Death Penalty in 2016: USA Not In the Top Five

 Amnesty International has released its annual report on capital punishment around the world.  How does the United States fare in comparison to countries like China, Iran, or Saudi Arabia?  

Death Penalty in the USA Compared to Other Nations

From their report:

For the first time since 2006, and only the second time since 1991, the USA is not among the world's five biggest executioners.

The number of executions (20) in 2016 reached the lowest level recorded in any year since 1991, half what it was in 1996, and almost five times lower than in 1999. The number of executions has fallen every year since 2009, except 2012 when it stayed the same).

For more detailed information, read the full report as a downloadable pdf here.

 

 

DOJ New Brief on Death Penalty: Florida is Number Two

More on Florida Death Row Than Any Other State Except California

According to new research compilations by the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics, we know that Florida remains number two in the country for the number of people setting on its Death Row.  

Only California has more Death Row residents.  Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics May 2017.

 

 We also learn the following, as of December 31, 2015:

  • 33 states and the BOP held 2,881 inmates under sentence of death, 61 fewer than at year-end 2014. This was the fifteenth consecutive year in which the number of inmates under sentence of death decreased. 
  • Fourteen states and BOP received 49 inmates under sentence of death.
  • Six states executed 28 inmates.
  • Twenty-one states removed 82 inmates from under sentence of death by means other than execution.
  • Overall, 20 states held fewer inmates under sentence of death than a year earlier, 5 states and BOP held more inmates, and 9 held the same number.
  • The largest decline in inmates under sentence of death occurred in Texas (down 17), followed by Georgia (down 8), and Missouri (down 7).

 

Did Prosecutorial Misconduct in Texas Lead to Execution of Innocent Man?

Over in Texas, the worst nightmare for any death penalty defense attorney is being played out in real life:  the allegations that a prosecutor committed serious misconduct during the capital trial, which resulted not only in the conviction of an innocent man, but his execution.

Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004 for the arson deaths of his three young daughters.  He maintained his innocence always.

The Innocence Project began investigating claims of prosecutorial misconduct several years ago.  That led to a grievance being filed before the State Bar of Texas which included supporting evidence to allegations that the prosecutor that include:

1.  he made a deal with a jailhouse snitch to testify against Mr. Willingham in exchange for favorable treatment of the snitch; and 

2.  used various kinds of junk science to argue that the father had set fire to the home, killing his children.

Read the details in the Washington Post piece, " A Texas prosecutor is on trial for alleged misconduct," by Radley Balko published on May 3, 2017.  

Today, shocking many, the jury returned without any punishment for the prosecutor.  

Which makes the efforts of capital defense lawyers like Terence Lenamon all that more important and vital....

New DPIC Fact Sheet Released

 The Death Penalty Info Center just updated its Death Penalty Fact Sheet.  You can download the pdf by clicking on the image:

 

Lots of information here regarding capital punishment in the United States today. From the DPIC statistics, consider the following:

  • Since 1973, more than 155 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence.
  • Florida had the second highest death row population in the country, exceeded only by California, in October 2016.
  • Enforcing the death penalty costs Florida $51,000,000 MORE each year than if these 1st degree murder convictions had been given a sentence of with life without parole.
  • The South has the highest murder rate and over 80% of executions are performed in the South.
  • As of January 1, 2015, there were 56 women on death row in the United States.  No juveniles are on death row because capital crimes committed by juveniles cannot be given the death penalty according to a 2005 SCOTUS decision.

 

Bannister Trial to start August 2017 with Terence Lenamon Defending

Terence Lenamon and Florida Assistant State Attorney Robin Arnold have announced to the court that things are on schedule for the murder trial of James Bannister to begin on August 14, 2017.

For details, see the Ocala Star Banner coverage written by Katie Pohlman and published April 26, 2017 in "Quadruple-murder trial set to start in August."

 

Tags:

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.

Tags:

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.

 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...