Showing posts with label Georgia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Georgia. Show all posts

Monday, September 15, 2008

Georgia: One Last Hearing

The Effingham Herald reports Jack Alderman - who was recently granted a stay of execution - will get another opportunity to make his case for clemency before the State Board of Pardons and Paroles. The judicial order also claimed Alderman, convicted of a murder committed in 1975, "has not received the meaningful hearing with the Board required by law.” Meanwhile the Department of Corrections continues to prepare for the execution, scheduled for tomorrow evening. See story here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Florida: Secrecy in Georgia Clemency Process

The Jacksonville Times-Union is featuring a somewhat odd story on the clemency process in the State of Georgia. More specifically, reporter Jack Armstrong is interested in the high level of "secrecy" that surrounds clemency processes and decision making. He notes, for example, that the state Board of Pardons and Paroles "did not disclose what influenced its decision" when it denied clemency for Troy Anthony Davis this past week and that "it doesn't have to." Armstrong also says testimony and evidence presented to the Board also "remains forever secret."

While the Board craves its privacy, other participants in the process are a lot less shy. Recently, supporters of Jack Alderman bought a full-page advertisement in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and set up an online petition (www.justiceforjack.org) encouraging the Board to grant clemency in his case. But commutations of death sentences have been granted in only 3 of 24 cases in the last 13 years. See story here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Georgia: Rejection

The Atlanta Journal Constitution and WABE report that the State Board of Pardons and Paroles today refused to grant clemency to "convicted cop killer" Troy Anthony Davis "even though seven of the nine witnesses against him have since recanted." The regional director for Amnesty International is said to be "bewildered" by the Board's decision which came only hours after a hearing on the matter. See story here and here.

Georgia: The British Seek Clemency

PardonPower has covered the case of Jack Alderman, who is scheduled to die in Georgia in a few days, but this article from the Telegraph (UK) provides some interesting, new angles on the case. It is reported that "leaders of the legal profession" in England and Wales are "calling on the Foreign Secretary David Miliband to try to stop the execution." Alderman is reported to have spent 34 years on "death row" - the longest period among current inmates. There are now "grave concerns" about the "strength" of the evidence against Alderman. Paul Marsh, President of the Law Society, says, "To execute him now after 34 years, living with the ever present and mounting anguish of awaiting the death penalty, would amount to cruel and inhuman punishment." Clive Stafford Smith says “He is an old man now. This whole situation is just obscene.”

Georgia: Before the Board

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting on Troy Anthony Davis, who is scheduled to be executed later this month. Today, his attorneys will be seeking a commutation of sentence from the State's Board of Pardons and Paroles. Meanwhile, several hundred people protested at the Capitol on Thursday, the gathering being sponsored by Amnesty International and the NAACP. Davis told the gathering (over a speaker phone), "I am an innocent man. Until I’m free, justice is not done.” See story here.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Georgia: Clemency Hearing

The Atlanta Progressive News reports that the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles have granted a hearing to the attorneys of Troy Davis. A petition for clemency was filed with the Board earlier this week as Davis' execution is scheduled for September 23. It is reported that "seven of nine witnesses prosecutors used to obtain Davis’s conviction have recanted or changed their testimony in sworn affidavits since the conviction in 1991." In addition "one of the two remaining witnesses has been implicated by some of the others as the actual killer." See story here.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Georgia: Hearing Denied

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the state Board of Pardons and Paroles has decided that it will not grant a clemency hearing for Jack Alderman who is scheduled for execution on September 16. Alderman killed his wife for insurance money in 1974, but it is reported that his lawyer insists he has been a "a model inmate, serving as a peacemaker and mentor to the other inmates on death row." See article here.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Georgia: Rejection. Execution.

Former president Jimmy Carter, former US Attorney General Griffin Bell, and Norman Fletcher, the ex-chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court all supported clemency for Curtis Osborne, but the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied the request on Monday and Osborne was executed Wednesday night.

Osborne's original attorney hired no psychiatrist to evaluate his client's mental state or history, even though a court-ordered sanity evaluation had found “indications of depression, paranoia and suicidal ideation.” There was no investigation of evidence that Osborne was the victim of childhood abuse. It is also claimed that he was never informed of a possible plea bargain. In 2000, a prisoner serving a life sentence for murder, signed an affidavit saying Osborne's attorney said he would not spending much money defending Osborne because “that little nigger deserves the chair.”

Kate Randall observes:
The Death Penalty Information Center estimates that 44 prisoners with mental retardation have been executed since the 1976 reinstatement of the death penalty. These latest executions show that the high court’s 2002 ruling is not a clear barrier to sending such condemned prisoners to their deaths.
See story here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Georgia: Moral Turpitude. It just depends ...

The State Constitution reads:
Anyone convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude cannot vote until they complete their sentence and pay all associated fees and fines.
The Secretary of State's Office interprets the above passage to refer to all felonies. As a result, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, over 280,000 felons in Georgia are "disenfranchised." Nancy Abudu, staff counsel for the ACLU Voting Rights Project also notes: "Given disparities in race and class, the population it affects the most is also the population that is also disparately impacted by criminal justice." The premise is based on the estimate that about half of the 280,000 felons are African-American.

Georgia: Former President Supports Clemency Bid

The Atlanta Journal Constitution is featuring an interesting article on Curtis Osborne who was convicted of double murder and is scheduled to be executed on June 4. Osborne's lawyers contend that his defense attorney (now dead) was "racially prejudiced." As a result, a "paltry defense" was presented and Osborne was not told of an offer to exchange a guilty plea for a life sentence. A federal appeals court has rejected a request for a new trial based on such claims. Now, the State parole board will hear a request for clemency, just a few days after it commuted the death sentence of Samuel David Crowe to life in prison. Attorneys will introduce the board to two former clients of the dead attorney who will say that they heard him use racial slurs.

The Constitution also reports
Former President Jimmy Carter, former deputy U.S. Attorney General Larry Thompson and former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Fletcher are sending letters to the board, requesting clemency for Osborne ...
Fletcher, says he remembers the defense attorney's "ineptness" and "shortcomings," but District Attorney Scott Ballard opposes clemency. A psychiatrist, George Woods, says that, if experts had been hired, a history of mental illness and "chemical dependency" in Osborne's family would have been given much-deserved attention. See story here.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Georgia: Last-Minute Commutation of Sentence!

Three hours before the state was about to execute Samuel David Crowe, the 5-member Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles commuted his sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole. As of yet, the Board has not provided an official justification or explanation for its decision. It is reported, however, that Crowe "takes full responsibility for his crime and experiences profound remorse." See article here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Georgia: One Last Hearing?

The state Board of Pardons and Paroles is set to hear an appeal for clemency on Thursday from lawyers representing Samuel David Crowe, a convicted murderer. As it happens, Thursday is also the day that Crowe is scheduled to be executed. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Crowe's appeal for a stay on Tuesday as his lawyers challenged the way Georgia administers the three-drug "cocktail" for lethal injection. A stay of execution is also being sought in the Georgia Supreme Court.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Georgia: Rejection

CNN reports (here) that Georgia's Parole and Pardon Board has denied William Earl Lynd's request for clemency. If executed tomorrow evening, Lynd (who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend in 1988) would become the first person executed in the United States in more than seven months. Meanwhile, his lawyers have begun "a round of last-minute appeals."

Monday, April 7, 2008

Georgia: A Pardon Revisited

In August 2005, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles granted a pardon to Lena Baker. The Board believed Baker should have been charged with voluntary manslaughter instead of first-degree murder. The twist was that Baker had been denied clemency once before, back in 1945, and went on to became the only woman ever executed in Georgia's electric chair. Her final words were, " "What I done, I did in self-defense. I have nothing against anyone ... I am ready to meet my God." Actress Tichina Arnold is now playing Baker in "The Lena Baker Story," a featured film at the Atlanta Film Festival. See story here and here.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Georgia: Request

Amnesty International USA is protesting the 4-3 decision of the Georgia Supreme Court to deny a new trial for Troy Anthony Davis, who was convicted of the murder of a Savannah police officer in 1991. Davis has been on "death row" for 16 years, long enough for 60,000 people to sign a petition on his behalf. It is argued that he was convicted solely on the basis of witness testimony and that seven of nine non-police witnesses have recanted or changed their testimony. Amnesty International also claims the case featured a questionable police investigation, a lack of funding to ensure adequate defense and thwarted attempts to present new evidence in the case. The human rights organization is now calling for the Georgia Board of Pardon and Paroles to commute Davis' sentence. See story here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Georgia: Pardon? or No Pardon?

Pastor Onslow D. Ross (aka "Chief Apostle") of the Reaching Souls Cathedral of Praise Apostolic Church (Macon) is looking at the possibility of more than 60 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines after being found guilty on 54 (of 56) counts related to the misuse of a $389,000 insurance check. A church musician says the federal government "is grossly attacking a pastor from the same religion as the one on which this country was founded." While a jury found problems with Ross's purchases of clothing for himself and church officials, luxury cars and electronic equipment, another church member says, "If you don't deal with mega ministry-minded people, you won't understand what we do." Ross's attorney also complained about the fact that, at trial, the government had the tendency to dwell on the pastor's criminal history, which included prison time for forgery, drug possession and credit card fraud. The church musician also claims that Ross was "fully pardoned," but the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles had no record of a clemency warrant for the minister. See full story here and here.

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