Markeith Loyd News Coverage: Terence Lenamon Profile

There's still talk that Terence Lenamon may participate in the defense of Markeith Loyd even after the judge declined the defendant's request that Terry Lenamon be appointed as his defense counsel. 

Terence Lenamon Profile

Once again, Terence Lenamon is not issuing any news release here, but is sharing the following media profile and interview from the Orlando Sentinel published earlier this week regarding the Markeith Loyd case, written by Rene Stutzman:

"Terry Lenamon, Markeith Loyd's hand-picked attorney: A staunch opponent of the death penalty."

Terence Lenamon Memoir

For those interested in learning more about Terence Lenamon's attitude toward representing death penalty defendants as well as his past case experience, they can always check out the short memoir he published a few years back.  It's also available in paperback at Amazon.com.

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Amnesty International Death Penalty Report: China Secrecy Still a Problem

Amnesty International has released its latest study of the death penalty worldwide. A particular concern: China and its continued secret executions.

China's Death Penalty

We discussed the China Death Penalty (with the Death Penalty Vans) in a series of earlier posts written by Sin-Ting Mary Liu. 

See, e.g., "In Depth Look at the Law: China Death Vans and Harvesting Prisoner Organs for Profit.

Here, a video synopsis of their latest findings from Amnesty International:

 

Markieth Lloyd Requests Terence Lenamon as Appointed Lawyer in Death Penalty Trial

 Markieth Lloyd wants Terence Lenamon as his defense counsel - and only Terry Lenamon. 

Terence Lenamon is not discussing this issue with the media and he's not issuing any kind of news release here. 

This post shares this current development with the blog's readers and refers them to the following news stories for details:

"Markeith Loyd asks Miami capital punishment lawyer to represent him," by Emilee Speck, published April 3, 2017, on ClickOrlando.com. (Also published by Local10.com); and

" Markeith Loyd Told A Judge He Wants A Specific Lawyer," published April 3, 2017, at NewsTalkFlorida.com. .

The court will rule on this matter on April 12, 2017.

 

SCOTUS rules on Intellectual Disability Test for Death Penalty

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has ruled in the case of Bobby Moore v. State of Texas, and it's a victory for opponents of the death penalty.

This case is one more step in the treatment of those with mental health issues or intellectual disability issues in capital punishment.  Another recent and important case here:  2014's Hall v. Florida.

Moore v. Texas Does Two Things

In an opinion written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, two things have happened:

1.  Texas Death Row Inmate Bobby Moore will get the opportunity to argue that he should not be executed because his intellectual disability bars him from capital punishment as cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. Constitution; and

2.  The State of Texas has been told its method of determining who can be executed when their intellectual abilities are in question is wrong.  Its procedure does not meet constitutional muster according to SCOTUS.

Full Text of Moore v. Texas

Read the opinion here as we've stored it in the Terence Lenamon Online Library: 

 

Arkansas Plans 8 Executions in 10 Days: Two at a Time

As shocking as this may be, news reports are that the State of Arkansas will execute eight Death Row inmates next month, over the course of ten days. 

8 Executions Over 10 Days; Two at at Time

That's almost one execution a day, right? Well, yes.  Except reports are that the executions are planned to occur two at a time.  That's right: Arkansas will execute these men in pairs, two executions on the same day.

Lethal Injection Protocols In Question: What About The Drugs?

All these executions will be by lethal injection. 

Reports are that the state does not have all the proper drugs for the lethal injections.  This has not prevented the executions from being scheduled.

Will they be carried out? Will a federal court stop them?

And why now?  Arkansas has not executed anyone for TWELVE YEARS.

ACADP Tracking Efforts to Stop April Executions

For more information, including the fight to stop this mass execution next month, visit the web site of the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (ACADP).

Florida Has New Death Penalty Law in March 2017

Governor Rick Scott signed into law SB280 earlier this week.

The bill had been unanimously approved by the Florida Senate and only three lawmakers in the Florida House of Representatives voted against it.

New Florida Death Penalty Law

What does the law provide? Now, in the State of Florida, juries in capital cases will all have to agree on the death penalty. Florida now requires unanimous juries in capital cases.

For more information, check out our earlier post that includes the full text of SB280 and its legislative progress:

Florida Legislature Moves to Pass New Laws for Death Penalty Procedure.

Firing Squad, Gas Chamber, Electrocution for Executions?

In Mississippi (and elsewhere), the lethal injection method of execution is so problematic these days that state governments are considering the return to past methods of killing people in capital punishment sentences.

Firing Squad

The Mississippi legislature had been considering the firing squad.  Read, "Mississippi considers firing squad as method of execution," for details.  That got nixed

The firing squad has its proponents.  Among them, Alabama Death Row Inmate Thomas Arthur who fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court for the right to die by firing squad instead of lethal injection.  He lost, but not without the support of Justice Sonia Sontomayor.  Read her dissent here.

Of course, most people do not like the idea of firing squad executions.  It's not a popular alternative to lethal injection.  For more, read "Is The Firing Squad More Humane Than Lethal Injection?" by Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux in FiveThirtyEight.

Electric Chair and Gas Chamber

Mississippi is moving forward with proposed legislation that will allow either electrocution or the gas chamber as execution methods if lethal injection is not possible.  Mississippi has not executed anyone in five years, in large part because of its problems with lethal injection drug issues.

Last Thursday, the Mississippi Senate approved a bill that allows for either alternative and sent the proposal over to the Mississippi House for consideration. 

It's looking likely that this may get passed and executions will resume in Mississippi.  But what will the public think?

States With Alternative Methods of Execution Already On the Books

Of course, some states already have options in the law to the lethal injection method of execution.  Mississippi's dilemma is that lethal injection was the only legal execution method for the state. 

States like Florida and Utah?  They have options. 

For a discussion of states who already have legal alternatives to lethal injection, read our post, "Returning Death Penalty to Other Execution Methods On the Books."

 

Recommended Read - The Brain Defense: Murder in Manhattan and the Dawn of Neuroscience

We've discussed the importance of scientific study and analysis of brain disorders and brain damage in death penalty defense many times before. 

In fact, you may know Terence Lenamon as one of the pioneers in using QEEG as part of a death penalty defense.  For more on Terry's experience with QEEG in the courtroom, check out:

Recommended Read:  The Brain Defense by Kevin Davis

Hopefully, the national spotlight on this vital issue will grow with the publication of a new book by journalist Kevin Davis, entitled The Brain Defense: Murder in Manhattan and the Dawn of Neuroscience in America’s Courtrooms.

Of particular note is an entire chapter of the book dedicated to neuroscience and capital punishment in America today.  Davis interviewed Terence Lenamon for the book and its chapter on brain science in death penalty cases.

Lenamon Discusses QEEG and Grady Nelson Case in The Brain Defense

Of particular note to readers is Terry Lenamon's in-depth discussion of his defense of Grady Nelson and his defense reasoning and strategy in both the guilt and sentencing phases of that trial. 

QEEG was an important factor in the Florida death penalty trial of Grady Nelson.  Terry discusses how it impacted that result (death was denied) as well as how vital QEEG is to the future of death penalty defense. 

You can get the book on Amazon as well as read an excerpt from the book and its growing number of positive reviews there:

 

 

Florida Supreme Court Gives Green Light to Death Penalty

This week, in two opinions published by the Florida Supreme Court , it appears that the government got the green light to continue with death penalty cases.

For discussion, check out Sentencing Law and Policy and Fox35.  Many are still digesting what all these cases mean ....

Florida Supreme Court Rules Death Penalty Cases Can Move Forward

Here are the Florida Supreme Court opinions, provided for your convenience in the Terry Lenamon Online Library:

Florida Legislature Moves to Pass New Laws for Death Penalty Procedure

Right now, the 2017 Florida Legislative Session is likely to pass new legislation to help prosecutors get the death penalty back in action.  Here is what is happening up in Tallahassee:

Florida Senate SB280

In Florida, SB 280 is proceeding through the Florida Senate having made its way out of its first committee earlier this month with unanimous approval.  Next stop:  the Senate Rules Committee, where it is scheduled on the calendar for February 22, 2017, at 3:30 PM. 

SB 280, if passed into law, will require Florida juries in capital cases to have 100% juror approval of the death penalty before capital punishment could be recommended.  The judge would still be responsible for sentencing itself. 

Follow Florida Senate Bill 280 here. 

Florida House of Representatives HB527

The Florida House of Representatives has a similar proposal in HB 527.  As originally drafted, HB 527 would not only require the jury have a unanimous recommendation of death before the death penalty could be imposed, but it would also require the jury to recommend life without parole as the sentence if the jury could not reach a unanimous recommendation of the death penalty. 

HB 527 is still moving through the committee process, calendared as follows: 

  • Criminal Justice Subcommittee agenda for: 02/15/17 9:00 AM
  • Judiciary Committee agenda for: 02/21/17 4:00 PM.

Follow Florida House of Representatives Bill 527 here.

Guest Post: Dylan Roof's Death Sentence Bucks Trend in America

Dylan Roofs death sentence for the South Carolina shooting which left nine people dead, departs from the national downward trending of death penalty cases. 

Before the June 17, 2015 mass shooting, Roof’s only contact with police had been two arrests each occurring in the months immediately before the deadly attack. Following a February 28 incident at a Columbia mall, Roof was questioned by law enforcement and arrested on a misdemeanor charge of drug possession and banned from the mall for twelve-months. Roof was captured and held with no bail up until trial. 

From the mid-1990s when death penalty cases stood at over 300 a year, the number of new death penalty cases has dropped to 30 in 2016 according to the Death Penalty Information Center.  The previous low was a 40-year low of 40 in 2015. 

Executions have dropped from almost 100 in 1999 to twenty in 2016 according to DPIC. Better defense teams, publicity of wrongful-conviction cases and changing public opinions of capital punishment have all led to the decline according to Robert Dunham, Executive Director of DPIC. 

We’re in the middle of a climate change on the death penalty,” Dunham said. “The long-term trend shows a reduced utilization of the death penalty.” 

Roof, who fired a .45 caliber handgun told jurors “I felt like I had to do it. I still feel that way.” 

The jury recommended the death penalty after three hours of deliberation.

In some ways, Roof’s case is an anomaly. He decided to defend himself, didn’t show any remorse and talking about killing again. 

Someone representing themselves is not going to be able to put on that type of case,” said Brandon Garrett, a professor with the University of Virginia Law School. 

Is Dylann Roof’s Execution Justified? 

The drop in death penalty cases can be linked to improvements in capital defense teams nationally. Also, there are fewer cities and counties pushing the death penalty for budgetary reasons. 

Texas, with 538 executions since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, is seeing a decline as well. Death sentences have fallen from a zenith of 48 in 1999 to three in 2015 and three in 2016, said Kristin Houle, director of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. 

In a 2016 Gallup Poll, a majority of people across America — 60-percent — favor the death penalty. That figure is down from 80-percent who supported the punishment in 1994. 

Garrett feels the shift from death sentences may be irreversible. “The trends are long-standing and ingrained,” he said. “I see them continuing.”

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Contributed by New York criminal defense attorney Arkady Bukh, 14 Wall St, New York NY 10005, (212) 729-1632)

New ABA Report: Severe Mental Illness and the Death Penalty

The American Bar Association Death Penalty Due Process Review Project has published its report, "Severe Mental Illness and the Death Penalty."

You can read it online here. 

ABA Report To Be Tool For Change

From its Executive Summary (emphasis added):

Despite broader efforts to reform the criminal justice system’s approach to mental illness, individuals with these types of conditions can still be sentenced to death and executed. It is, therefore, now time to convert the ABA’s policy into a meaningful tool to help states pass laws that will establish clear standards and processes to prevent the execution of those with severe mental illness.

Focusing on Four Areas in Capital Case

It includes discussion of the following areas of a capital case where mental illness is an issue that is not provided "complete or sufficient protection":

  1. Competency to Stand Trial
  2. The Insanity Defense
  3. Mitigating Factors
  4. Competency to be Executed.

It's less than 50 pages long.  Definitely worth your time to read. 

Terence Lenamon at Work: Defense Counsel in Trial for 2008 Pawn Shop Owner Killing

With all the hoopla surrounding the Florida death penalty statute (see our prior posts), some may be wondering what capital defense lawyers in Florida are doing right now.  Well, there are those sentencing hearings, right? 

Lenamon is Defending a Murder Case in Miami

And there are still murder trials.  The prosecutors are still busy trying homicide cases in Florida, no matter what controversy surrounds seeking the death penalty right now. 

Like the one that Terence Lenamon is involved in this month over in Miami. 

Back in 2008, a North Miami pawn shop owner named Marty Sprung was shot and killed.  Check out the 2008 Spot Crime report here.

Last Thursday trial began in the murder trial where Stevenson Charles is being accused of killing the pawn shop owner.  The District Attorney's Office is seeking life imprisonment for the crime.

Terry Lenamon is defense counsel in the murder mystery case. 

Read the details of the story here in the Miami Herald coverage, "Who killed pawnshop owner? Miami jury to decide identity of killer."  It's a real life whodunit in the article by David Ovalle, published on January 19, 2017.

 

Read and Watch WLRN News Story: "Cell 1: Florida's Death Penalty in Limbo"

This week was the debut of "Cell 1: Florida’s Death Penalty in Limbo," which is a special production of WLRN News.

Read the story online in six parts.

Here's a short 3 minute overview:

Federal Death Penalty for Dylann Roof in Charleston Church Shooting

The jury has made its decision in the case of Dylann Roof, charged with the shooting deaths of nine people attending church in Charleston, South Carolina.  Roof has been sentenced to death.

Federal Hate Crime Death Sentence

As the Associated Press reports, this is the first time that an individual has been sentenced to death in this country for what has been designated as a "hate crime." 

Roof represented himself before the jury.  Read details of his statements prior to sentencing in the CBS News coverage, " Dylann Roof sentenced to death for Charleston church shooting."

Moratorium on Federal Death Penalty

Right now, there is a federal moratorium on the death penalty.  There are 62 Federal Death Row Inmates on the federal government's Death Row.  Dylann Roof apparently will be number 63, joining Death Row inmates like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon Bomber. 

Will Federal Moratorium on Death Penalty End?

What will happen during the new Presidential Administration?  Some suggest that Trump will change the moratorium and federal executions will proceed. 

 
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