Showing posts with label Missouri. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Missouri. Show all posts

Monday, January 10, 2011

Missouri: Commutation of Sentence

Gov. Jay Nixon has commuted the death sentence of Richard Clay to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Clay, who was convicted of murder in 1994, was scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, but has maintained that he is innocent. See full story here.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Missouri: Meet Nelson Hopkins, Sr.

The Kansas City News blog has one fascinating piece on Nelson Hopkins Sr., the director of Pardon and Parole Negotiation Services. Hopkins seeks to help ex-cons, but he is said to drop clients like hot rocks if he "catches them in a lie" or if they are "unwilling to take responsibility for their crimes." His "vision" is to:
... repopulate the city's east side with reformed ex-cons -- the people who contributed to the decline of their neighborhoods by committing crimes, getting arrested, and leaving behind fatherless children. "Who else can come tell these young bucks how to live?" Hopkins asks. "We have to use the same people who tore these neighborhoods up. We have to tell them that it's their turn to rebuild the neighborhoods they tore down. 'You did it -- you gon' do it.'"
But Hopkins also believes society must be willing to forgive. So, he educates potential employers about state and federal incentives for hiring felons and offers assistance in writing letters to the governor of Missouri requesting clemency. See this fascinating story here. For additional information, go here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Missouri: Request for Commutation

Patricia Prewitt was convicted of murdering her husband 24 years ago but has insisted all along that she is innocent. Now, law students at Washington University in St. Louis have researched her case and are circulating a petition calling on the Governor to commute her sentence. Two Democratic State Representatives have also presented a petition to the General Assembly and obtained the signatures of 62 lawmakers. See story here.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Missouri: Petition Campaign

The NAACP is calling on people to sign petitions on behalf of Missouri death row inmate Reggie Clemons, who was sentenced to death with three others for the 1991 murder of two sisters in St. Louis. The call comes with the message that "Clemons was beaten by police, denied an attorney and coerced into making a false statement." The NAACP is adding its efforts to several other groups that have claimed Clemons is innocent for some time now. Petitions for clemency can be signed online at (See story here)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Missouri: Plea for Clemency

A retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel is calling for clemency on behalf of a 53-year old African American who has served 18 years in prison for killing a drug dealer. Says John Malley:

I have studied this case for 10 years, interviewed witnesses, studied the jury trial and have concluded this man is innocent. The jury case was questionable. The public defender begged Ronnie Anderson to plead guilty and he would be out of prison in 15 years.

Malley says he would provide the prisoner with a job if he is released. See story here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Missouri: Pardon

The Associated Press reports 52 year old Michael Wayne Ford Sr. is finally walking out prison ... more than four years after he was granted clemency! Ford was convicted for the murder of a hitchhiker in 1977, but the AP reports:
Former Gov. Joe Teasdale represented Ford for a clemency request. Then-Gov. Bob Holden granted the request in 2004, making Ford eligible for parole. But the parole board denied his release a couple of times before finally letting him go Wednesday.
See story here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Missouri: Clemons Petition

Reginald Clemons has filed a 26-page clemency petition with Gov. Jay Nixon which calls on Nixon to "exercise an an historic act of grace" and "prevent a miscarriage of justice." Clemons was charged with murder at 19 years of age and was scheduled to be executed. His attorneys claim - for a variety of reasons - that he had incompetent counsel at trial. They also argue that police brutality rendered a coerced statement, the prosecutor was held in criminal contempt and fined for his misconduct during the penalty phase and federal judges have found that errors in the selection of the jury. See more on the case here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Missouri: Calls for Clemency

News reports the parents of Reginald Clemons are asking Gov. Jay Nixon to commute Clemons' death sentence. The thirty-seven year old is accused of shoving two sisters off of a St. Louis bridge 18 years ago. Clemons’ mother and stepfather say their son is innocent and actor Danny Glover is calling on the state not to "murder" one of "its own citizens." See story here and here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Missouri: Plea for Skillicorn

Jeff Stack at the Columbia Daily Tribune says Gov. Jay Nixon should commute the death sentence of Dennis Skillicorn. Otherwise, says Stack, Skillicorn's execution will constitute mere "revenge" (contra justice). Says Stack:
Skillicorn deserves clemency. He was an accomplice to crimes but killed no one; he has been a valuable, rehabilitated, contributing member of society; and his positive presence helps make the prison safer for guards and inmates alike.
A former prison correctional officer also says Killicorn's execution is "not going to help anyone." Seven other past and present prison workers have written to the Governor on his behalf. Stack also notes Skillicorn has been editor of Compassion, a "national" magazine which features writings and artwork by death-row prisoners. He has raised more than $40,000 in scholarships for people who have had loved ones murdered. See additional details in the full editorial here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Missouri: Commutation Backlash

The St. Louis Dispatch reports Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch said Gov. Matt Blunt's decision to commute the life sentence of Stacey Lannert - who murdered her father in 1990 - "cowardly." McCulloch says Blunt is "sneaking out the back door of the governor's mansion" and letting a "killer go out the front door." McCulloch is also critical of the fact that "there was no time to notify the surviving family members." See story here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Missouri: 2 Commutations

KOMU reports Gov. Matt Blunt has commuted the sentences of Stacey Lannert and Charity Carey. Blunt's office says both women suffered sexual and physical abuse before they took action against the men who caused the abuse. Lannert murdered her own father in 1999, when she was only 18 years old. Carey murdered her husband in 2000. The commutations allow both women to apply for parole. See story here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Missouri: 4 Pardons, 1 Commutation

The Kansas City Star reports Gov. Matt Blunt today announced his decision to pardon Scott Flentge, Joy Howard Marshall, Sharo Shirshekan, and Joseph Siebrasse. As governor, Matt Blunt has granted a total of 14 pardons and has denied nearly 1800. Blunt also made Gregory Naeger eligible for a parole hearing by reducing his sentence from 17 years to 12 years. Missouri’s Probation and Parole Board unanimously recommended that each of the pardons and the commutation be issued. See story here.

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.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Missouri: Clemency in the Campaign

It is reported that the Missouri attorney general campaign between Republican Michael Gibbons and Democrat Chris Koster "has become increasingly nasty." Koster's campaign is said to be portraying Gibbons as "soft on crime." As an ad says:

"Chris Koster put away the bad guys. Crooked stockbrokers, sexual predators, and Missouri's worst serial killer. As a lifetime politician, Mike Gibbons voted to let over 1,400 criminals out of jail, supported release for killer of a young girl, and has never prosecuted a single case in court."

Gibbons says the ad is "simply false" because he did not support clemency for Jack Rapheld, who was convicted for the murder of a 19-year-old woman. See story here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Missouri: Commutation for a Changed Man?

Bill McLellan of the St. Louis Post Dispatch has written an interesting piece about Jack Rapheld who was convicted of a "horrific" murder 32 years ago. It is reported that Rapheld "underwent a transformation in prison" and "became an inspirational figure to other prisoners, a nonviolent, God-fearing man." He also saved the life of a guard, became a substance abuse counselor and co-founded a therapy program. Rapheld's search for a commutation of sentence is now supported by former state Sen. Franc Flotron, Ed Martin and former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent. See story here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Missouri: Execution Delayed for Clemency Appeal

The Kansas City Star reports that the Missouri Supreme Court has postponed next week's schedulted execution of Dennis Skillicorn in order to allow his lawyers more time to gather information for a clemency petition. At the same time, a petition to overturn his conviction was denied by the court. It is reported that Skillicorn’s lawyers have been granted an extra 30 days to "interview prisoners and prison staff members" for a petition seeking clemency from Gov. Matt Blunt.

The St. Louis Dispatch, which "long has opposed capital punishment in all circumstances" notes:
Skillicorn is a leader in several Christian prison ministries. He helped create a hospice program to care for inmates who are sick and dying. He is the editor of "Compassion," a bi-monthly newsletter for death row inmates nationwide, the mission of which is "promoting restorative justice and reconciliation."

Among the letters sent to Gov. Blunt on behalf of Skillicorn's petition for clemency is one from a fellow death row inmate who wrote, "You got a lot of love in you, my brother. And as I sit here knocking on heaven's door, I will go forth and take with me your strength and honor and total compassion, whether I go forth in this life or the next." The letter was written by Marlin Gray, executed by the state of Missouri on Oct. 26, 2005.
See story here and here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Missouri: Request From Religious Leaders

KRCG reports "several religious leaders" are asking Gov. Matt Blunt to commute the death sentence of Dennis Skillicorn, who is scheduled to be executed August 27, to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Skillicorn was convicted for the murder of another man in 1994.The "religious leaders" claim he has "turned his life around, becoming a model of rehabilitation and service to others." See story here

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Missouri: Long Shot Pardon

In an editorial for today's St. Louis Dispatch, Bob McClellan writes about clemency in the state of Missouri. Along the way, he notes:
In a legal sense, it is about executive clemency, a seldom-used procedure by which a governor can grant a pardon or commute a sentence. Missouri governors have exercised this power only 15 times since 1992. One case involved an outright pardon. That went to Johnny Lee Wilson in 1995 after an investigation concluded that Wilson had been wrongly convicted of a murder. Most of the others involved commutation from a sentence of life without the possibility of parole to a sentence of life with the possibility of parole.

Although clemency is seldom granted, hope amongst the clemency-seekers has been running high ever since Gov. Matt Blunt announced he would not seek re-election. Governors running for re-election, or for another office, generally don't want to run the risk of looking soft on crime. But a governor who's returning to civilian life? Perhaps that's a different story.
The editorial also discusses the case of a convicted murderer whose clemency application is supported by former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, state Sen. Michael Gibbons amd former state Sen. Franc Flotron. See story here.

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