Thursday, December 18, 2008

Missouri: A Tale of Two Petitions

Bill McClellan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has written an article that covers several topics but, along the way, it says this:
Let's return to the criminal justice system. In September, I wrote about two prisoners trying to get executive clemency from our lame-duck governor. Jack Rapheld is doing a life sentence for murder. Thirty-two years ago, he killed Judith Ann Atchison, who was then 19. He stabbed her more than 30 times and he slashed her throat. His supporters say he has changed in prison. More to the point, those supporters are prominent people. They include Ed Martin, Blunt's former chief of staff, former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent and former state Sen. Franc Flotron, who went to high school with Rapheld. Handling the legal work is Gerald Ortbals, who was chief of staff for Gov. Joe Teasdale.

The other prisoner is Rachel Miller. She and her boyfriend robbed a Waffle House in May of 2006. It was her first offense. She pleaded guilty without the benefit of a plea bargain. She received a 10-year sentence. Her supporters are led by her father, who is dying of lung cancer. He said, "Rachel has always been a pretty good-sized girl, and any time somebody paid a little attention to her and treated her like she wanted to be treated, she sort of went nuts." Others who wrote letters were family friends, a teacher and the former cellmate of her boyfriend, who wrote that the robbery was the boyfriend's idea and he needed Rachel's car. Her petition for clemency was a homemade affair. She did not have a lawyer.

One of the two petitions has already been rejected. Guess which one.
See McClellan's entire piece here.

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