Thomas Whisenhant - AL - 5/27/10

Started by Jeff1857, February 03, 2009, 06:52:39 AM

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Jeff1857

February 03, 2009, 06:52:39 AM Last Edit: April 27, 2010, 05:43:57 PM by Jeff1857
Killer still on death row


The killer of a 24-year-old convenience store clerk remains on death row 3 decades after first being sentenced to death, and 3 years after a federal court heard his latest appeal.

Thomas Whisenhant, convicted in 1978 for the murder of Cheryl Payton in southern Mobile County, had his appeal argued before a three-judge panel on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in January 2006. Attorneys for both sides say there has been no ruling in the case.

"I would say the average length of time for a decision to be published after an argument, the typical situation would be 6 months to a year after the argument takes place," said Clay Crenshaw, an Alabama assistant attorney general who argued the state's case before the 11th Circuit.

Rhonda Brownstein of the Southern Poverty Law Center said it "wasn't unusual" for an appellate court to take this long to issue a ruling. She represented Whisenhant at the 2006 hearing.

Neither Crenshaw nor Brownstein knew why the 11th Circuit has yet to rule. U.S. Circuit Court Judges J.L. Edmondson, Stanley Birch and Susan Black heard the 2006 appeal. Their offices said Monday that they would not comment on the case.

Whisenhant, who admitted to killing Payton and 3 other women between 1963 and 1977, is currently the longest-serving inmate on Alabama's death row. Since his initial conviction, Whisenhant has had one retrial and 2 previous sentencing hearings, the last in 1987.

Payton's mutilated body was found in a wooded area in Irvington in October 1976.

The Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery argued in 2006 that if Whisenhant was insane at the time of the killings -- as other lawyers have argued -- he should not be executed. The SPLC also argued that Morris Dees, the group's founder and chief trial counsel, failed to provide competent counsel when he served as Whisenhant's attorney.

The state dismissed that argument, citing Dees' long record in the courtroom and national reputation.

Appeals for death row cases averaged 12.7 years in 2007, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit group that opposes the death penalty.

Richard Dieter, director of the center, said the federal circuits are swamped with death penalty cases. Adequate representation, he said, has become a key point in appeals.

"The Supreme Court has set some higher standards for death penalty representation, and courts of appeal have to follow that," Dieter said. "Now, if the lawyer didn't investigate all the mitigating circumstances, (the sentence could) be overturned."

(source: Press-Register)


vikkiw47

He has been on the row longer than his victim was alive!!! NOW WHAT IN THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE !!!  >:(
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.

Michael

You´re so right Vikki.  :-*

Michael
I´m not sure if there´s a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.

JeffB

NOW WHAT IN THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE !!! 

Yeah, pretty much Vikki..  Its been 30 freaking years, lets go already... 
"SO SUCK IT YOU "BLUE COOLER" DOPE!"  -  Sylar24

Jeff1857

A federal appeals court has also denied Alabama
death row inmate Thomas Whisenhant's bid to challenge his
conviction for the 1976 rape and murder of a Theodore woman.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday denied
Whisenhant's petition, which claimed he had ineffective counsel at
his 1981 retrial, the state held back key evidence, prosecutors
were unfair in closing arguments and there was judicial bias in a
1987 penalty phase proceeding.
Whisenhant, whose 1977 conviction and death sentence were
overturned, was convicted of capital murder in his 1981 retrial for
the rape and murder of convenience store clerk Cheryl Payton.
The 11th Circuit ruled that Whisenhant received effective
assistance of counsel at his 1981 trial because his lawyer made a
reasonable, strategic decision not to present evidence of insanity.
Whisenhant was accused of mutilating the victim's body and
raping and killing two other convenience store clerks, and
mutilating the body of one.

http://www.wkrg.com/crime/article/2_death_row_appeals_denied/23277/

kanga


Attorneys consider high court appeal for death row inmate Whisenhant

Friday, February 06, 2009 By BRIAN LYMANCapital Bureau

MONTGOMERY -- Attorneys for Thomas Whisenhant may take his murder case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Whisenhant was convicted in 1977 in the killing and mutilation of 24-year-old convenience store clerk Cheryl Payton in the woods near Irvington. The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Whisenhant's most recent appeal Tuesday.

"We're looking at all our options, but in death penalty cases, you exhaust every single appeal," said Rhonda Brownstein of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who represented Whisenhant before the Atlanta court.

Whisenhant is the longest-serving inmate on Alabama's death row.

A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit upheld Whisenhant's conviction in the 27-page ruling issued Tuesday. Federal judges J.L. Edmondson, Stanley Birch and Susan Black rejected defense arguments that Whisenhant was poorly represented and was the victim of prosecutorial misconduct and evidence suppression in a 1981 retrial, as well as an allegation of judicial misconduct at a subsequent 1987 sentencing hearing.

The Alabama Attorney General's office said through a spokeswoman that it would not comment unless Whisenhant filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Brownstein said Whisenhant's attorneys do not know when they may file the appeal but are examining issues already raised in court.

"We'll take a really hard look at all four of them and narrow them down to the one or two most powerful issues that we really have," she said.

According to federal law, an appeal to the Supreme Court must be filed within 90 days after the judgment has been entered.

"The Supreme Court turns around its denials pretty quickly," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C. "If your case gets taken by the Supreme Court, that slows it down."

If the Supreme Court were to refuse an appeal, only commutation of the sentence or a pardon from the governor would stand in the way of Whisenhant's execution.

© 2009 Press-Register.

                                      ------------------------------------------------  -

This may be the end of the road before a Date is set??

vikkiw47

Well from where im sitting they need to shit or get off the pot !!!
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.

JT

This may be the end of the road before a Date is set??


If the Circus has denied CoA, then he's probably not got many appeals left at his disposal.  Once the U.S. Supreme Court returns with a likely denial, the Alabama Attorney General can file a request for a death warrant from the state Supreme Court.  Or that's how the system should work in theory...
JT's Ridiculous Quote of the Century:
"I'm disgusted with the State for even putting me in this position."
-- Reginald Blanton, Texas death row.  As of October 27, 2009, Reggie's position has been in a coffin.

roo28


He has been on the row longer than his victim was alive!!! NOW WHAT IN THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE !!!  >:(


I have to agree with you on that Vikki... this is just absurd!!!  ::)

Jeff1857


Well from where im sitting they need to shit or get off the pot !!!
Well Vikki, Alabama has set 5 execution dates and has another requested in Jack Trawick. The attorney general Mr King is on record as wanting these guys gone and he's doing it as fast as possible. I don't anticipate him waiting long asking for an execution date to be set for this one either. I think Alabama is doing a fine job this year to this point!!!

vikkiw47

you are so right Jeff he is doing a wonderful job and for the most part it is out of his hands until the COA, but really his victim did not get another 30 years, and then again the length of time it takes to get a response from most appeal is just absurd on most occasions.This family has been waiting 30 years for justice. 30 years is a long time to grieve. Every year this is brought back to the for front of the family's mind. 30 years is a long time to wait to heal. I'm sorry Jeff i did not mean to come across as being ugly by any means. I know this poor man is working as hard as he can to have justice for the family's so they can begin to heal.  I think the amount of appeals that they can file needs to be changed badly,and the responce time for appeal needs to be looked at across the board. It is just insane
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.

Jeff1857

I 100 per cent agree with ya Vikki. The length of a lot of these appeals are ridiculous and then a lot of these sentences get tossed after 15 or 20 yrs on some technicality. The process then has to start all over for these families. It is very frustrating in these cases when true justice can not be administered in these absurd length of times. Chambers on TX DR for instance has been there 33 yrs and now HE gets a new sentencing hearing.
If he is resentenced to death quite conceivably he could be there for 40 plus years. Now that is ridiculous. I'm right with you on your opinions of this.

Barbara

Time is all these guys have and they can and do dream up any possible scenario to lengthen the tenure on the row, I agree w/Vikki, what the hell is wrong with this puketure!

heidi salazar

The justices turned down an appeal from Alabama death row inmate. Thomas Whisenhant challenged an appeals court ruling that left his death sentence for the 1976 rape and murder of a Theodore woman in place. Whisenhant argued that the judge colluded with prosecutors and denied him a fair trial.

http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2009/11/post_203.html

podmornica

So this guy has been on Death Row for 31 years?  That's both amazing and disturbing. 

So, is there anyone on DR anywhere in th US who has been there longer than this guy? 

And does anyone know who the longest serving DR inmate is/was?

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