Clemency Denied for Rhoades; Attorneys, Roman Catholics React
Published: 11/07 2:33 pm
Updated: 12:18 pm
In the last two weeks of his life attorneys for death row inmate Paul Ezra Rhoades are exploring every avenue to save their client's life. One of those avenues has just closed.
The Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole decided Friday, November 4, to deny the petition for a commutation hearing submitted on behalf of Paul Ezra Rhoades. The hearing would have requested that Rhoades' sentence be changed to life in prison instead of being put to death. Rhoades killed three people in eastern Idaho. He received the death penalty for the 1987 murders of Susan Michelbacher and Stacy Baldwin in Bonneville County.
Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter received the Commission’s recommendation on Monday, November 7.
Rhoades still has one option pending in court to put off his execution date. According to website set up by Rhoades' attorneys, Rhoades is challenging the method Idaho uses for lethal injection. Attorneys claim the execution team members are not adequately trained. That could result in Rhoades feeling the pain and burning caused by the chemicals used in the execution.
Attorneys for Rhoades issued the following statement Monday evening:
"We are very disappointed with the Commission’s decision to deny Mr. Rhoades clemency without first conducting a hearing. By doing so, they have declined to consider the rich story of Mr. Rhoades’s life that we would have presented through live witnesses. Those witnesses would have testified about Mr. Rhoades’s extreme addiction to methamphetamine, the involuntary nature of his addiction, and what methamphetamine does to our brains and to our behaviors. None of this was known to the courts that sentenced Mr. Rhoades to death. Those witnesses would also have included current and former inmates who would have testified to Mr. Rhoades being profoundly influential in their decisions to lead productive lives –and their abilities to stick with those decisions. None of this could have been known to the sentencing judges. The Commission has made a tremendous error in not fully considering all of the relevant information available today to determine whether Mr. Rhoades’s death sentences remain appropriate, or whether he should be allowed to live his natural life in prison.
"We maintain that the Commission is making a grave and irreversible mistake by relying primarily on a paper record in moving forward with the state’s first execution in 17 years and only the second execution since 1957 of someone who is not volunteering to go to the death chamber. It is shameful that Mr. Rhoades will not have an opportunity to present his entire case and show that the man he is today is not someone whom society would want to put to death.
"We will continue to explore and pursue our clemency options, however limited they may be. And we also are working to postpone the Nov. 18 execution date while we fight for an acceptable lethal injection method that will not unnecessarily torture Mr. Rhoades."
Meanwhile, Roman Catholic Bishop Michael P. Driscoll expressed his dissappointment that the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole decided to decline the request for clemency.
"I do not condonde Mr. Rhoades' action and share the justified anger and revulsion at the terrible crimes that have been committed," Bishop Driscoll said in a letter written to Governor Butch Otter. "I do take seriously my obligation as bishop to share and uphold our Catholic faith and moral tradition, including teaching on the death penalty. The teaching, while comlex, is clear: Executions should not take place when other means, including life in prison without parole, can protect society from criminals seeking to do harm."
The bishop is asking Catholics throughout the state to write to the Parole Commission and ask the members to reconsider their decision.Meanwhile, Roman Catholic Bishop Michael P. Driscoll expressed his dissappointment that the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole decided to decline the request for clemency.
=> Yeeeeaaaahhhh man...
And we wait for news of the Pope...