Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Ronald Allen Smith is sitting on Montana's death row because he pleaded guilty to double homicide in 1983 and asked to be sentenced to death. Just three weeks before his plea, Smith turned down an offer of life imprisonment in return for a guilty plea. After he began serving his sentence, however, Smith changed his mind and his death sentence was overturned three times before is was reimposed. In 2005, Smith's lawyer and the government of Canada began actively negotiating to win clemency from Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer (D). However, Canada (which originally approached Smith for assistance) halted the negotiation effort on Oct. 31, 2007, and the 50-year old Smith is now asking the Federal Court of Canada to force the federal government to continue help him in the search for a commutation of sentence. Story here and here.