Florida Execution by Firing Squads or Electric Chair - Legislation Seeks to End Lethal Injection Method of Execution

Right now, the Florida House of Representatives has before it a bill that would end lethal injections as a method of execution.  This bill doesn't end the death penalty, though (that's a different bill): this proposed legislation, if it becomes law, will return Florida to its prior methods of carrying out capital punishment.

That's right.  Old Sparky or the Firing Squad would be back as the two ways that executions would be carried out here in the State of Florida.

Who's responsible for this?  Florida State Rep. Brad Drake -- and he's getting lots of news coverage from this, too.  Coast to coast. 

We've already written on the method of killing people in electric chairs; go here if you want to know more about it. 

Hank Skinner DNA Fight in Texas: Execution or Innocence Hearing? Following The Web Coverage

On Texas Death Row, Henry Watkins "Hank" Skinner is fighting to have DNA testing done of evidence that he argues will support his claims of innocence in the beating death of his girlfriend,  Twila Busby, and her two grown-up sons back in 1993. 

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion that Skinner could proceed in civil court, arguing violation of his civil rights under the Civil Rights Act (42 U.S.C. § 1983) because the State of Texas post-conviction law on when DNA testing can be done after there has been a trial and a sentencing are in violation of those civil rights. 

The High Court didn't decide that the DNA testing could happen.  It just opened the doors to a civil courtroom debate on what had happened much earlier, in a criminal one.  This is a big deal.  

Right now, Hank Skinner is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas on November 9, 2011.

Lots of folk are following the case of Hank Skinner.  Some, because they are interested in the civil rights aspects of the case  Some, because they are against the death penalty.  Others are following along because they believe that Hank Skinner is an innocent man. 

One person with a particularly unique perspective here is Kirk Bloodsworth, who supports Skinner's request that the DNA be tested as the first Death Row inmate in the United States to be exonerated after post-conviction DNA testing proved Bloodsworth to be innocent.

No matter the reason for your interest, here are some sites that are doing a fine job in bringing consistent information to us all regarding the Hank Skinner case:

What Can You Do for Hank Skinner?

Other than informing others, etc., you can sign the petition by the Texas Coalition here or contact the Texas Governor by phone, fax, or email at the contact information provided on his web site. 




QEEG Brain Mapping Used in Another Florida Death Penalty Case

Terry Lenamon fought long and hard to get QEEG Brain Mapping introduced as evidence in the death penalty trial of Grady Nelson last fall.  The QEEG evidence was introduced.  The judge  sentenced Grady Nelson not to a sentence of death, but instead to life imprisonment. 

That was almost a year ago, and now QEEG evidence is being fought for by another death penalty defendant, Huberto Delgado, here in  Florida.

Over in Tampa, Florida Public Defender Julie Holt is pushing for the introduction of  QEEG brain-mapping tests as part of her defense of  Humberto Delgado, who is facing the death penalty for the alleged shooting death of Tampa Police Officer Mike Roberts. 

The prosecution is fighting hard against the introduction of the QEEG evidence and expert testimony has been presented by both sides as to whether or not the QEEG testing and analysis should become evidence at trial.  Trial is set to begin October 31, 2011.  The judge has not yet ruled on the QEEG evidence in the Delgado trial.  

What is QEEG? 

QEEG is different than other brain imaging tools. Past scientific attempts to understand the brain were done via things like x-rays, CAT scans (Computerized Axial Tomography scans) or MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) -- each dealing more with the structure of the brain than how it was operating at any given juncture.

Enter QEEG.  With QEEG (Quantitative Electroencephalography), experts can study how a particular subject's brain is functioning -- in real time -- through this painless evaluation of the brain's electrical activity.

Sensors are being placed upon the scalp which read electrical neuron activity under certain conditions (eyes closed, open, etc.). Result? QEEG, with expert analysis, gives information on exactly how well, or how lacking, a particular person's brain is capable of functioning.

Alabama Death Row Inmate Cory Maples Argues His Plight to the U.S. Supreme Court - Will the Justices Correct Lawyer Errors?

Cory Maples sits on Death Row over in Alabama, after having obvious and serious errors made by both his trial and appellate counsel which included some pretty big names in the legal industry.

And by "obvious and serious," we really mean blatant, ludicrous, and shameful treatment of an indigent defendant by, among others, one of the purportedly top law firms in the country, Sullivan and Cromwell. 

Maples Argues to the United States Supreme Court This Week

Yesterday, Mr. Maples argued to the highest court in the land for some justice -- and now, we must wait and see if the United States Supreme Court will fix a blatant glitch in the system that has allowed Mr. Maples' case to get as far down the road to execution as it has.


Even Business Week reported that oral arguments before the High Court were " lively," and other media sources have gone so far as to characterized what happened on Tuesday as suggesting that the Justices were "unusually sympathetic" toward Maples' plight. 

One big example, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., whose past experience as a federal prosecutor often brings with it a prosecutorial perspective to criminal matters brought before the court (just go read a few, if you're wondering about this), asked a question that lots of attorneys across the country are asking even now: 

when it was obvious that the ball had been dropped, why didn't the government agree to waive the deadline and agree to a new hearing?  Or, as Justice Alito asked:

“Mr. Maples has lost his right to appeal through no fault of his own, through a series of very unusual and unfortunate circumstances....Now, when his attorneys moved to file an out-of-time appeal, why wouldn’t you just consent to that?”

Error after Error by Attorneys Appointed to Represent Cory Maples

We've been following Mr. Maples case for a long while now; for background, please check out our prior posts "Will A Law Firm Missing a Deadline Fail to Stop the Execution of Alabama Death Row's Cory R. Maples?" and "Death Penalty Defense: Cory Maples' Sullivan & Cromwell Representation vs Sakineh Ashtiani's Mohammed Mostafaei."

Let us all hope and pray that justice is served here. 

To review the United States Supreme Court docket for Cory R. Maples, go here.



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