Recent Posts

Pages1 2 3 ... 10
Arizona Death Penalty News / Re: Arizona Death Penalty News
Last post by jack313 - July 24, 2017, 07:58:52 PM
The article got it wrong. Texas doesn't have the largest death row. That dubious distinction would go to the great state of California.
Arizona Death Penalty News / Re: Arizona Death Penalty News
Last post by turboprinz - July 24, 2017, 06:21:12 PM
Condemned to Death -- And Solitary Confinement
Arizona is set to become the latest state to move away from automatic isolation for death row inmates.

Arizona death row inmate Scott Nordstrom lives alone in a room smaller than a parking space. He's allowed to leave his cell a few times each week to shower or exercise alone in a similarly-sized mesh cage and is forbidden from making physical contact with visitors from the outside.

But that is set to change this month as the Arizona Department of Corrections is expected to announce a major shift in housing for the state's 118 condemned inmates. Under current policy, death row inmates are automatically and indefinitely placed in solitary confinement until their execution dates, regardless of their behavior or risk to others. Soon, inmates with clear disciplinary records -- including Nordstrom -- will be moved to an area that allows for more out-of-cell time, visits in the same room with family and friends, outdoor group recreation and better job opportunities, according to a recent court settlement.

In 2015, Nordstrom, who was sentenced to death in 1998 for his role in six fatal shootings connected to a pair of robberies in Tucson, filed a federal lawsuit claiming that Arizona's death row conditions violated his constitutional rights. The state settled the suit in March and was given 120 days to institute a new policy, although no changes have been announced to date. Arizona corrections officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Arizona will become the latest of several states to lift restrictions on death row inmates. In recent years, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Nevada, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia have allowed condemned inmates to have more time out of their cells, and in some cases, eat meals and exercise with other inmates and hold jobs.

Still, the mandatory use of prolonged isolation for death row inmates is widespread in the U.S. Of the nation's 2,900 condemned inmates, 70 percent are automatically held alone in cells for more than 20 hours per day, according to a Marshall Project survey of state corrections officials. Sixty-five percent are held alone for more than 22 hours a day.

In Florida, where death row inmates are held alone in their cells for up to 23 hours a day, nine prisoners have filed a federal lawsuit challenging their housing conditions. A state corrections spokesperson said the department was reviewing the lawsuit.

Nordstrom's lawsuit argued that the mandatory use of solitary confinement on Arizona's death row violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. He also claimed that because the state didn't provide him with the chance to challenge his housing placement, his right to due process was infringed. The state's new policy "doesn't mandate softer treatment of death sentence inmates," said Sam Kooistra, staff counsel at the Arizona Capital Representation Project, which represented Nordstrom. "It just means they get treated more like non-death sentence inmates do."

Earlier this year at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, prison officials loosened the rules on death row one month before three condemned inmates filed a federal class action lawsuit claiming that conditions were in "severe denial of human fundamental needs." Starting in February, officials have allowed inmates four hours out of their cell per day -- two hours after breakfast and two after lunch -- as well as educational programming and group activities. Before, death row inmates were held alone in windowless cells for 23 hours per day and were allowed outside to exercise three times per week in unshaded "outdoor pens [that] resemble dog cages," the suit reads.

Louisiana Department of Corrections spokesman Ken Pastorick called the recent policy changes a "great success," saying there has been only one fight between condemned inmates since February.

Michael Taylor, a death row inmate who spent the past 16 years in solitary confinement at Angola, welcomed the new freedoms. "Emotionally, it was brutal. You lose a part of yourself -- your mannerisms being around another person," said Taylor, who was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in the 1999 shooting death of a Shreveport car salesman. "So far, it's been great just having fellowship, just being around people."

Betsy Ginsberg, one of the Angola inmates' lawyers, said the class action lawsuit will continue despite the recent improvements to ensure conditions are "constitutionally adequate, properly implemented, and permanent."

Virginia prison officials also lifted restrictions on death row in 2015 after a similar lawsuit. Condemned inmates now share an outdoor recreation unit, are allowed contact visits with approved visitors, and can congregate in small groups. Previously, condemned inmates spent about 23 hours a day alone in a small cell, were banned from recreation facilities used by other inmates, and were separated from visitors by a plexiglass wall. As in Louisiana, the Virginia death row inmates' suit continues because prison officials have not guaranteed that the previous policy will never be reinstated.

The use of solitary confinement has received increased scrutiny in recent years as mounting research points to its devastating impact on inmates' mental and physical health. One study found that those who spend time in solitary are seven times more likely to harm themselves than other inmates. In a 2015 opinion in a case involving a death row inmate, Supreme Court Anthony Kennedy raised concerns about the long-term use of solitary confinement, writing, "Years on end of near-total isolation exacts a terrible price."

On death row, many inmates languish in isolation for years, even decades, waiting for their execution dates through lengthy legal appeals and other delays.

In Texas, which has the largest death row in the country by far at 542 inmates, condemned prisoners spend up to 23 hours a day alone in an 8 x 12 foot cell with virtually no human contact or exposure to natural light. Some inmates are so desperate that several have even "volunteered" to be put to death -- they dropped their appeals in order to reach their execution date sooner, according to an April report from the University of Texas School of Law. The report concluded that the "harsh and inhumane" conditions on Texas' death row amount to a form of torture.

Until 1999, condemned inmates in Texas received treatment similar to other inmates. Prison officials instituted mandatory solitary confinement on death row after seven inmates attempted to escape their cells; one was successful.

Some corrections officials have defended the mandatory use of solitary confinement on death row as a necessary security measure to prevent escape attempts and to protect the prison from dangerous inmates who have little incentive to play by the rules. But inmate lawsuits have pointed to research showing that condemned inmates are no more violent than other prisoners.

Prison officials in at least two states that have ended automatic solitary on death row say the change in policy has improved security, if anything.

In North Carolina, which moved death row inmates into the general population more than a decade ago, officials say condemned inmates tend to have better behavioral records than other inmates, with rare incidents of violence, and that they have integrated well. "Part of the reason that works is that they are not isolated 23 hours each day," Kenneth Lassiter, the state director of prisons, told Yale researchers last year.

Similarly, in Missouri, two studies have shown that rates of prison violence went down after death row inmates were integrated into the general population more than 30 years ago. The state also reported a decrease in costs associated with death row housing.

Generally, holding inmates in solitary confinement is much more expensive than keeping them in the general population. In Illinois, for example, it costs $60,000 a year to house a prisoner in the state's only supermax facility compared to an average of $22,000 for inmates in other prisons, according to one estimate.

Other corrections officials remain convinced that the use of mandatory solitary confinement on death row is worth the cost. "Offenders on death row are individuals who have been convicted of heinous crimes and given the harshest sentence possible under the law," said Jason Clark, spokesperson for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said in an email. "TDCJ will continue to ensure it fulfills its mission of public safety and house death row offenders appropriately."
Stays of Execution / Re: Taichin Preyor - TX - 7/20...
Last post by turboprinz - July 24, 2017, 04:28:40 PM
as of "scheduled executions" TX TDC  --> 07/27/2017 executon date  --please move to the other forum
Texas Death Penalty News / TX Faces of Death Row - filter...
Last post by turboprinz - July 17, 2017, 08:51:31 PM

Here is a look at the 235 inmates currently on Texas' death row. Texas, which reinstated the death penalty in 1976, has the most active execution chamber in the nation. On average, these inmates have spent 14 years, 9 months on death row. Though 12 percent of the state's residents are black, 43 percent of death row inmates are.

Texas Death Penalty News / Re: Texas Death Penalty News
Last post by turboprinz - July 17, 2017, 08:46:43 PM
Texan on death row will face parole review instead of execution

For the second time in a week, a Texas death row inmate had his sentenced tossed out. Robert Campbell, 44, has been on death row for nearly 25 years in a Houston kidnapping and murder.
May 10, 2017

A Texas man on death row for almost 25 years will now face parole review instead of an execution date. The Texas Attorney General's office tossed a death sentence Wednesday for a long-serving occupant of Texas' death row in light of a March U.S. Supreme Court ruling on intellectual disability and capital punishment.

It was the second time in a week the sentence of one of the state's death row inmate's was reduced.

Robert James Campbell, 44, was convicted and sentenced to death for the January 1991 abduction and murder of Alejandra Rendon in Houston. Campbell kidnapped Rendon, a bank teller, from a gas station before raping and killing her, according to a statement from the Harris County District Attorney's Office on the change of sentence.

In a recent appeal, Campbell claimed that he was not eligible for the death penalty because he is intellectually disabled. Campbell's tested IQ was 69, according to a court advisory announcing the sentence change.

Also impacting Wednesday's decision was the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in March in favor of a Texas death row inmate, Bobby Moore, that invalidated the state's long-standing method of determining if a death-sentenced inmate was intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible for execution. The ruling called into question multiple death sentences, some of which are decades old. (Moore's case is still winding through lower courts.)

After the state psychologist's review and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the Texas Attorney General's Office decided that pursuing the punishment "would not serve the interests of justice."

Now, Campbell will be resentenced to life in prison, which also means he will become immediately eligible for parole. In 1991, a punishment of life without parole did not exist in Texas, and parole became eligible after 15 years, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. But District Attorney Kim Ogg said she will file formal protests at any parole hearings and do everything in her power to keep Campbell in prison for the rest of his life.

"In unison with his victims and their families, we will do everything we can to see that he serves every second of his life sentence," Ogg said in a statement.

Rendon's family was disappointed in the change of sentence, but accepted the decisions made by Texas and the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a statement sent by Rendon's cousin, Israel Santana.

"We truly believe that justice would have been properly served with his execution ... At this point, we can only hope and pray that Robert James Campbell spends the rest of his living years behind bars, and himself seeks forgiveness from our God Almighty," Santana wrote.

Last week, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals vacated the death sentence of Pedro Solis Sosa, who has lived on death row for more than 32 years. He will also become eligible for parole.
World Death Penalty Discussion / Re: Japan death penalty news
Last post by turboprinz - July 15, 2017, 09:45:23 PM
Japan executes two inmates, including one who appealed for a retrial
Jul 13, 2017

Japan hanged two death-row inmates Thursday morning, including a man convicted of multiple murders who had reportedly been seeking a retrial, the Justice Ministry said.

Masakatsu Nishikawa, one of the two executed prisoners, had filed an appeal for a retrial. Nishikawa, 61, was convicted of murdering four female bar managers in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, in 1991.

The other executed inmate was Koichi Sumida, 34, who was sentenced to death in February 2013 by the Okayama District Court for killing his former colleague, Misa Kato, 27, a temp staff worker on Sept. 30, 2011.

Justice Minister Katsutoshi Kaneda ordered the executions, which were the 18th and 19th carried out since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned to power in December 2012.

The previous execution, the first ordered by Kaneda, was carried out last November, when a man was hanged for killing two women in Kumamoto Prefecture.

Kaneda told a news conference following the 2016 execution that the punishment was meted out for "an extremely cruel case in which the precious lives of the victims were taken for selfish purposes. I gave the order after careful consideration."

In October 2016, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations issued a declaration calling for the abolition of capital punishment and the introduction of life sentences without parole by 2020.

Kaneda has expressed opposition to the idea, saying, "A majority of Japanese citizens believe the death penalty is inevitable against heinous crimes."

According to human rights organization Amnesty International, 141 countries legally or effectively abolished capital punishment as of the end of 2016. In 2016, 23 countries or regions, including Japan, executed inmates.

Amnesty protested against the execution of the two inmates later Thursday.

"Cautious examination was necessary under the capital punishment system, as a nation takes away people's lives," Amnesty said in a statement, referring to the case of Nishikawa, who had filed a plea for a retrial. "For fair judgment, an opportunity for retrial should be secured," it said.

Addressing Sumida's situation, Amnesty pointed out that his dropping the case automatically led to the ruling. "Under the current system, even if the case has a problem in the process of investigation and indictment, the problem is overlooked when the suspect withdraws the case," the organization continued. "The execution (of the two inmates) lacks a view to secure the right for fair judgment."
Cases to Watch / Re: Jessica Chambers in Panola...
Last post by Observer - July 13, 2017, 04:35:35 PM
15 Jul 2015

The man who stands accused of dousing 19-year-old Jessica Chambers, a Courtland teenager, with flammable liquid and setting her ablaze along a lonely road in 2014,  entered a plea of not guilty Friday in DeSoto County Circuit Court. The alleged crime occurred in Panola County but the presiding judge in the case, Circuit Judge Gerald Chatham, heard the plea on Friday in Hernando. Chatham serves as Circuit Judge of the 17th Judicial District.

Wearing a standard, jail-issue bright yellow jumpsuit and speaking softly as he approached the bench, 27-year-old Quinton Verdell Tellis entered the not guilty plea through his attorney. The case has drawn national attention and Tellis faced a phalanx of television and still photographers inside the courtroom and outside as Tellis was hustled back to the DeSoto County Adult Detention Center facility where he has been housed since extradition proceedings from Louisiana, where he was being held on another charge in connection with the alleged stabbing death of another young woman. In that unrelated case, he was charged with the unauthorized use of the woman's debit card, which Louisiana prosecutors allege was obtained through robbery.

Chambers was discovered on Dec. 6, 2014, barely alive after being set on fire near her car on rural Herron Road in Panola County. She would carry the identity of her alleged killer with her to the grave. A special grand jury in Panola County charged Tellis with capital murder in the death of Chambers while "in commission of the crime of third-degree arson." Tellis is also charged as a habitual offender due to past convictions in Panola involving two burglary cases.

His voice cracking with emotion, Jessica Chamber's father, Ben Chambers, said his family has leaned heavily on their Christian faith to enable them to get through the ordeal. It's that same faith that will see them through the trial of his daughter's alleged killer, according to Chambers. "I hope everything works out," Ben Chambers said after being escorted out the rear of the courthouse by armed deputies. "I know it will. I am a man of faith. The best law enforcement in the world has worked on this case -- I can tell you that."
Cases to Watch / Re: Jessica Chambers in Panola...
Last post by Observer - July 13, 2017, 04:32:14 PM
24 Feb 2016

Mississippi prosecutors charged the man suspected of burning to death 19-year-old Jessica Chambers with capital murder -- a charge that has the possibility of the death penalty. Panola County District Attorney John Champion announced the charges against Quinton Verdell Tellis, 27, at a press conference Wednesday morning held by investigators who worked on the case for the past 14 hours and were baffled by the scarcity of information on the mysterious murder.
"This has been the most unusual case that I've ever dealt with, the nature of how she died was very brutal and very horrendous," Champion said. Investigators offered few details in how they came to single out Tellis in the murder of the cheerleader. The crime shook up the tiny Courtland, Miss., town where she was discovered in December 2014 outside of her white 2005 Kia Rio with more than 90 percent of her body burned. She was found by firefighters after she had managed to escape the flame-engulfed car, but died hours later at a hospital in Memphis.

Medical examiners later discovered she had been forced to drink lighter fluid by her assailant before being lit on fire inside her car. It's believed Chambers was having a relationship with Tellis, even though they were eight years apart. Investigators called the crime "personal" and not gang-related, although they said Tellis, a Panola County native, belonged to a gang and has prior burglary and felony invasion charges on his record. Tellis was indicted on Tuesday for Chambers' murder while behind bars in connection with another murder of a young woman, University of Louisiana Monroe Taiwanese exchange student Meing-Chen Hsiao, who was found stabbed to death in her apartment in August 2015.

Tellis was not charged in Hsiao's murder but was arrested in November while he was living with his wife in Monroe, La., after it was discovered he was using credit cards belonging to the murdered exchange student and for marijuana possession. Investigators said they were "confident" they had the right suspect after a grand jury decided to indict him on Tuesday. "I'm very confident we'll not have any charges against other suspects," Champion said during the press conference. She reportedly told medics that someone named "Eric" had lit her on fire, but investigators interviewed more than 150 people and hadn't named any suspects until now.

Chambers family, who was present at the news conference, briefly thanked the investigators for their tireless work. "I take my hat off to them ...The hard work they've done never stopped," Bill Chambers, Jessica's father and an employee of the Panola County Sheriff's Department, said, who added that he would allow whatever charges District Attorney Champion pursues against Tellis. "Whatever law allows, we'll allow whatever he decides I agree with," he said.
Nebraska Death Penalty News / Re: Nebraska Death Penalty New...
Last post by Rick4404 - July 11, 2017, 02:24:27 PM
Nebraska is no closer to being able to carry out an execution by lethal injection than it was a year ago.  The state has no supply of the drugs that would be needed to carry out an execution, in accordance with its execution protocol.  While Nebraska law does not spell out the drugs to be used, the execution protocol does, and that's what's been the sticking point.  The protocol calls for a three-drug protocol.  The state has no realistic means by which they can obtain the drugs to carry out a lethal injection anytime soon.  So, the wait continues.
Scheduled Executions / Anthony Shore - TX - 10/18/201...
Last post by turboprinz - July 09, 2017, 08:59:20 AM
Thursday, July 06, 2017 06:21PM
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) --
A convicted pedophile and serial killer involved in a nearly decade-long string of crimes targeting Houston's Hispanic female population will be put to death later this year.

Anthony Shore, dubbed the Tourniquet Killer after the way he strangled his victims with handmade tourniquets, will be executed on October 18, 2017.

Shore was convicted and sentenced to death in 2004 after prosecutors said he confessed to the murders of 14-year-old Laurie Tremblay in 1986, 21-year-old Maria del Carmen Estrada in 1992, 9-year-old Dana Rebollar in 1994 and 16-year-old Dana Sanchez in 1995.

The murders remained unsolved for decades until Shore was arrested in connection with the sexual assault of two female relatives. DNA evidence collected during that investigation linked Shore to Estrada's murder, according to investigators.

"His crimes were predatory, and his victims the most vulnerable in society, women and children. For his brutal acts, the death penalty is appropriate," Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a news release.
Pages1 2 3 ... 10