decision in April of 2003. The judge is still waiting for paperwork, but Reid isn't the exception, he is the rule.

"I think the general public and victims particularly feel like this is hypocrisy," said Death Penalty Commissioner Verna Wyatt.

It's not that it usually takes the judge more than a year to settle an appeal, because no judge has ever decided an appeal in less than a year in the law's 13-year history.

Some of the members of the new Death Penalty Commission are wondering why a law passed in 1995 has been completely ignored.

"I'm willing to listen to the judges and those who are involved to tell us why it can't be done. But as you look at the cases and see that sometimes it takes seven, eight, nine years, there is no way that it should take that long and that the victim's family should have to wait and wait for justice to be done," said state Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville.

Judges and post-conviction defense attorneys said the one-year time limit is ridiculous.

"It's a question between promptness and fairness. Hitler ran the railroad on time. If that's what you want, if you want to have a system that gives no justice, no fairness, in which there is no way to check to see if an innocent person is convicted, then sure, one year is fine. But none of us would want to participate in that system," said post-conviction defender Donald Dawson.

But for victims family members like Verna Wyatt, it looks like death penalty cases are going to the bottom of the stack.

"They are either dragging their feet because they don't believe in the death penalty, or they don't care and it looks really arrogant. It looks very arrogant," she said.

The status of death penalty cases was put on paper for the first time in the law's history on Thursday.

http://www.wsmv.com/news/17054522/detail.html?rss=nash&psp=news

Granny B

"But for victims family members like Verna Wyatt, it looks like death penalty cases are going to the bottom of the stack.

"They are either dragging their feet because they don't believe in the death penalty, or they don't care and it looks really arrogant. It looks very arrogant," she said."


Amen to that. >:(

Funny how judges seem to be immune from the laws, when they expect us to know and follow the law to the T.   ???

Here's hoping that shining a light on this matter will start speeding things up.   :-X
" Closure? Closure is a misused word in the English language.  There is no such thing as closure for the family of a murder victim.  There will never be any closure for the death of our loved ones until we are dead ourselves.  The families have a lifetime sentence of anguish and sadness." 
Susan Levy

Jeff1857

NASHVILLE -- Members of a legislative committee tasked with studying the death penalty in Tennessee are considering a bill that would create an independent legal commission to oversee capital cases.

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade and newly appointed Chief Justice Janice Holder meet with the committee today to offer their opinions about the proposal.

Holder said the state's highest court was asked to consider creating a similar agency in 2004. They declined but "left the door open."

Holder said the court doesn't have an opinion on a commission that would provide training for attorneys in capital cases and extra funding for defense attorneys who represent indigent clients.

But she said the court was reluctant to go forward without additional funding.

More details as they develop online and in Wednesday's News Sentinel.

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2008/sep/09/committee-considering-death-penalty-commission/?partner=RSS
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Tennessee really needs to get rolling again too.

Granny B

"But she said the court was reluctant to go forward without additional funding."

The Halleleujah play.  Give us more money and we will fix it.  Maybe.  Kinda.  Sorta.  Oh hell, just give us more money to waste!  ::)
" Closure? Closure is a misused word in the English language.  There is no such thing as closure for the family of a murder victim.  There will never be any closure for the death of our loved ones until we are dead ourselves.  The families have a lifetime sentence of anguish and sadness." 
Susan Levy

JeffB

Committee offers plan to improve death penalty system

TENNESSEE
A legislative committee studying the death penalty in Tennessee has recommended the creation of an authority to help make sure cases are handled fairly and efficiently.

The committee was created last year after the state legislature decided the death penalty system in Tennessee needed to be examined for fairness and accuracy.


On Monday, the committee approved a resolution that asks lawmakers to create a statewide authority whose duties would include identifying lawyers experienced in capital cases, raising the standard pay for such attorneys, and monitoring their caseloads.

Thomas Lee, a local attorney on the committee, said such an authority would help ensure that "trials are done right the first time."

Rep. Kent Coleman, a Murfreesboro Democrat and co-chairman of the committee, said the panel will probably meet one more time this month before presenting its report to the governor and lawmakers.

-- ASSOCIATED PRESS
"SO SUCK IT YOU "BLUE COOLER" DOPE!"  -  Sylar24

Jeff1857

Tennessee's death penalty needs major reform to ensure that people facing execution get fair trials, said members of a legislative study committee which just ended 16 months of analyzing how capital crimes are prosecuted in this state.



The study committee, which included people for and against the death penalty, was asked to look for ways to make capital punishment more fairly and accurately applied across the state.

Four bills related to the recommendations have been introduced and are sponsored by the committee's chairmen, Sen. Doug Jackson, D-Dickson, and Rep. Kent Coleman, D-Murfreesboro.

The committee wants the state legislature to:

Require defense attorneys in capital cases to be highly qualified;

Mandate that defense attorneys have uniform access to evidence against their clients;

Require police officers to record all interrogations related to a homicide case;

Force the state to set realistic timetables for litigating capital cases so families are not revictimized by decades of appeals.

"This is not about trying to get a guilty defendant off," Jackson said. "This is about creating a process that is as fair as possible and as accurate as possible. It's about convicting the guilty, exonerating the innocent and having a trial as perfect as it can possibly be."

Jackson, a co-chairman of the committee, is in favor of the death penalty. He lost a first cousin to a brutal murder, he said, and he believes her killer belongs on death row, where he is sitting. But Jackson says there are many reasons to reform the system that sends offenders to the death chamber, and he believes the costliest recommendation, the $8 million creation of an independent authority to oversee defense of those facing death row, is most important.

Though similar committees in some states like Maryland and New Jersey have recommended their states abolish the death penalty, Tennessee's committee looked only at how to make the system more fair and accurate.



The state executed Steve Henley on Feb. 4 by injection, the first execution by that method since U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger ruled in September 2007 that the three-drug lethal injection process was cruel and unusual. Trauger barred the state from using that method, but the state is appealing that ruling. For coverage of Steve Henley's execution, click here.

Charles Strobel, an advocate for the homeless who represented Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights on the committee, said it's a major concern that virtually all death row inmates are indigent.

"The state of Tennessee has no margin for error," Strobel said. "Death is a different sentence. We must be 100 percent fair and accurate."

He called upon elected officials to declare a moratorium on the death penalty, saying there are too many unresolved issues.

Second study sought

The committee also passed a resolution asking the state to commission another, more extensive study of the issues they didn't tackle, among them the record keeping related to capital cases, whether mentally ill defendants should face the death penalty and how to better serve the families of murder victims.

"I think my biggest surprise, though I had an idea, is that the death penalty is a very expensive process," said Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville. "It has to be in order to get the right verdict, but I don't think the average taxpayer knows what it costs to seek this penalty."

Neither does the state, according to the report. The comptroller's office testified that no effective way exists to track the costs of capital punishment cases to the state.



Dunn hopes the bills recommended by the committee will be passed by the full General Assembly this year.

"Obviously, in politics, you never know what people will do to score points and make a point," Dunn said. "We hope they'll look at the time and effort we put in, and I think most people will agree we will have a better system if we pass this legislation."

Two members of the committee voted against the final draft of the report on Thursday, citing opposition to the costly recommendation of creating an independent authority to oversee the representation of suspects facing the death penalty, starting with their trials.

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20090220/NEWS03/902200376/-1/rss05

Jeff1857


The Tennessee Department of Correction says its executions will now be carried out three hours earlier.

Corrections Commissioner Gayle Ray said Monday that after June 1 state executions will take place at 10 p.m. instead of 1 a.m.

She says the decision was made in consideration of crime victim's families, prison staff and the general public.

Ray says a survey of 16 states with the death penalty show that most of them have set their executions earlier than midnight.

The last execution in Tennessee was in December when 53-year-old Cecil Johnson was put to death for killing three people while robbing a Nashville convenience store. He was officially declared dead at 1:34 a.m.

http://www.wbir.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=115203&provider=rss

heidi salazar

Excellent news 2 am was late for me.  :)

vikkiw47

Well that is better for sure but they could have went even earlier in my opinion
Justice is not about bringing back the dead. It is not about revenge either. Justice is about enforcing consequences for one's own actions to endorse personal responsibility. We cannot expect anyone to take responsibility for their own actions if these consequences are not enforced in full.

Anne

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20100523/NEWS03/5230372/1017/NEWS01

TN may execute 4 death row inmates in next year
Delays on death row trouble some

By Clay Carey THE TENNESSEAN May 23, 2010

Tennessee could execute four death row inmates in the next year.

If that happens, it would mark the first time the state has executed that many inmates in a single 12-month period in more than 50 years.

The state attorney general's office asked the Tennessee Supreme Court to set execution dates for Gaile Owens, Stephen Michael West and Billy Ray Irick. A request to execute Edward J. Harbison is expected soon.

All were convicted in the 1980s. For some of their victims' families, the delays have been excruciating.

"It's been awful to wait that long," said Kate Campbell of Andersonville, Tenn.

West was convicted in 1987 of murdering Campbell's sister-in-law and niece. The mother and daughter, ages 51 and 15, were stabbed to death.

"It was awful the way they had to die," said Campbell, 85. "I think everybody ought to be punished for what they do wrong.''

Some opponents of capital punishment and death penalty experts said the pace of executions in 2010 could well become the rule, not the exception.

"It's a definite possibility given the numbers we have on our death row and how long some of them have been there," said Stacy Rector, an ordained minister and executive director of Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

There are 89 inmates awaiting execution in Ten-nessee, making the state's death row the 10th largest in the country. Nearly 40 percent of Tennessee's death row inmates have been there at least 20 years.

Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons said the capital punishment appeals process is rife with delays that affect its effectiveness as a deterrent to crime.

"A lot of people who are facing the death penalty feel in their own minds they can ride it out for 25 or 30 years," Gibbons said.

Knoxville prosecutor Randy Nichols won one of the state's first capital convictions after the death penalty was reinstated in 1977. He believes the legal process allows expensive appeals to languish too long.

"It has an effect on victims," Nichols said. "They ask, 'Why has it been like this?' It's impossible to explain that."

Nichols believes the state should consider a more streamlined appeals process that would move cases through more quickly.

Others fear that could lead to the execution of innocent people.

In 1996, the federal Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act set new restrictions and time limits for federal appeals on capital cases. Reforms are needed, most say.

Procedural obstacles in the legal system often prevent the courts from reviewing errors made during trials, generating more lawsuits that take more time to resolve, said Bradley MacLean, a law professor and attorney with the federal Office of the Post-Conviction Defender, which represents death row inmates.









Anne

Anne

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20100523/NEWS03/5230376/-1/nsitemapXML/Upcoming-Executions

Upcoming Executions

May 23, 2010

Once a prisoner has exhausted his or her legal appeals, it falls to the Tennessee Supreme Court to set an execution date for that inmate.

GAILE OWENS

The crime: Owens, 57, was convicted of hiring a man to kill her husband, Ron Owens, in Memphis. Ron Owens was beaten to death in 1985. Sidney Porterfield, the hitman, also is on death row.

The defense: Owens' supporters say she should have been allowed to plead guilty in exchange for life in prison in 1985. She also had said she suffered from battered woman syndrome.

Went to death row: February 1986
Related

    * TN may execute 4 death row inmates in the next year

Execution: Owens' execution has been set for Sept. 28.

STEPHEN MICHAEL WEST

The crime: West, 47, and another man were arrested in Union County in 1986 for kidnapping and killing Wanda Romines, 51, and her 15-year-old daughter, Sheila Romines. The women were stabbed to death. West also was convicted of raping Sheila Romines.

The defense: West admitted in court to being present when the crimes were committed but denied participation. He made several claims in his appeals. Among them: that his lawyers were ineffective because they didn't bring up in court West's history of abuse at the hands of his parents.

Went to death row: March 1987

Execution: The state attorney general requested an execution date late last month. A date has not been set.

BILLY RAY IRICK

The crime: Irick, 51, was arrested for raping and killing a 7-year-old girl he had been babysitting in Knox County in 1985.

The defense: On appeal, Irick accused prosecutors of withholding evidence and making improper statements to jurors in his case. He raised other issues also. The state Supreme Court ruled that a prosecutor's comments about the death penalty during his trial were inappropriate but that it wasn't serious enough to warrant overturning his sentence.

Went to death row: December 1986

Execution: The state attorney general requested an execution date last week. A date has not been set.

EDWARD J. HARBISON

The crime: Harbison, 54, was convicted in 1983 of beating Edith Russell to death with a marble vase after she walked in on him and another man robbing her Hamilton County home.

The defense: In his appeal, Harbison claimed his trial attorneys didn't do a good job of representing him and that police files that could have helped him weren't made available. He later challenged the state's lethal injection protocol.

Went to death row: October 1985

Execution: Harbison's execution was originally scheduled for October 2006. His execution date was changed three times in 2006 and 2007 because of legal challenges. He ultimately lost those, though his challenge of the lethal injection process did result in a short moratorium on executions in 2007. The state has not yet requested an execution date for Harbison. But in March the U.S. Supreme Court, the last outlet for judicial relief, declined to hear his appeal.

-- CLAY CAREY










Anne

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