Showing posts with label Oregon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oregon. Show all posts

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Oregon: 3 Pardons

Gov. Kate Brown
Gov. Kate Brown has granted pardons to three Oregonians. In a public statement, Brown said she takes executive clemency "very seriously" - which seems a little odd, given the fact she took office in February of 2015 and has not granted a single pardon or commutation of sentence until now.

But, Brown explains. She says that she thinks clemency is "appropriate only in rare cases" - an amazingly odd assertion. And based on what? The three recent recipients - she says - "distinguished themselves by learning from past mistakes and committing themselves to serving their communities."

We guess we are left to believe that all of that is pretty rare stuff in Oregon. Tough crowd.

The recipients were convicted of manufacturing a Schedule I controlled substance (1994), driving with a suspended license (1991), and promoting prostitution (1989). The sentences imposed were 36 months of probation, 24 months of probation and a fine and another probation sentence and $800. Rare that anyone could earn clemency after THOSE offenses?


Governor Brown should participate in the great American tradition of checks and balances. She should stop pretending that legislators, judges and prosecutors in Oregon are perfect. She needs to open her eyes to the fact that citizens all around her have learned from their mistakes. She needs to read the Federalist Papers and take to heart Alexander Hamilton's admonition that there should be "easy access" to mercy. Three pardons in almost a year is surely a sign of gross neglect. See story here.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Oregon: Mercy on Death Row?

Mark Pinnell and Donald E. Cornell robbed and killed a 65-year-old man in his apartment 30 years ago. Pinnell was convicted of multiple aggravated murder counts - including aggravated murder by torture - and sentenced to death. Cornell was then tried, found guilty of murder, but acquitted of all aggravated murder charges. Pinnell had a court appointed attorney with no capital punishment experience, while Cornell was represented by "a seasoned capital punishment attorney,"

Cornell was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole and released from prison on Sept. 23, 2011, after serving 25 years and 11 months.

The 67-year old Pinnell is now the oldest inmate on Oregon's death row and dying of "severe chronic pulmonary disease." A lawyer says he has about six months to live. Pinnell is not likely to be executed, however, because Gov. Kitzhaber declared a moratorium on executions in November 2011. In a letter to the Governor, he has written:
"Please, let me die on the outside, with my friends and family near me when I pass ... I am a weak, old man. I pose no threat to society. I am very ashamed and sorry for what I did. I'm asking for mercy. Please release me from prison so that I can spend my last days near my family rather than at the Oregon State Penitentiary.''
See full story here.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Oregon: Commutation of Sentence

The Statesman's Journal reports that among resigning Democratic governor John Kitzhaber's last official acts, was a granting of a commutation of sentence. The recipient was one Sang Dao, convicted of attempted murder, unlawful use of a weapon and second-degree assault, in 2008. Authorities say:
... in February 2007, when Dao was 17, he and a friend shot at a car at Northeast 78th Avenue and Oregon Street in Portland. Three adults and a baby were in the car, but no one was hit. Then a few months later, in April 2007, Dao and his friend again were responsible for firing shots outside Kellogg Middle School at Southeast 70th Avenue and Franklin Street. One man was wounded in the leg.
It is also reported that Dao filed a formal request for commutation, but withdrew it the day that the Governor announced that he would resign.

A "spokeswoman" said the Governor gave no details or explanations for the commutation - which makes the job of "spokeswoman" a lot less complex. Dao was sentenced to join almost 15,000 other in the State's prisons for twelve and a half years. But the commutation states that service of said sentence would "not serve the best interests of the State of Oregon or of Sang Dao." observes that Dao's request had "enormous support from prosecutors, police, a judge, two of Dao's victims and correctional staff who've applauded Dao's remarkable transformation." See story here.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Oregon: No "Right" to be Executed

The ABA Journal notes that the Oregon State Supreme Court has unanimously determined that the governor of Oregon "has power to grant clemency in a capital case regardless of whether the inmate in question wants to be put to death." In sum, there is no "right" to a state execution. Consequently, death row inmate Gary D. Haugen cannot refuse Gov. John Kitzhaber's clemency grant.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Oregon: Judge Rules Reprieve Can be Rejected!

Gary Haugen - whom we have discussed previously, here -  is reported to have "won a legal battle" in that Senior Judge Timothy P. Alexander has ruled that Haugen can "reject" Governor Kitzhaber's reprieve of his own execution! As such, the reprieve is "ineffective." Of course, the ruling "is expected to initiate new adversarial proceedings." We suspect that, when all is said and done, that no appellate court is going to assert / imply / suggest / or even allow much room for the notion that there is a "right" to be executed. See story here.

See full text of the judge's ruling here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Oregon: Mercy? I Don't Want No Stinkin' Mercy!

The Associated Press reports that Gov. John Kitzhaber has blocked Gary Haugen's execution with a "reprieve" (or a delay). While such decisions are not particularly rare, this one has an interesting twist to it: Haugen (a twice-convicted murderer) did not ask for the delay, and does not want it! The lack of interest on Haugen's part is consistent with the fact that he has "voluntarily waived legal appeals that could delay his execution for years and has fought to speed his punishment in protest of a criminal justice system that he says is broken." The Governor ... agrees! Yes, the Governor believes capital punishment laws are "compromised and inequitable."

Haugen's attorney says the governor's delay has placed an "onerous condition" his client, who now sits on "death row," unsure as to whether or not he will ever actually be executed! The horror! The attorney also argues that a reprieve "is not effective until accepted by the recipient" and Haugen has choosen not to accept. Finally, it is argued that the reprieve is "illegal" because it has "no specific expiration date."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Oregon: 13 Pardons, 2 Commutations

It is reported that Governor Ted Kulongoski granted 13 pardons (of 162 requests) and 2 commutations of sentence (out of 158 requests) during the last two years of his term. Six of the pardons and 1 of the commutations were granted during his final three weeks in office. In Oregon, the Constitution requires the governor to provide a clemency report every two years.

Kulongoski drew particular attention to the two commutations noting both men committed their offenses when they were under the age of 18. Both men had served more than half of their sentences. The Governor said his decision was "informed" by research which showed "the risk of recidivism for juvenile offenders is higher when youth are incarcerated in the adult system.” See story here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

From Alcatraz to the White House

The 1991 autobiography of Nathan Glenn Williams carried the catchy title, From Alcatraz to the White House.

Williams claimed that, from the time he was a small boy, he had a “burning desire” to be a gangster. As far as he was concerned, he had "seen enough movies” to educate himself in the gangster lifestyle. So, he was convicted of burglary, car theft, robbery, assault and criminal vandalism ... all before he was fifteen years old! After adding forgery, kidnapping and discharging a firearm during the commission of a felony to the list, Williams found himself convicted of being an “habitual criminal.”

A jury of his peers needed only five hours to reach a guilty verdict decision and the judge gave him “life in prison.” During the sentencing, the judge also informed the 23-year old Williams that he was the youngest person in the United States ever to be convicted of being an habitual criminal.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Oregon: Request From Abused Spouse, Child

A reader informs PardonPower that two clemency petitions were filed in the State of Oregon on Tuesday, June 1. The cases involve two defendants Wendy and Randy Maldonado (a mother and son) who entered into plea agreements of voluntary and involuntary manslaughter in April 2006. The deceased was the mother's husband, Aaron, and the son's father.

In May of 2005, Wendy beat her husband in the head with a hammer. The couple married young, because of a pregnancy. There followed an eighteen-year marriage replete with spousal and child abuse that was often witnessed by neighbors, documented in police photographs and evident by holes in the walls of their home (subsequently covered by pictures drawn by their children). Wendy received a 10-year prison sentence. Randy was sentenced to six years and three months.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Oregon: Rejection

Gov. Ted Kulongoski has denied David Black's petition for clemency. Black received a mandatory minimum sentence (of more than six years) from a judge after being convicted of manslaughter during a "drag racing" incident. The result was the death of two teen aged girls but a co-defendant received a sentence of a mere six months. Prosecutors say Black, who maintained his innocence before the judge, is not taking responsibility for his crime. Read more about the case here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oregon: Simple. Just Get a Pardon!

In 2005, 27-year old Veronica Rodriguez was found guilty of first-degree sexual assault after being accused of running her hands through the hair of a 13-year-old and pulling the back of his head against her covered chest in the middle of a crowded game room at the Boys and Girls Club in Hillsboro. Rodriguez, who has served 1 year in a correctional facility (and faces the possibility of five more) has appealed to the state Supreme Court. Under Measure 11, a 1994 voter-approved ballot initiative setting mandatory minimum sentences, Rodriguez originally faced six years and three months in prison, but Judge Nancy Campbell gave her 16 months arguing the Measure violated the state constitution as cruel and unusual punishment. Judge Campbell also said the Measure 11 sentence would “shock the moral sense of all reasonable persons”. In December, however, the state Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the remaining five years of the Measure 11 sentence should be served. Enter Kevin Mannix the original Measure 11 backer. Mannix recommends that Rodriguez simply ask the governor for clemency. See full story here.

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