Florida Supreme Court To Decide Constitutionality of Timely Justice Act After June 2013 Emergency All Writs Motion Filed

On June 26, 2013, a formal challenge to the new Timely Justice Act (read about this new law here) was filed before the Florida Supreme Court.  The image above is the acknowledgment by the state High Court -- and with it, an online notice that 

Because of significant public and media interest in this matter, this case has been designated as a high profile case and all material must be filed through the Florida Courts eFiling Portal. All documents filed will be posted on the Supreme Court web page. Parties are directed to ensure that all documents filed are in compliance with rules 2.420, 2.425 and 2.526 of the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration.

 

Emergency Petition to Florida Supreme Court to Stop Timely Justice Act

This filing is a joint effort to stop the impending Timely Justice Act from becoming Florida law because of its myriad of constitutional violations.  Given that the Florida Legislature passed this thing and Governor Rick Scott signed it into law, this emergency motion is an effort to stop some very, very bad things from happening in Florida courtrooms and on Florida's death row. 

From the Motion:

The Timely Justice Act violates the doctrine of Separation of Powers by requiring that constitutional officers of the judicial and executive branches of government take immediate actions upon the effective date of the Act, in accordance with a strict statutory time schedule, and by creating obligations on attorneys that conflict with preexisting, judicially-determined rules.

It also unconstitutionally suspends the writ of habeas corpus, violates due process by interfering with judicial resolution of constitutional claims, violates equal protection by limiting the successive claims of capital but not non-capital defendants, and will result in cruel and unusual punishments contrary to evolving standards of decency.

 

Will the Florida Supreme Court take action to block the Timely Justice Act? Stay tuned.

Texas Will Execute 500th Death Row Inmate Today: Kimberly McCarthy Will Die at Six O'Clock This Afternoon

 For those of you who saw Terry Lenamon during one of his many visits to Nancy Grace several weeks ago, to discuss the Jodi Arias sentencing phase, you may have heard some questions raised on the death penalty application to women as opposed to men.  

Do juries really sentence women to die?  Are women really executed in this country?  

Well, today's there is an example of a woman not only been sentenced to death but who will be executed for her punishment.  It's happening today, in Texas.

Kimberly McCarthy was convicted of killing her neighbor during a 1997 robbery where McCarthy was allegedly looking for cash and things to sell to support her drug habit.  McCarthy was tried and convicted and the appellate process went into action.  

However, it appears that all legal avenues have run their course and McCarthy will be executed at six o'clock today by lethal injection.  When this happens, she will make history.

Why?  Today's execution in Texas will be the 500th execution in the State of Texas since the death penalty was reinstated back in 1982.  

Complaint Filed Over Speech Made by Fifth Circuit Justice Edith Jones

 Edith Jones is a Justice and the former Chief Justice of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit - and as appellate lawyers will tell you, there's so much power to be found in federal appellate courts.  Not many cases make it past that level of review to the United States Supreme Court; accordingly, in many situations, the federal appellate court is the last word in the federal appeals process.

Which sorta explains why last week Terry Lenamon asked "whattha??" after reading coverage of a complaint being filed against Justice Edith Jones for comments she made in a speech entitled “Federal Death Penalty Review” at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law on February 20, 2013.

That was six days ago, and the controversy continues.  

Seems that the former chief justice gave a speech for lots of lawyers and judges up at the University of Pennsylvania which was not recorded.  However, so many people were outraged at what she had to say from the podium that seven people drafted affidavits swearing to what they heard, and they've been attached to a formal complaint.

One of the allegations, as described in the Complaint, is that she said:

  • The United States system of justice provides a positive service to capital-case defendants by imposing a death sentence, because the defendants are likely to make peace with God only in the moment before imminent execution;
  • Certain “racial groups like African Americans and Hispanics are predisposed to crime, are “‘prone’ to commit acts of violence,” and get involved in more violent and “heinous”crimes than people of other ethnicities;
  • Claims of racism, innocence, arbitrariness, and international standards are simply “red herrings” used by opponents of capital punishment;
  • Capital defendants who raise claims of “mental retardation” abuse the system;
  • The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Atkins v. Virginia prohibiting execution of persons who are “mentally retarded” was ill-advised and created a “slippery slope";
  • Mexican Nationals would prefer to be on death row in the United States rather than in prison in Mexico;
  • The country of Mexico does not provide and would not provide the legal protections that a Mexican National facing a death sentence in the United States would receive.

Read the Complaint here.

Read Jonathan Turley's take on things here.  

Meanwhile, today the news is spreading that a motion to keep Justice Edith Jones from reviewing a death penalty case has been granted.  Jones will not be a part of the three member panel that hears Texas Death Row inmate Elroy Chambers' federal appellate arguments.  

 

 

New Documentary for Your Consideration: "Death Row, a Journey From West Yorkshire to the Execution Chambers of America"

 Liz Green is the brainchild behind a new BBC Radio documentary dealing with capital punishment, it's entitled "Death Row, A Journey From West Yorkshire to The Execution Chambers Of America."

It's worth your time: of note, this documentary is a finalist in the New York International Radio Festival Awards.

Conceived, written, produced and presented by Liz Green.Technical production by Dan Dan Purvis , music consultant Dave Spice , production administration Liz Newman .

You can listen to it now by downloading the mp3 via Dropbox here, and after June 17, 2013, a link will be available as a winner's link at the Radio Festival site.  

 
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