Mark James Asay - FL - 08/24/2017

Started by turboprinz, July 05, 2017, 05:30:53 PM

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turboprinz

Gov. Scott schedules Florida's first execution in 18 months
July 4, 2017

TALLAHASSEE

Signaling a potential end to an 18-month hiatus for Florida's embattled death penalty, Gov. Rick Scott on Monday rescheduled the execution date of convicted killer Mark James Asay for Aug. 27.

"I think the execution machine is going to get started again immediately," said Pete Mills, an assistant public defender in the 10th Judicial Circuit who also serves as chairman of the Florida Public Defenders Association Death Penalty Steering Committee.

RELATED: Read The Post's 2017 Florida Legislature coverage

Asay was one of two Death Row inmates whose executions were put on hold by the Florida Supreme Court early last year after the U.S. Supreme Court, in a case known as Hurst v. Florida, struck down as unconstitutional the state's death penalty sentencing system.

The federal court ruling, premised on a 2002 decision in a case known as Ring v. Arizona, found that Florida's system of allowing judges, instead of juries, to find the facts necessary to impose the death penalty was an unconstitutional violation of the Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury.

The January 2016 federal court decision set off a string of court rulings that have effectively put Florida's death penalty in limbo for 18 months.

A year ago, the Florida Legislature hurriedly addressed the U.S. Supreme Court ruling by passing a law requiring at least 10 jurors to recommend death for the sentence to be imposed.

But the state Supreme Court struck down that law, saying the Hurst ruling requires that death recommendations be unanimous, even though the federal court did not address the issue.

This spring, lawmakers again amended the state's death penalty statute, this time mandating unanimous jury recommendations in capital sentencing cases.

Meanwhile, the Florida Supreme Court in December lifted the hold on Asay's execution, in one of a pair of key rulings focused on the implications of Hurst.

In Asay's case, the court ruled that Hurst should not apply retroactively to cases finalized before the 2002 Ring decision because, in part, of the impact on the administration of justice.

"Penalty phase resentencing is a time-intensive proceeding that requires significant preparation and discovery, death-qualifying a jury, and generally, a multi-day trial," the majority wrote. "While some of the prior witnesses' statements could be admitted based on the transcripts from the prior sentencing, the jury's ability to weigh the strength of those witnesses would clearly be impacted. Finally there is an important consideration regarding the impact a new sentencing proceeding would have on the victims' families and their need for finality."

Since the December rulings, the Florida court has consistently vacated the death penalty in sentences handed down by non-unanimous juries after Ring.

In a letter Monday to Florida State Prison Warden Barry Reddish, Scott -- who signed a record number of death warrants before the Supreme Court ruling last year and urged lawmakers in 2014 to pass a measure aimed at speeding up executions -- ordered Asay to be put to death on Aug. 27.

But the new execution date could also be problematic. Scott scheduled Asay to be put to death by lethal injection just after the Florida Supreme Court -- which, along with federal courts, often must consider last-minute appeals -- resumes work after a summer recess. The court is scheduled to issue its first set of rulings after a month-long summer break on Aug. 31.

Asay will be the first Death Row inmate put to death under a new, untested lethal injection protocol adopted by state corrections officials in the midst of the upheaval over the death penalty earlier this year. The changes to the three-drug lethal injection procedure come after the previous drugs used by the state to execute prisoners expired.

The move to the new drugs in Florida -- never before used in lethal injection procedures, according to national experts --- is almost certain to spur additional litigation, generally launched by the first inmate scheduled to undergo a new protocol, which in this instance would be Asay.

Asay was convicted in 1988 of the murders of Robert Lee Booker and Robert McDowell in downtown Jacksonville. Asay allegedly shot Booker, who was black, after calling him a racial epithet. He then killed McDowell, who was dressed as a woman, after agreeing to pay him for oral sex. According to court documents, Asay later told a friend that McDowell had previously cheated him out of money in a drug deal.

Asay's case has also involved a legal tangle over destroyed records and a lawyer who was the subject of an investigation ordered by Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga.

The high court dropped the inquiry after Mary Catherine Bonner, who repeatedly missed critical deadlines in death penalty cases, resigned from a statewide registry that made her eligible to represent defendants in capital cases.

Marty McClain, a lawyer appointed to represent Asay after Scott signed a death warrant early last year, found that the Death Row inmate had gone for nearly a decade without representation. Many of the records related to Asay's case provided by Bonner were destroyed by insects or exposure to the elements, according to court records filed by McClain.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state--regional-govt--politics/gov-scott-schedules-florida-first-execution-months/hzcu2sGjUzyaUo5IoFi6WI/
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.

Grinning Grim Reaper

APPEAL DENIED FOR WHITE SUPREMACIST ON DEATH ROW

An appeal of the sentence for death row inmate Mark Asay on the basis of Florida's lethal injection "cocktail" being unconstitutional were denied Friday.

The white supremacist was sentenced to death in 1998 for murdering two men in two different encounters in the same night. Asay confronted Robert Lee Booker and Robert McDowell in neighborhood near Downtown Jacksonville, committing gun crimes the court called cold and calculated because Asay "without the slightest remorse...selected a second person of the same race and social circumstances as [his] first victim" and executed him as well.

According to prosecutors, Asay believed both men he killed were black.

Asay is scheduled to be put to death on August 24.

Defense attorneys objected to the Department of Corrections' use of the drug etomidate in the 3-step lethal injection administration.

Through an out-of-state expert, Asay's team presented testimony the drug does not keep a person unconscious long enough, only a few minutes, and can be painful when injected.

The medical expert for the state testified etomidate renders a person unconscious in 10-15 seconds and would keep a person from feeling pain.

According to Dr. Mark Heath, the anesthesiology expert for Asay, etomidate is administered first to make a person unconscious and oblivious to pain. The second drug, rocuronium bromide, is a muscle relaxer to keep an inmates muscles and nerves from jerking in reaction to the fatal drug potassium acetate which is administered last.

The Florida Department of Corrections has been stockpiling the new drug cocktail since January, according to the Orlando Sentinel and announced its use in January.   8)

www.firstcoastnews.com
Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?

Grinning Grim Reaper

Florida Supreme Court says yes to first execution in months

The Florida Supreme Court is refusing to block the state's first execution after a hiatus of more than 18 months.

The court on Monday ruled 6-1 that the state can go ahead with the scheduled Aug. 24 execution of Mark Asay.

Asay, 53, was originally scheduled to be executed in March 2016, for the 1987 murders of Robert Lee Booker and Robert McDowell in Jacksonville.

The execution was put on hold after the U.S. Supreme Court found the state's death penalty sentencing law unconstitutional.

The Legislature has since twice changed the law, most recently this year when it required a unanimous jury recommendation for the death penalty.

Justices rejected several arguments that Asay made to block his execution, including his questioning of a new drug the state plans to use for lethal injection.

www.abcnews.go.com
Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?

Grinning Grim Reaper

Florida to execute first inmate since death penalty was reinstated
 
Tuesday, Aug. 22.
Dara Kam, News Service of Florida

Florida's death penalty hiatus is slated to end Thursday, when the state plans to execute the first death row prisoner in more than 19 months.

But the execution of Mark James Asay -- a white supremacist accused of targeting black victims -- won't just be the first lethal injection since early 2016 in a state that was killing death row prisoners at a record-breaking pace until a U.S. Supreme Court ruling effectively put Florida's death penalty on hold.

It will also be the first execution anywhere in the country using an untested triple-drug lethal injection procedure.

Asay has spent nearly three decades on death row after being convicted in the 1987 shooting deaths of two men in downtown Jacksonville.

Gov. Rick Scott initially signed a death warrant for Asay in January 2016.

But not long afterward, in a case known as Hurst v. Florida, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the state's death-penalty sentencing system as unconstitutional because it gave too much power to judges, instead of juries.

Lawmakers revamped the law, but a series of court rulings kept the death penalty in limbo until this spring, when the Florida Supreme Court lifted a hold on Asay's execution, more than a year after it was supposed to take place.

It's not unusual for death row prisoners, especially those with pending death warrants, to launch myriad appeals in one of the judicial system's most complicated arenas.

Asay was convicted in 1988 of the murders of Robert Booker and Robert McDowell. Asay allegedly shot Booker, who was black, after calling him a racial epithet. He then killed McDowell, who was dressed as a woman, after agreeing to pay him for oral sex. According to court documents, Asay -- who bears white supremacist and swastika tattoos -- later told a friend that McDowell had previously cheated him out of money in a drug deal.

A jury found Asay guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and recommended the death penalty with a 9-3 vote.

The Florida Supreme Court last week rejected a major appeal by Asay, including a challenge to the new lethal-injection procedure. This week, the court rejected another attempt at a reprieve, after justices acknowledged the court had been mistaken for more than two decades about McDowell's race.

Thursday's execution would make Asay the 24th death row prisoner put to death since Scott -- who has ordered more executions than any Florida governor since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 -- took office in 2011.

The number of death warrants signed by Scott, during a shorter period of time than other governors, was steadily growing until the Hurst decision put executions on hold.

While death penalty lawyers don't wish for any complications Thursday, they worry that an uneventful lethal injection could prompt Scott to issue a flurry of new death warrants.

"The attention focused on this execution happens as a result of the lack of state sponsored killings in the last year and a half. I suspect the execution machine will start up again, these judicially approved medical homicides will become the norm again, and news about them will move to the back pages, if they make the paper at all," Pete Mills, an assistant public defender in the 10th Judicial Circuit who also serves as chairman of the Florida Public Defenders Association Death Penalty Steering Committee, said in an interview.

Ocala-area State Attorney Brad King, a veteran prosecutor and outspoken defender of the death penalty, wouldn't predict what the impact of Thursday's execution would be in terms of Scott.

But "if this execution is carried out without any problems, without any stays by any appellate courts, then I think the road would be clear for executions to begin on a regular basis again," King told The News Service of Florida in a telephone interview Tuesday.

Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente, who dissented in last week's ruling on Asay's appeal, raised concerns that the execution is being rushed.  :P

She wrote, in part, that the state had thwarted attempts by Asay's lawyers, led by Marty McClain, to obtain public records regarding the change in the lethal injection protocol.  :P

"In its rush to execute Asay, the state has jeopardized Asay's fundamental constitutional rights and treated him as the proverbial guinea pig of its newest lethal injection protocol," she wrote in a lengthy dissent on Aug. 14.  :P

Mills raised similar concerns.  :P

"If the state is going to kill someone on behalf of the people of that state, I would hope they would take the time to get things done right," Mills said.  :P

But Asay has had "multiple trips through the appellate system," the veteran prosecutor King said.

"There's nothing rushed about it," King said.

www.sunsentinel.com
Vengence is mine saith the Lord...who are we to question the instruments used to carry it out?

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