Ohio: Walk to Stop Executions!

From the website: Walk Against the Death Penalty:

On Sunday October 4, 2015, abolitionists from Ohio and beyond will begin a 7 day 83 mile walk from the Lucasville prison where death row inmates are executed to the Statehouse in Columbus calling for an end to capital punishment as proposed in two bills pending in the House and Senate. 

Those unable to participate in the full walk can join the final two hour leg in Columbus on Saturday, October 10, the World Day Against the Death Penalty, or attend the 12 noon rally at Trinity Episcopal Church, 125 E. Broad St. across from the Capitol.  

Keynote speakers include OJPC director David Singleton and two murder victim family members Sam Reese Sheppard, and OTSE President Melinda Dawson.

End the death penalty in Pennsylvania!

From: Death penalty Focus:

It’s time to stop wasting scarce resources on Pennsylvania’s broken and unfair death penalty system that risks giving death sentences to innocent people, is costly, and fails to meet the needs of victims’ families.

Please take action now to make your voice heard!

Urge your legislators to vote Yes on SB 423, which would repeal Pennsylvania’s death penalty.

And simultaneously urge your legislators to No on HB 317, which would expand Pennsylvania’s death penalty.

You may personalize both the subject line and the letter below.

Please go here to sign: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1265/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6243

This action has been brought to you by Death Penalty Focus and Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

California, The World Knows!

From GILLESDENIZOT

You hide yourself and prevent others from seeing what you’re doing. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) would like to do precisely that: they want to resume state-sanctioned murders for the 700 human beings currently on California Death Row and they don’t want you to know.

In January 2010, over 8,000 letters were sent by individuals who voiced their opposition to proposed changes to the state’s lethal injection process. The changes were rejected, citing many of the objections raised by the public during the comment process. Less than three days after the state oversight agency rejected the regulations proposed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), the CDCR has proposed new changes to the procedures, opening another fifteen-day comment period. These changes —made practically overnight— create even more civil rights and civil liberties problems, not fewer: read the detailed analysis of the current changes to the California Lethal Injection Procedure here and then tell the CDCR that you disapprove.

In 1999, California executed a citizen of Thailand. Mr. Jaturun Siripongs was not informed by U.S. authorities upon arrest of his right to have his consulate notified of his detention, as required under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Ten years later, on July 26, 2009, a Mexican citizen, Miguel Angel Martinez, died in custody in California. His consulate was also not informed upon his arrest.

As of March 14, 2010, there are 56 reported foreign nationals under sentence of death in California, including a European citizen from Estonia. For at least 33 of them, there is a possible of confirmed violation of their consular rights.

You think this is revolting? There’s more! The CDCR may currently be trying to exclude reporters who are foreign nationals from witnessing executions. Yes, they want to execute behind closed doors and they do not want the world to know. But the world knows. And two-thirds of the world disapproves! Tell them again! Remind them about the First Amendment to the United States Constitution: ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’ And why not reminding them also about the Eighth Amendment? ‘Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.’ Cruel and unusual punishment is a phrase describing criminal punishment which is considered unacceptable due to the suffering or humiliation it inflicts on the condemned person.

Some say capital punishment in the USA is a private matter. They tell us it is none of our business. They tell us to look away and to remain silent (meanwhile, they also want to teach us about human rights). I object to this! There are issues that rise above national level. When a majority of countries have said no to executions, the minority needs to understand that the world is moving forward and that, eventually, capital punishment will be universally abolished. It is only a matter of time.

If you are part of the majority, tell the minority that there is NO right way to do the wrong thing! If you are part of the minority, listen to the voice of the world!

You have until Friday, June 25, 5 pm Pacific Daylight Time (GMT -7) to do so. Here are several possibilities, some will take only 1 minute of your time:

* Fill in your details and click to send the pre-written message via the secure ACLU of Northern California website
* Join Death Penalty Focus in Saying NO to Executions!
* Submit your letter by email right now to rpmb@cdcr.ca.gov (please add Elizabeth Zitrin, DP Focus International Outreach and Communications Project, ezitrin @ deathpenalty.org as copy to your email)
* Download a sample letter in French or English, personalize it if you wish and make it as long as you want. Then email it (as described above). You are even encouraged to write in your own language!

Remember that in this case “more IS more!” Let your friends know, share on social networks, and let’s get more than 8,000 letters this time! Thank you!

Ky. Pulls Inmates Out of Privately Run Prison

It’s always a good day when CCA loses business, isn’t it? Now, if we can convince Vermont lawmakers that cost and recidivism rates would be both lower if they house prisoners in state facilities, it would be yet another step forward!

WHNT19

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky has pulled out of a privately run prison in the eastern part of the state because of what state officials describe as budget concerns, leaving only out-of-state inmates at the facility.

The last Kentucky inmates at the Lee Adjustment Center in Beattyville left the facility June 14, said Lisa Lamb, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Corrections.

The prison, owned and operated by Nashville, Tenn.-based Corrections Corp. of America, also houses about 560 inmates on contract for Vermont, which uses out-of-state prisons to alleviate overcrowding.

The decision to remove inmates from the Beattyville prison saves Kentucky $43.62 per inmate per day — about $23,500 a day when Kentucky’s inmate population at the prison was at its peak of just over 540 inmates.

Rare federal case may put defendant on death row in Michigan

Paul Egan / The Detroit News

Detroit — Jury selection begins this morning for a type of trial rarely seen in Michigan — one in which the defendant could face the death penalty.
Timothy Dennis O’Reilly, 36, is charged with murdering Norman “Anthony” Stephens during a Dec. 14, 2001, holdup of an armored truck at the Dearborn Federal Credit Union.

Michigan was the first state in the union to ban capital punishment, in 1847, but death can still be imposed in Michigan for federal capital crimes such as murder during a bank robbery.

Tony Chebatoris of Hamtramck, the last person executed in Michigan, was hanged at Milan in 1938. His crime was similar to the one O’Reilly is charged with. Chebatoris shot and killed 50-year-old truck driver Henry Porter while escaping a bank robbery in Midland in 1937.

Nobody’s been executed in the state since, though Marvin Gabrion has sat on death row at a prison in Indiana since 2002, when a federal jury in Grand Rapids sentenced him to death for the brutal murder of Rachel Timmerman. Her handcuffed and chained body, weighted with cinder blocks, was found in a lake in a national forest, making Gabrion eligible for the death penalty. Gabrion’s case is being appealed.

Now, O’Reilly is the first of three defendants in the Dearborn robbery to go to trial in front of a jury and U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts. The case wasn’t charged until 2005 and complications related to capital cases resulted in it taking longer than normal to get to trial. Since a jury must be picked on which everyone is open to the idea of capital punishment, jury selection could take close to a month — also much longer than normal. The entire trial could take three months.

Two co-defendants, Norman Herbert Duncan and Kevin C. Watson, also face possible death sentences when they go to trial.

Another defendant, Earl L. Johnson, was sentenced to life in prison after a jury convicted him of conspiracy, bank robbery, and aiding and abetting a murder.
The 2001 Dearborn robbery, which netted more than $200,000 in cash and remained unsolved for years, was the first of three similar armored truck robberies. The other two happened at a Comerica on West Chicago in Detroit in June 2003 and February 2004.

At the last robbery the guard fired back, killing robber Eddie Cromer. The other man fled, but Detroit police arrested Duncan near the scene.

About six months later, the FBI received a letter from an inmate at Ryan Correctional Facility, saying O’Reilly, an inmate there, was bragging that he, Duncan, Watson and others had committed the Dearborn robbery.

According to documents filed in the case, O’Reilly later made taped admissions after the FBI helped the inmate conceal a tape recorder inside a radio in the prison yard.

O’Reilly and Duncan had worked for Guardian Armored Security Services, the company targeted in the 2003 and 2004 robberies.
Stephens, the victim in the Dearborn case, left a wife and young children and 12 brothers and sisters.

“They didn’t give him a chance,” his sister Mary Scott said in a 2007 interview. “I just can’t explain it to you, the hurt of the whole family.”

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100608/METRO/6080311/Murder-suspect-faces-death-penalty-in-rare-Michigan-case#ixzz0qHoEzzgi

Crime Report on CCA Scandal

The Crime Report
 

 Three years ago, the new administration of Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and many legislators were talking up the idea of Idaho’s next major prison being a private-sector operation. Imagine the potential savings, proponents said then. Maybe eventually Idaho could get out of the bricks-and-mortar corrections business altogether, says the Twin Falls (Id.) Times-News in an editorial. That was before Idaho got to know the Corrections Corporation of America better. For nearly a decade, CCA has operated the 2,000-inmate Idaho Correctional Center — easily the most trouble-prone prison in the state’s history.
Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that the state is fining CCA more than $40,000 and ordering it to fix problems with drug and alcohol treatment and medical care at ICC. Ten of 13 drug and alcohol counselors at the lockup aren’t qualified to provide treatment under CCA’s contract with the state. In March, the American Civil Liberties Union sued CCA — and the state — claiming violence is so rampant at the ICC that it’s known as “gladiator school” among inmates. The lawsuit claimed Idaho’s only private prison is extraordinarily violent, with guards deliberately exposing inmates to brutal beatings from other prisoners as a management tool. The ACLU’s Stephen Pevar said he has sued at least 100 jails and prisons, but none came close to the level of violence at Idaho Correctional Center. “Our country should be ashamed to send human beings to that facility,” he said. Not many legislators have much appetite anymore for another ICC-style facility in the state. There’s much more enthusiasm for alternative sentencing and drug, alcohol and mental-health courts to keep Idaho’s inmate numbers as low as possible.
Link: http://www.magicvalley.com/news/opinion/article_af794e96-3578-5ae5-91e1-78340daff5ee.html

Filed under: Article, Private Prisons, State Prisons

LEACH INTRODUCES BILL TO REPEAL DEATH PENALTY

HARRISBURG Press Release, March 16 – State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Delaware/Montgomery) announced at a Capitol press conference today that he has introduced legislation that would repeal the use of capital punishment in Pennsylvania.

The bill, which is currently circulating for co-sponsorship, would eliminate the option of capital punishment during criminal sentencing. Instead, the legislation would only allow for a maximum sentence of life in prison.

“It’s important to remember that the death penalty is a state program which, like all other programs, we must continually re-evaluate,” Leach said. “Is it cost effective? Is it reliable? Does it accomplish its intended goals? The answer to each of these questions is no, and it is time for Pennsylvania to eliminate this costly and ineffective practice.”

Speakers at the press conference included Leach; Ashlee Shelton, Executive Director of Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty; Rev. Walt Everett; and Ray Krone, a former death row inmate who was later proven innocent and exonerated from the crimes for which he was charged. Krone is now an advocate for the abolition of the death penalty.

The press conference coincided with a lobby day put together by the nonprofit organization Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Over forty advocates visited Harrisburg to meet with state legislators regarding the death penalty and to urge the suspension of executions until a thorough study of the capital punishment system can be conducted.

Shelton noted that the American Bar Association of Pennsylvania reported in 2007 that Pennsylvania’s capital punishment system is racially and economically biased and runs the risk of executing innocent people. She added that the mission of Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty is to abolish the death penalty completely.

“Philosophical beliefs about the death penalty aside, we must recognize the deadly risks involved with allowing a flawed system to exist and tackle this issue on a public policy level. We are here today to ask that both chambers commit to studying the system thoroughly so that we can move forward in a unified way once the findings are revealed,” Shelton said.

An editorial by The Patriot News noted that Pennsylvania, which has the 4th-highest number of death row inmates in the U.S., could save money by doing away with the death penalty. “Some studies say the price tag is as much as $2 million more for a prosecutor to put someone on death row than it would be to send someone to prison for life,” the article stated.
In addition, the Philadelphia-based American Law Institute recently argued against the death penalty, and said that it is impossible to administer the death penalty fairly and is a practice that should no longer be used.