News Update 01.31.08
Nash County prosecutors have formally announced their intent to seek death against Tommy Lee Holiday, who is accused of killing a Meals on Wheels worker in 2007. Another woman survived the attack. The case has gained attention from white supremacists because Holiday is black and the victims are white. (An informal announcement of intent to seek death was made a week after the crime occurred.)
Carlos Canady, who was sentenced to death in 1999, has entered a plea to life in prison plus 40 years. Canady’s conviction was overturned by the North Carolina Supreme Court in 2002, which found that his trial had been “riddled with errors,” so much so that the Court didn’t bother to discuss them all before granting relief. “We are satisfied with [the plea],” said a member of the victims’ family. “Our main concern was that he was not out on an early release and then somebody else have to go through this.”
Judge Quentin Sumner has imposed a gag order in the case of Mark Bowling, who stands accused of having his mistress kill his wife. “The case will not be tried in the press. It will be tried in the courtroom,” the judge said. The case has attracted a tremendous amount of publicity in the Rocky Mount area, where Bowling was a well-known businessman.
More on the conviction of Lisa Greene here and here. Jurors will hear evidence in the sentencing phase of the trial beginning on Friday.
SCOTUSBlog has all you need to know about Callahan v. Allen. James Callahan’s attorneys have filed their petition to the US Supreme Court, asking that the Court delay his execution until they can file a proper appeal from the 11th Circuit’s surprise decision two days before Callahan’s scheduled execution. Callahan’s future petition will raise three issues: 1) whether the 11th Circuit erred in vacating his stay of execution based on a particular statute of limitations; 2) whether a state statute of limitations is properly applied to a claim based in federal civil rights; and 3) whether a statute of limitations can fairly begin to run when the claim is not ready for review because the method of execution remains uncertain. Callahan’s execution is set for 6:00 PM tonight.
Meanwhile back in Alabama, two state lawmakers have introduced bills to change the state’s capital punishment system. Senator Hank Sanders is proposing a moratorium on executions and a study on the fairness of the administration of the death penalty, while Representative Randy Wood is proposing legislation to expand the death penalty statute to include child rape. Click here for more information about the death penalty in Alabama.
The US Supreme Court has issued its argument calendar for April. Kennedy v. Louisiana, the case testing whether a person can be sentenced to death for a non-fatal crime, will be heard on April 16th.
How Appealing has the goods on Judge Hilton Fuller’s surprise decision to step down from the Brian Nichols/courthouse shooting case. Fuller has come under a great deal of fire over the last several years for having the audacity to, among other things, suggest that Nichols’ lawyers should be paid for their work. The final straw was a recent article in The New Yorker, which published comments made by Fuller to the effect that insanity is Nichols’ only possible defense because, “everyone in the world knows he did it.” The search for a new judge is not expected to be easy.