October 3, 2007
News Update 10.03.07
The folks at People of Faith Against the Death Penalty noted the following during the Council of State meeting yesterday:
Apparently forgetting the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech and the right “to petition the government for a redress of grievances,” NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall commented that she had received “in excess of 200 emails” from concerned citizens and called the messages “inappropriate.” She said she opened two of them “by mistake” and did not read them.
Secretary Marshall’s admission reflects the confusion and ignorance that surrounds the Council of State’s actions on this issue so far.
NC Labor Commissioner Jim Long, the only Council member to vote against the motion, noted that the Council could probably feel the meeting table shaking from his cell phone as he received more emails from concerned citizens during the meeting.
He added that because the US Supreme Court was considering Kentucky’s lethal injection protocol, which is the same as North Carolina’s, “We are probably just spinning our wheels.”
Meanwhile, NC prosecutors are seeking death in at least two trials underway at the moment. A jury is deliberating Ricky Graham‘s fate in Mecklenberg County, and Mario Lynn Phillips‘ attorneys are arguing for his life in Moore County.
CDW warns us to be on the lookout for low-flying swine: the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay of execution for Heliberto Chi, which could mean that the most active death penalty state in the nation is entering a period of moratorium. More from StandDown and NYT.
MVFHR is starting of its Voices of Families of the Executed series this morning with words from Lois Robison, whose son Larry was executed in 2000.
The folks at SCOTUSblog have launched ScotusWiki, a source for quick and comprehensive coverage of cases before the Supreme Court. (a work in progress)
October 2, 2007
The Council of State voted this morning to reject the recommendations of an Administrative Law Judge and approve the Department of Correction’s proposed lethal injection protocol. Of the nine-member Council, only Commissioner James E. Long voted against the DOC.
General info on the meeting here.
More on the proceedings before the ALJ here.
Older blogging here.
WRAL reports that after a “brief discussion,” the Council decided that the ALJ “lacked jurisdiction.” Attorney Elizabeth Kuniholm expressed frustration that the Council refused to address the issue on the merits (N&O).
The case will return to Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens.
October 1, 2007
News Update 10.01.07
Nothing to report.
Following its grant of certiorari in Baze v. Rees, the Supreme Court declined to stop the execution of Michael Richard. It appears that Richard was executed in large part because the computers at his attorneys’ office crashed and they were unable to file his petition until 20 minutes after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals closed for the night.
On Thursday, the Court saw fit to stay the execution of Carlton Turner, Jr., but offered no explanation for its decision. Texas still plans to execute Heliberto Chi later this week. More here.
Meanwhile, Alabama Governor Bob Riley granted a brief stay to Thomas Arthur, but only to give the state more time to spiffy up its new lethal injection procedure. Riley reasserted his confidence in Arthur’s guilt, but continues to deny DNA testing that would prove guilt (or innocence) conclusively.
Other states are debating what steps to take next. No one really knows what’s going on, which is ironic given that part of the reason for granting cert in Baze was to clear things up.
Michael Richard, Carlton Turner , Heliberto Chi, and Thomas Arthur
(photos from Departments of Corrections)
October 1, 2007
3 – Heliberto Chi (TX)
9 – Anthony Washington (PA – stay likely)
11 – Raymond Solano (PA – stay likely)
15 – William Castillo (NV – volunteer)
16 – Jack Harold Jones, Jr. (AR)
17 – Christopher Scott Emmett (VA)
18 – Romell Broom (OH – stayed)
24 – Michael Joe Boyd (TN – commuted)
25 – Daniel Siebert (AL)