Showing posts with label Oklahoma. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oklahoma. Show all posts

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wisconsin: DA Support for Sex?

An Oklahoma City law student is accusing a District Attorney of sexual harrassment via text messaging while she was seeking his support for her own clemency application. Maria Ruskiewicz was prosecuted by Ken Kratz, in 1997, for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. In 2008, she met with Kratz and asked him to support her application for clemency. She admits that she later sent Kratz a text message thanking him for his support, but claims Katz then bombarded her with suggestive messages and sent angry messages when she did not reply. She is actually the third woman to come forward in recent weeks to accuse Kratz of such behavior. It appears that Gov. Jim Doyle (Wisconsin) did grant Ruskiewicz a pardon last month, and that Kratz continued to support the application. See story here and here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Oklahoma: Mercy!

ABC 8 reports Governor Henry has commuted the death sentence of Richard Tandy Smith to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Smith was charged with the 1986 shooting of another man during an drug deal. A couple of months ago, the State's Pardon and Parole Board recommended clemency for Smith. It is reported that Henry felt it was a "difficult decision." See full story here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Oklahoma: DA Without Mercy

It is reported that the office of District Attorney Cathy Stocker will "protest" the clemency applications of 26 inmates from her five-county district. One of the individuals seeking clemency from the state Pardon and Parole Board is being held for second-degree burglary conviction and the other on a domestic abuse conviction (after three prior domestic abuse convictions). Among the offenses committed by the remaining inmates: conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture a CDS, trafficking, assault and batter, possession of a controlled substance, unlawful delivery of a controlled dangerous substance, after former felony conviction, knowingly concealing stolen property, unlawful possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of CDS in the presence of a minor child, escaping from Department of Corrections, uttering a forged instrument, second-degree burglary, domestic abuse assault and battery,  possession of a sawed off shotgun, See complete story here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Oklahoma: Stay of Execution

From the Office of the Governor: In order to review a pending clemency recommendation, Governor Brad Henry has granted a brief stay of execution to an Oklahoma death row inmate.

Richard Tandy Smith, who was convicted of first degree murder in the 1986 shooting death of John Cederlund, originally faced an April 8 execution date, but the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board Thursday recommended that the governor commute his sentence to life in prison without parole. Under Gov. Henry’s order, the new execution date is May 4.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Amazing Case of Charner Tidwell

On March 22, 1922, Warren Harding granted a pardon to a person that many considered to be the American version of The Count of Monte Cristo. Charner Tidwell was from a well respected family, and just seventeen years old when he was convicted of the murder of one Jim Brown (a husband and father of three children) and sentenced to life in prison.

Bad things seemed to happen to those that were involved in putting young Tidwell away. The constable that arrested him drove his own car under the wheels of a speeding train. The U.S. marshal who detained him died of tuberculosis. The district attorney in the case experienced an "untimely death" as well. So, the judge who sentenced Tidwell, being somewhat superstitious, decided to visit the young man in prison. Unfortunately, the visit happened to come on a day that the prisoners had scheduled a riot. The judge was shot dead in the chest.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Oklahoma: Recommendation. Objection

Oklahoma’s Pardon and Parole Board has recommended parole for Dennis Shackelford, who was found guilty of first-degree murder in 1992. The vote was unanimous, but conditioned upon successful completion of 120 days of community-level work release to be followed by psychological counseling. Shackelford has steadily maintained that he had was in fear for the life of his wife and himself and that he acted in self-defense. The family of the victim opposes any early release. See story here.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Oklahoma: Recommendations

The state’s Pardon and Parole Board has recommended clemency for Jimmy Franklin and William Geddes. Franklin received 200- and 300- year sentences for shooting (and injuring) another man with a shotgun and for attempting to shot another. He was paroled after 17 years. Geddes served three years of a ten-year sentence for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. District Attorney Cathy Stocker says she will oppose the release of both men. See story here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Oklahoma: Recommendation

The Norman Transcript reports that the State's Pardon and Parole has recommended clemency for Donald Lee Gilson, a death row inmate who is scheduled to die by lethal injection. Gilson was charged for the murder of an 8-year-old boy, his girlfriend's son. But Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson opposes clemency. Cleveland County Assistant District Attorney Rick Sitzman is also surprised by the board's 3-2 recommendation. To date, there have been five recommendations for clemency during the administration of C. Brad Henry. He has approved only two. See story here.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Oklahoma: Clemency for 7 Murderers?

The Associated Press reports that the State's Pardon and Parole Board is being asked to consider commuting the sentences of 7 prisoners serving life sentences for murder convictions dating back to the 1970s. Last year, the Board recommended that Governor Brad Henry grant the seven parole, but the recommendations were returned with the suggestion that the Board consider commuting the sentences to a fixed number of years. It is reported that the return was "unusual" in that "the governor usually chooses to go along with the recommendation or says no." See story here.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Oklahoma: DA Protest

24 people are seeking clemency in Oklahoma and the Enide News and Eagle reports the district attorney's office will "protest" 21 of their applications them. See the names of the prisoners and descriptions of their offenses here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Oklahoma: Rejection

KTEN 10 reports that the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board has unanimously denied clemency to 31-year old Darwin Brown, who is scheduled to be executed by injection on Jan. 22. Brown acknowledges his role in a 1995 murder and begged the Board to spare his life. But family members of the victim also urged the Board to deny clemency. See story here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oklahoma: Recommendation

The state Pardon and Parole Board has voted 3-2 to recommend a commutation of sentence for Glen Herrod, who was convicted of murder. Herrod's original sentence was 80 years, but the commutation would make him eligible for parole in 2018. The recommendation now goes to Gov. Brad Henry. See story here.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Oklahoma: DA Says "No. No. No. No. No. No ..."

Enid reports that a District Attorney will be "protesting" the clemency pleas of 19 of 20 individuals who have been convicted in her district. One of the applications before the state's Pardon and Parole Board is from a man who committed a murder in 1992. Two sex offenders (serving sentences of 47 and 100 years) are applying as well. Most of the remaining applications appear to feature drug-related offenses. See story here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Oklahoma: Rejection

The Associated Press reports the State Pardon and Parole board has voted unanimously to reject clemency for Jesse James Cummings Jr. who is scheduled to be executed next month. Cummings, who maintains his innocence, was convicted of murdering his 11-year-old niece. See story here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Oklahoma: Commutation of Sentence

It is reported that Gov. Brad Henry has commuted the sentence of Kevin Young to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In a statement, the Governor said
“This was a very difficult decision and one that I did not take lightly. I am always reluctant to intervene in a capital case, and I am very respectful of a jury’s verdict, the prosecutors who tried the case and the victim’s family who suffered because of the crime. However, after reviewing all of the evidence and hearing from both prosecutors and defense attorneys, I decided the Pardon and Parole Board made a proper recommendation to provide clemency and commute the death sentence.
The Pardon and Parole Board has recommended clemency four times in the past five years. See story here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Oklahoma: Stay of Execution

Gov. Brad Henry has issued a 30-day stay of execution so that he can further review the case of convicted killer Kevin Young. Last week, the state Pardon and Parole Board recommended that Henry spare Young's life. He was scheduled to die on July 22. It is reported that "during last week's clemency hearing, an apologetic Young told parole board members he has become a Christian and believes he can still be of service to society from prison." See story here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Oklahoma: Editorial

The Oklahoman features an editorial today supporting clemency for Kevin Young. Among other things, it notes:

We support the death penalty and its application in a narrow range of cases. Young's case appears to be outside that range. Having entered a restaurant 12 years ago with the intent to rob it, Young got into a gunfight with Joseph Sutton, who had grabbed a weapon from a man who joined Young in attempting the robbery. Sutton died in an exchange of bullets. Young, scheduled to be executed July 22, could have avoided death row with a plea agreement. He chose to take his chances. His last chance rests with the governor.

Applying the death penalty too freely or too swiftly is an invitation for society to support elimination of capital punishment, which would be a tragic mistake. Young is guilty of armed robbery. He deserves to live out his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

But if he didn't enter the restaurant with the intent of killing Sutton, he isn't guilty of premeditated murder. What's lacking is malice aforethought.

See full editorial here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Oklahoma: Recommendation

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board has voted to recommend clemency for Kevin Young, who was convicted for a murder committed during the May 1996 robbery of the Charles Steak House. It is reported that Young has confessed to his role in the crime and "expressed remorse." But he also says that he never intended to shoot anyone. He only fired his weapon because a restaurant patron had shot at him first (he turned himself into the hospital after the robbery under an alias with three bullet wounds). Gov. Brad Henry will now decide if Young will be executed on July 22.

Prosecutors are objecting to clemency. An appeal of the case notes:
During the second stage of the trial, the state sought the death penalty based on three aggravating factors: (1) Young had been previously convicted of a felony involving the use or threat of violence to a person; (2) There was a strong probability that Young would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society; and (3) Young knowingly engaged in conduct that posed a great risk of death to multiple persons.
See story here.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Oklahoma: Rejection

Terry Lyn Short, 47, is scheduled to die via lethal injection at 6 p.m., Tuesday, for the firebomb killing of a Japanese student 13 years ago. Short threw the device into the apartment of his ex-girlfriend, who lived below the student, who was asleep at the time. Short admitted, for the first time publicly, that he threw the firebomb at a clemency hearing last month, but claimed he did not intend to kill the student, whom he did not know. Nonetheless, the Pardon and Parole Board unanimously rejected his clemency bid. See story here.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Oklahoma: Hearing

Kevin Young was charged with the 1996 murder of 56-year-old Joseph Sutton. Young was convicted in 1998, sentenced to death and is scheduled to die by lethal injection on July 22. But the Associated Press reports that a clemency hearing has been set for Young, on July 8, before the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board. See article here.

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