Sunday, September 14, 2008

Troy Anthony Davis' execution date set: September 23

It is high time this piece of crud was wiped off the face of the earth.

Cop killers should be put to death; so should pedophiles and rapists.

What has happened to this country when we do not protect those who serve...and when we do not represent 'the least of those'?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Bush is out of his mind...

I posted below on this horrendous crime and here you have President Bush backing one of the vicious murderers of Elizabeth Pena and Jennifer Ertman.

Jose Medellin deserves the death penalty...

The intervention in the case by the Bush administration comes after the International Court of Justice found Medellin was not informed of his right to contact the Mexican Consulate for legal assistance.

That, according to the Hague, was a violation of a 1963 treaty known as the Vienna Convention.

"We find ourselves in an unusual position," Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz told the Houston Chronicle. "Texas is not regularly litigating against the United States. But sadly enough, the United States will appear alongside Medellin at the argument."

Medellin v. Texas will be argued Wednesday and could determine the fate of Medellin and 50 other Mexican killers on death rows in the United States, including more than a dozen in Texas. All of them say they were not told of their right to contact Mexico for legal help.

To hell with Mexico, these people deserve the sentences they get for the crimes they commit.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Incapacitation and deterrent effects of capital punishment

The incapacitation effect saves lives - that is, that by executing murderers you prevent them from murdering again and do, thereby, save innocent life (1-4, 7, 9, 10 & 15). The evidence of this is conclusive and incontrovertible. Furthermore, the individual deterrent effect also proves that executions save innocent life (7-9 & 11-18). This effect represents those potential murderers who did not murder under specific circumstances because of their fear of execution. There are many, perhaps thousands, of such documented cases, representing many innocent lives saved by the fear of execution. Circumstances dictate that the majority of these cases will never be documented and that the number of innocent lives saved by individual deterrence will be, and has been, much greater than we will ever be able to calculate. Finally, there are more than 30 years of respected academic studies which reveal a general, or systemic, deterrent effect, meaning that there is statistical proof that executions produce fewer murders (7-9 & 11-18). However, such studies are inconclusive because there are also studies that find no such effect - not surprising, as the U.S. has executed only 0.08% of their murderers since 1973. Because such studies are inconclusive, we must choose the option that may save innocent lives. For, if there is a general deterrent effect, and we do execute, then we are saving innocent lives. But, if there is a general deterrent effect and we don’t execute murderers, we are sacrificing innocent lives. If our judgement is in error regarding general deterrence, then such error must be made on the side of saving innocent lives and not on the side of sacrificing innocent lives. This is a moral imperative. Furthermore, the individual deterrent effect could not exist without the general deterrent effect bring present. The individual deterrent effect is proven. Therefore, even though it may be statistically elusive, the general deterrent effect is proven by individual deterrence. Individually and collectively, these three effects present a strong morale argument for executions. Executions save lives. Period. Our choice is to spare the lives of the murderers and to, thereby, sacrifice the lives of the innocent or to execute those murderers and to, thereby, spare the lives of the innocent.

1. 9-15% of those on death row committed, at least, one additional murder, prior to that murder (or those murders) which has currently put them on death row; 67% had a prior felony conviction; 42% had an active criminal justice status when they committed their capital offense; 14% of those sentenced to death from 1988-94, had received two or more death sentences ("Capital Punishment 1994", BJS 1995 & JFA). Should we err on the side of caution and protect the innocent and honor the memories of those murdered or should we give murderers the opportunity to harm again? Should we put prison personnel and other prisoners at any additional risk from known murderers? Prisoners on death row are 250% more likely to murder, in prison, than are prisoners in the general population. Lester, D., "Suicide and Homicide on Death Row", American Journal of Psychiatry, 143, 559, 1986.

Obviously, those executed can’t murder again. "Of the roughly 52,000 state prison inmates serving time for murder in 1984, an estimated 810 had previously been convicted of murder and had killed 821 persons following their previous murder convictions. Executing each of these inmates would have saved 821 lives." (41, 1 Stanford Law Review, 11/88, pg. 153) Using a 75% murder clearance rate, it is most probable that the actual number of lives saved would have been 1026, or fifty times the number legally executed that year. This suggests that some 10,000 persons have been murdered, since 1971, by those who had previously committed additional murders (JFA). See B.5.

Death penalty opponents spend millions of dollars and countless man hours fighting the legal execution of, at most, 56 of our worst human rights violators per year, when they do nothing to fight for the end of those inhumane parole and probation release policies which result in the needless injury and slaughter of the innocent. "The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that convicted criminals free on parole and probation . . . commit ‘at least’ 84,800 violent crimes every year, including 13,200 murders, 12,900 rapes, and 49,500 robberies." American Guardian, May 1997, pg. 26. Incredibly, this slaughter does not include violent crimes committed by repeat offenders who are released and who are not on "supervision". Where is the compassion in honoring the previous victim’s suffering and in protecting the human rights of future victims? Opponents’ actions show virtually no compassion for the victims of violent crime or concern for future victims, yet, they exhibit overwhelming support for those who violate our human rights and murder our loved ones.

9-15% of those on death row committed, at least, one additional murder, prior to that murder (or those murders) which has currently put them on death row; 67% had a prior felony conviction; 42% had an active criminal justice status when they committed their capital offense; 14% of those sentenced to death from 1988-94, had received two or more death sentences ("Capital Punishment 1994", BJS 1995 & JFA). Should we err on the side of caution and protect the innocent and honor the memories of those murdered or should we give murderers the opportunity to harm again? Should we put prison personnel and other prisoners at any additional risk from known murderers? Prisoners on death row are 250% more likely to murder, in prison, than are prisoners in the general population. Lester, D., "Suicide and Homicide on Death Row", American Journal of Psychiatry, 143, 559, 1986.

With no death penalty and only life without parole (LWOP), there is no deterrent for LWOP inmates killing others while in prison or after escape. Indeed, there is actually a positive incentive to murder if a criminal has committed a LWOP offense and had not yet been captured. Currently, there are a number of inmates who have killed numerous people in prison or after escape. Their punishment could not be increased because there is no death penalty in those states. Therefore, they will never be punished for those crimes. Never. Totally unacceptable, by any standard. Not surprisingly, death penalty opponents believe that LWOP is more severe than the death penalty. Hamilton, V., & Rakin, L.: "Interpreting the 8th Amendment", Bedau, H., & Pierce, C., ed., Capital Punishment in the United States, New York, AMS, 1976. This absurd belief, which has now become the newest mantra of opponents, is contradicted by all other surveyed groups, including prisoners (B.11 & 16).

There are four rational conclusions one can make regarding general, or systemic, deterrence. (1) If the death penalty is not a deterrent and we execute, then we are executing our worst human rights violators. (2) If the death penalty is a deterrent and we execute, then we are executing those criminals and saving innocent lives. (3) If the death penalty is not a deterrent and we don’t execute, then we are not sacrificing innocent lives. (4) If the death penalty is a deterrent and we don’t execute, then we are sacrificing innocent lives. Regarding deterrence, it is necessary to err on the side of saving innocent life and not to err on the side of sacrificing innocent life. These are moral imperatives.

There are two mistakes we can make with those convicted of violent crimes. First, we can misjudge their character and keep them incarcerated too long, when they could have become constructive free persons, repaying even more their debt to society and to their victim(s). Secondly, we can misjudge their character and release them too soon, so that they further destroy the lives of our children, our brothers and sisters, our spouses and our parents, creating additional economic, physical, emotional and spiritual loss. For far too long, the U.S. has chosen to err on the side of those who have violated our human rights and has, thereby, expanded the river of blood and tears for victims and their survivors (See B.3). No more. Not in our name. We demand that the memories and suffering of crime victims be honored by justice - that is by a just punishment which reflects the severity of the crime. And, we must always err on the side of caution and compassion for those not yet harmed.

The most conclusive evidence that criminals fear the death penalty more than life without parole is provided by convicted capital murderers and their attorneys. 99.9% of all convicted capital murderers and their attorneys argue for life, not death, in the punishment phase of their trial. When the death penalty becomes real, murderers fear it the most. While it is obvious that the fear of execution did not deter those murderers from committing a capital crime, it is also clear that such fear is reduced because executions are neither swift nor sure in the U.S. However, as the probability of that punishment rises for those murderers, even they show a great fear of the death penalty. Although you will never deter all murderers, the effect of deterrence will rise as the probability of executions rise. Because, as the probability of executions rises, the fear of that punishment will also rise. And, that which we fear the most deters the most. Indeed, prisoners rate the death penalty as the most feared punishment, much more so than life without parole. Sehba, L. & Nathan, G., "Further Explorations in the Scale of Penalties", British Journal of Criminology, 24:221-249, 1984.

Opponents proclaim that the death penalty is a barbaric act so dreadful in its implications that we can hardly bear to contemplate the horrors of its terrible character. On the other hand, they also assert that potential murderers, when confronted with the horrors of execution, will not be deterred by its infliction upon them. That proposition is, of course, absurd on the face of it (Revised from M. Stanton Evans, Clear and Present Danger).

Assume that all murderers would instantly die upon murdering. Murderers would then kill only if they wished to die themselves. Murder/suicide is an extremely small component of all murders. Therefore, if a swift and sure death penalty was universally applied to our worst criminals, it is logically conclusive that the death penalty would be a significant deterrent and that many innocent lives would be saved. In fact, swift and sure executions do result in deterrence: (A) The greater the publicity surrounding executions, the greater the deterrent effect. Phillips, D. "The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment". American Journal of Sociology, 86;139-158, 1980: Philipps, D. & Hensley, J., "When Violence is Rewarded or Punished". J. Commun., 34(3); 101-116, 1984; and the various studies by Prof. Steven Stack, Wayne St. U.(1988-1995) and (B) The higher the rate of execution, the greater the deterrent effect. Lester, D. "Executions As A Deterrent To Homicide", 44:562,1979a and "Deterring Effect of Executions on Murder as a Function of Number and Proportion of Executions", 45:598, 1979b, both from Psychol. Rep. and Wasserman, L.: "Non-deterrent Effect of Executions on Homicide Rates", Psychol. Rep., 58:137-138, 1981. The State of Delaware has the highest execution rate per capita and low homicide rates.

The individual deterrent effect is proven by many, perhaps thousands, of individual, fully documented cases where criminals have admitted that the death penalty was the specific threat which deterred them and/or others from committing murder. Indeed, one study showed that criminals, by a 5:1 ratio, believed that capital punishment was a significant enough deterrent to prevent them and/or others from murdering their victims (People vs Love, 56 Cal 2d 720 (1961), McComb, J. dissenting. see also: (A) "Controversy Over Capital Punishment", Congressional Digest, Jan.,’73, p. 13; (B) L.A.P.D. study within Aikens vs Ca., No. 68-5027, Oct. Term, 1971, U.S. Supreme Court; ( C ) Carol Vance, "The Death Penalty After Furman", The Prosecutor, vol. 9, no. 4 (1973), p. 703; (D) Carrington, F., Neither Cruel Nor Unusual, Pgs. 92-100(1978); (E) Don Hooloschultz, "Gunman Slain, Hostages O.K.", Washington Star News, 8/23/73, p.A-1; (F) Jim Landers, "4 Guilty in Holdup Sentence", Washington Post, 12/8/73,p.B-1; (G) Larry Derryberry, "It Is The Fear That Death May Be The Punishment That Deters", Police Digest, Spring/Summer 1973, p.27, col.2. ; (H) "Langley says Texas death penalty affected his actions during escape", by Stephen Martin, The Daily Democrat (Ft. Madison, Iowa), 1/8/97, pg 1. Indeed, prisoners rate the death penalty as a much more severe penalty than they do life without parole (B.12).While it is difficult to prove a negative, i.e. "How many murders does the death penalty cause not to occur?", there is absolute evidence that the individual deterrent effect of executions saves innocent lives. Extensive worldwide research on individual deterrence would, undoubtedly, reveal significant general deterrent effect.

Regarding the deterrent affect of the death penalty, poet Hyam Barshay made the following observation, "The death penalty is a warning, just like a lighthouse throwing beams out to sea. We hear about shipwrecks, but we do not hear about the ships the lighthouse guides safely on their way. We do not have proof of the number of ships it saves, but we do not tear the lighthouse down." Prof. Ernest van den Haag, "On Deterrence and The Death Penalty", Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology and Police Science, vol. 60, no.2 (1969).

30 years of studies suggest that the death penalty is a general, or systemic, deterrent. (See works by Profs. D. Cloninger, S. Cameron, I. Ehrlich, W. Bailey, D. Lester, S. Layson, K. I. Wolpin, L. Phillips, S. C. Ray, S. Stack, etc.) Examples: a) A 1967-68 study revealed 27 states showed a deterrent effect (Bailey, W.,1974); b) The 1960's showed a rapid rise in all crimes, including murder, while both prison terms and executions declined (Passell, P. & Taylor, T., 1977; Bowers, W. & Pierce, G., 1975); c) Murder increased 100% during the U.S.’s moratorium on executions (Carrington, F., Neither Cruel Nor Unusual); d) 14 nations that abolished the death penalty showed that murder rates increased 7% from the 5 year pre-abolition period to the 5 year post abolition period (Archer, et al, 1977); e) A 37 state study showed that 24 states showed a deterrent effect, 8 states showed a brutalization effect and 5 states showed no effect (Bailey, W., 1979-80); and f) econometric studies indicate that each execution may deter 8 or more murders ( Cameron, S., 1994). Although these studies have been produced by respected social scientists, there are also studies which show no general deterrent effect. Indeed, with the complexity of these studies and with the number of variables required to accurately measure the general deterrent effect of executions on murder rates, it is arguable if there ever will be a statistical consensus with general deterrence studies. With so few executions and so many murders, the general deterrent effect may remain statistically elusive. However, it is that very inconclusive nature of general deterrence which provides the two reasons which require executions. First, we must choose to use executions because they may save innocent life. Whereas, if we choose not to use executions and there is a general deterrent effect, we would be sacrificing innocent lives. Therefore, a moral imperative exists to choose executions (see B. 9). Secondly, the individual deterrent effect would not exist but for the presence of general deterrence. And because the individual deterrent effect is proven and cannot be contradicted, we know that the general deterrent effect must exist, even though its existence may remain inconclusive by statistical analysis.

Opponents state that if the death penalty was a deterrent then states that have the death penalty would have a reduced homicide rate. Delaware, which executes more murderers per capita than any other state in the U.S.A., also has low homicide rates. Furthermore, general or systemic deterrence is not necessarily measured by low or reduced homicide rates, but by rates that are lower than they otherwise would be if the death penalty was not present. Additionally, some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, have swift and sure executions and very low violent crime rates. It is not surprising that the U.S., which has executed only 0.06% of its murderers since 1967, does not overtly show a general deterrent effect. While most in the U.S. would not advocate criminal justice systems like that of Saudi Arabia, it is also very clear that the American criminal justice system fosters the additional slaughter of its own innocent citizens.

The highest murder rate in Houston (Harris County), Texas occurred in 1981, with 701 murders. Texas resumed executions in 1982. Since that time, Houston (Harris County) has executed more murderers than any other city or state (except Texas) AND has seen the greatest reduction in murder, 701 in 1981 down to 261 in 1996 - a 63% reduction, representing a 270% differential! (FBI, UCR, 1982 & Houston Chronicle, 2/1/97, pg. 31A).


Miguel Rios execution stayed

On August 27, 1992 Miguel Rios rang the doorbell of a residence where Jose Ortiz lived with his girlfriend, Carmen Colon, their two-year old son, and Carmen’s sister, Irma Colon. When Irma Colon answered the door, she found Rios dressed in a Philadelphia Gas Works uniform and representing that he was there to check the gas meter.

After being let into the house, Rios took hold of Irma Colon’s neck and demanded that she give him the key to admit an accomplice into the house. Rios and his accomplice proceeded to the bedroom in which Mr. Ortiz, Carmen Colon and their son were sleeping. He threatened to kill Irma Colon unless Ortiz let him into the bedroom.

Rios then demanded money, jewelry, and drugs. Rios forced Ortiz and Irma Colon to the floor, threatening to kill them if he did not find what he was seeking. The accomplice proceeded to ransack the house. Rios beat Irma Colon in the head with his gun until she lost consciousness. Carmen Colon watched as Rios and his accomplice beat Ortiz and bound his hands and feet. Her eyes were closed when she heard a gunshot. When she opened them, she saw Ortiz laying on the floor with a gunshot wound to the head. Thereafter, both Irma and Carmen Colon were able to identify Rios from a police photo array.

After a warrant was issued, Rios was apprehended while hiding in the closet of a home in Lancaster and arrested. On June 17, 1993 a jury convicted Rios of first-degree murder, robbery, unlawful restraint, aggravated assault, burglary, criminal conspiracy, and possession of an instrument of a crime.

At the penalty phase, the jury found three aggravating circumstances: the murder occurred in the perpetration of a felony (burglary); defendant knowingly created a grave risk of death to another; and defendant had a significant history of violent crime felony convictions.

The jury found two mitigating circumstances: defendant was under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance at the time of the crime; and the defendant’s circumstances fit within the catch-all mitigating circumstance. As the mitigating circumstances were out-weighed by the aggravating circumstances, the jury sentenced Rios to death for the murder of Jose Ortiz.

Date of execution scheduled: July 12, 2007



Rolando Ruiz: granted stay of execution

Michael Rodriguez hired a hit man, Rolando Ruiz, to kill his wife Theresa Rodriguez in 1992. In the winter of 1995 Rodriguez plead guilty to capital murder. There was sufficient evidence at trial from which the jury could conclude that Ruiz was hired by Mark and Michael Rodriguez to murder Michael’s wife, Theresa, for two thousand dollars; that he did so by shooting her in the head at close range with a .357 revolver. "He paid the hit man $2,000 to have his wife killed," Judge Mark Luitjen, a former prosecutor, said of Rodriguez.

Luitjen was the prosecutor that sent five men, including Rodriguez and his brother, to prison for plotting the murder of Theresa Rodriguez. Michael Rodriguez's brother Mark received a life sentence. The man who actually pulled the trigger, Rolando Ruiz, is behind bars on death row. "You have to wonder who is worse, the person who has a loved one killed or the person who will kill someone for money," Luitjen said. Theresa Rodriguez was shot to death in the garage of the couple's house. She had just arrived home with her husband and his brother when the hit man opened fire. Prosecutors believe the brothers wanted to collect insurance money. In December of 2000, Michael Rodriguez escaped from prison as a member of the Texas 7. During the ensuing crime spree, police officer Aubrey Hawkins was murdered when he interrupted a hold-up.


Ruiz has been granted a stay of execution.

Ms. Rodriguez's sister, Yolanda Dolmolin, was upset by the stay. "He's got rights, but nobody ever talks about the victim and her rights because she's dead," Ms. Dolmolin said. "And all that's gotten lost in the last 15 years."

She and her sister and brother were among those who had been waiting several hours to witness the execution.


Will update when more information becomes available.


Lonnie Earl Johnson, scheduled to die July 24

Lonnie Earl Johnson was convicted and sentenced to death for the double murders of two teenage boys.

Johnson approached the boys outside of a convenience store in Tomball, a small suburb northwest of Houston, and asked for a ride. They agreed, but when they were about 4 miles from the store, Johnson forced the pair out of the vehicle at gunpoint and shot each of them several times. Leroy "Punkin" McCaffrey ran away from the scene but Johnson chased him for a distance of about 350 feet before catching and killing him.

Johnson then stole Sean's truck and drove to Austin to see his girlfriend. He told her that he had killed two boys. He later dumped the stolen truck in San Marcos, Texas, and sold the murder weapon for cocaine. He was arrested after two weeks and he claimed that he killed the boys in self-defense.

Chris Schultz and Laura McCaffrey are the boys' mothers and they were outraged when they found a web page dedicated to their sons' killer. The mothers said Johnson is still victimizing their sons from his cell on death row. Chris Schultz, mother of Sean Fulk, told a local Houston reporter,
"When something like this comes up, you start thinking of all the horrible things they had to go through."
Punkin McCaffrey's mom, Laura agreed.
"Then when you read all that, you start re-hashing it all in your mind, it brings it all back to you. And it hurts."
Johnson's web page says that the women's sons were racists, and says he was simply fighting his own "lynching." Chris Schultz said of the web site, "He's being allowed to say anything about these kids."



Justice for Mark Allan McPhail

At midnight on August 18, 1989, Mark Allen MacPhail, a Savannah police officer, reported for work as a security guard at the Greyhound bus station in Savannah, adjacent to a fast-food restaurant.

According to Court records, Troy Anthony Davis shot into a car that was leaving a party on Cloverdale Drive in a Savannah subdivision and struck a man in the head, severely injuring him by a bullet that lodged in his right jaw.

A few hours later, as the Burger King restaurant was closing, a fight broke out in which Davis struck a homeless man in the head with a pistol. Officer MacPhail, wearing his police uniform -- including badge, shoulder patches, gun belt, .38 revolver and nightstick -- ran to the scene of the disturbance. Davis fled. When Officer MacPhail ordered him to halt, Davis turned around and shot him. Officer MacPhail fell to the ground. Davis, smiling, walked up to the stricken officer and shot him several more times. The officer's gun was still in his holster.

Mark MacPhail wore a bullet-proof vest, but the vest did not cover his sides and the fatal bullet entered the left side of his chest, penetrated his left lung and aorta, and came to rest at the back of his chest cavity. The officer was also shot in the left cheek and the right leg.

The next afternoon, Davis told a friend that he had been involved in an argument at the restaurant the previous evening and struck someone with a gun. He told the friend that when a police officer ran up, Davis shot him and that he went to the officer and "finished the job" because he knew the officer got a good look at his face when he shot him the first time. After his arrest, Davis told a cellmate a similar story. A shell casing that was found at the scene of the murder was linked to the Cloverdale Drive shooting. A woman who was staying in a hotel across the street from where Mark MacPhail was murdered identified Troy Davis as the shooter after seeing a photograph of him. She also chose his photo from a 5-person lineup, as well as identified him at his trial. Numerous other eyewitnesses also identified Davis.


Davis was given a stay of execution on July 16, when his execution date was set for July 17. They have until October 14th.

The usual lobbying groups have now jumped into the act: Amnesty International, the Vatican, Rep John Lewis (D-GA).

Ga. Judge Rejects Bid to Halt Execution (excerpt)

Superior Court Judge Penny Haas Freesemann said in her ruling Friday that Georgia courts generally do not favor granting retrials in such cases, and that the evidence presented by Davis' lawyers failed to meet strict standards required by state law.

Prosecutors had argued that most of the witness affidavits, signed between 1996 and 2003, were included in Davis' previous appeals and should not be considered new evidence.

Davis' lawyers say appeals courts never considered any new evidence, instead focusing on whether his constitutional rights had been violated.

"Clearly, the defendant has brought these motions for the purpose of delay," David Lock, Chatham County chief assistant district attorney, wrote in a response filed Tuesday.

The judge also rejected the affidavits by people claiming they heard Coles confess to the murder, say they "contain inadmissible hearsay."