Durham and Moore DAs Seek Death

January 9, 2008

News Update 01.09.08

North Carolina

Testimony continues in the trial of Lisa Greene.

In Durham, there is debate over whether prosecutors will be able to seek the death penalty against Jasmond Jevon “Catfish” Rogers for his role in a June drive-by shooting. The assistant district attorney failed to give the defense advance notice of his decision to seek death, as required by law. Giving notice only requires filing simple paperwork, but is important because without it the defense cannot gain access to special funds and resources necessary to a capital trial. Moving forward with a capital case in which the DA has not given proper notice means that either the defense will be ambushed (and have a great issue for appeal) or that the trial will be needlessly delayed while the defense conducts the investigation it would have done earlier had the DA complied with the law. Speedy justice requires timely notice.

Meanwhile in Moore County, prosecutors have been given the green light to seek death against Sherrod Nicholas Harrison. Harrison is one of five men accused of a September home invasion-homicide. The case is being closely watched by online hate communities because the victim was white and all of the defendants are black.

NC Policy Watch weighs in on what the Baze litigation means for North Carolina: “First, the debate places the spotlight on the inherent flaws in any capital punishment system. While a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court may not find it violative of the Eighth Amendment, there is no longer any hiding the fact that killing people is, even under the most ‘humane’ circumstances, a grisly business…Second and more broadly, the cases serve to point out the inherent contradictions of state sanctioned killing in the 21st Century. As more and more Americans appear to be coming to understand…capital punishment is (like slavery, torture, racism and many other once widely celebrated and now dead or dying institutions) a practice that fares worse and worse over time as more of the world comes to truly grasp what’s involved.”

Elsewhere

Reactions to Baze are everywhere. Just a few: NY Times, Volokh Conspiracy, Washington Post, miscellaneous links from How Appealing here and here, plus coverage from PBS and NPR. And of course StandDown has herds of links here and here and here.

A New England Journal of Medicine editorial has thoughts on the proper role of doctors in executions – none. “Physicians and other health care providers should not be involved in capital punishment, even in an advisory capacity. A profession dedicated to healing the sick has no place in the process of execution…We believe that, like the anesthesiologists in the Morales case, all responsible members of the medical profession, when asked to assist in a state-ordered execution, will remember the Hippocratic Oath and refuse to participate. The future of capital punishment in the United States will be up to the justices, but the involvement of physicians in executions will be up to the medical profession.” (c/o StandDown)


Moore County Seeks Death Against Four

December 19, 2007

News Update 12.19.07

North Carolina

Moore County DAs have announced their intention to seek the death penalty against four men accused of killing a Cameron girl in September. Michael Graham Currie, Ryan Jemar White, Perry Ross Schiro, and Sherrod Nicholas Harrison are all under the age of 21. A fifth person is too young to be charged capitally, but will be tried as an adult.

Elsewhere

Although Nigeria told the United Nations it has not executed anyone since 2002, Amnesty International has uncovered evidence of at least seven executions in the last two years. All of the men were hanged, sometimes without access to lawyers or appeals required by law. The BBC has more.

The New York Times and CNN note a 13-year low in executions, due largely to the Supreme Court’s cert grant in Baze. Still, there were 42 executions this year, 62% of which took place in Texas. Forty states, including North Carolina, had no executions at all.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has come out with its preliminary capital punishment statistics for 2006. Just in time to start working on 2007! Anyway, they have info on, among other things, how many people are on death row, how old they were when they got there, and how they are most likely to leave. (c/o SLAP)


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