Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Carol Steiker &Jordan Steiker: Anti Death Penalty Nonsense

LETTERS: LA Times

REBUTTAL:  Opinion  Op-Ed "The more we confront the death penalty, the less we like it", Carol Steiker and Jordan Steiker, Los Angeles Times, 11/23/16

From: Dudley Sharp

The Steikers' Common Anti Death Penalty Nonsense

Without nonsense, the anti death penalty folks would have very little to say.

The Nebraska legislature abolished the death penalty, based, solely, upon a common deception campaign, easily exposed by fact checking, which the media did not reveal - also quite common.

The popular vote of Nebraskans negated the death penalty repeal, based upon justice - a concept the Steikers never considered.

The superior Steikers labeled those citizens "often-impulsive voters".

Possibly, the Steikers are "often impulsively superior".

The Steikers identify the "six state legislatures (that) have jettisoned the death penalty — New Jersey, New Mexico, Illinois, Connecticut, Maryland, and Nebraska — " while failing to mention that would have been impossible without 5 of the 6 states having Democratic anti death penalty Governors and anti death penalty, majority Democratic legislatures, all of whom voted contrary to the wishes of their citizens and all of whom used common, false anti death penalty arguments, easily exposed by fact checking, which the media did not reveal - also quite common.

Yes, "New York and Delaware — have declined to revive the death penalty after their highest courts struck it down.", but that is because, in New York,  the Republican majority Senate has passed new death penalty legislation, twice, with the Democrat controlled Assembly, twice, not allowing it to proceed.

Democrats want to make sure that all murderers live.

As The Delaware  Supreme Court found their death penalty statute unconstitutional, in August, 2016, one might instruct the  Steikers: "There has been no opportunity for Delaware to reinstate the death penalty, yet.", as, of course, the Steikers well know.

This is a beauty: The Steikers write: "When voters grapple with the death penalty in their backyards, they also turn against it.  In recent contests in major death penalty states — Texas, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida — voters in local elections have ousted prosecutors who championed the death penalty and sought it indiscriminately."

All those recently elected prosecutors, with an Alabama exception, support the death penalty. In addition, there are 31 total states, with hundreds of prosecutors that support the death penalty, wherein most of those prosecutors are still in power.

There is zero evidence that prosecutors are seeking the death penalty "indiscriminately". The evidence is, overwhelmingly, to the contrary, as the Steikers are aware.

This is hysterical: The Steikers state: "Consider Angela Corey’s fate.  As district attorney in Jacksonville, Fla., she led her county to produce more death sentences per capita than any other locality in the United States.  Her constituents responded by voting overwhelmingly to oust "the cruelest prosecutor in the country," as the Nation magazine once called her."

Corey was vanquished by fellow Republican Melissa Nelson, who campaigned that Corey was too soft on crime, the opposite of what the Steikers' would have you believe. Nelson supports the death penalty.

The three defining criminal cases, contributing to Corey's ouster, were that of George Zimmerman, Marissa Alexander, 12-year-old Cristian Fernandez, none of which were death penalty cases.

The Steikers think the death penalty has fallen out of favor, based upon "From a high of more than 300 yearly in the mid-1990s, death sentences have fallen more than 80% to fewer than 50 last year."

Are the Steikers unaware that capital murders have dropped dramatically since 1991, that murder rates are at 50 year lows, that robbery/murder, the most common death penalty eligible crime may have dropped by 80%, that 8 fewer states have the death penalty and that the categories of cases eligible for the death penalty have been reduced, which are all responsible for that 80% drop? Of course not.

The Steikers state: 'The National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences concluded in 2012 that there is no reliable evidence that the death penalty  helps to deter murder."

Total nonsense.

No study has ever found that the death penalty, or any other criminal sanction, deters none. Never.

The NRC only published the paper, and had nothing to do with how, massively, problematic the paper was.

The head of the study was Prof. Nagin, whose academic chair is funded by a well known anti death penalty group. The study was, also, funded, by two additional, also, well known, anti death penalty groups.

Conflicts of interest, very seldom, are this blatant. It is, simply astounding, that the NRC allows such nonsense to be published under the NRC banner, which is a citizen funded, government program.

Are the Steikers unaware?

So tiresome, the Steikers continue: "Indeed, the states that are most committed to retaining the death penalty, such as China, Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, are those least committed to justice in the form of fundamental human rights."

The only relevant country is the United States, which retains the death penalty for justice, as the Steikers well know. And let's not forget our allies in Japan, Singapore and South Korean, where the death penalty is supported and used.

Some of the most foul countries in the world do not have the death penalty. If the US repealed the death penalty, would the Steikers compare the US to them? Guess. It is just the standard, idiotic anti death penalty illogic that the Steikers are pushing.

The Steikers stagger on: ' . . . those who directly encounter the death penalty fear the risk of executing the innocent and imposing the death penalty not on the “worst of the worst” but on the basis of race and other illegitimate factors."

There is no proof of an innocent executed in the US, at least since the 1930's.

16,000 innocents have been murdered by those known murderers that we have allowed to murder, again - recidivist murderers, - just since 1973.

Where are the innocents at risk?

White murderers are twice as likely to be executed as are black murderers and white death row inmates are executed at a 41% higher rate than are black death row inmates.

Sadly, Carol and Jordon Streiker are teachers in US law schools.

Poor students.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Guilty: Hurricane Carter

Guilty: Hurricane Carter
Dudley Sharp

All from "Media missed the real story of the late Hurricane Carter", Paul Mulshine, The Star Ledger, April 23, 2014 (1)

Assault victim "(Carolyn Kelley) has this explanation for how Carter has gotten the nation to ignore his thuggish past and treat him as a hero. "He's Satan, and Satan can fool a lot of people."

Carter: ''I couldn't begin to tell you how many hits, muggings and stickups (I committed). No use even trying to count them. We'd just use the guns like we had a license to carry them.".''If I committed a crime in the eyes of society, I took no blame. I felt no more responsible for my actions than for the winds."

. . . "(Carter), the tough middleweight boxer beat the 112-pound Kelley into unconsciousness and left her lying in a fetal position on the floor of his hotel room. Kelley called me after she read my columns pointing out that the movie ("The Hurricane") distorts virtually every fact of Carter's life story."

''If (Carter) could do that to me, a woman who was no threat to him, then he has erased in my mind any doubt that he could kill three or four innocent people," Kelley says.

"(Carter's)  rage was just bad timing on my mother's part; it could have been me. But his thing was always mugging women anyway." - Michael Kelley on Carter's beating of Michael's mother, Carolyn (Kelley).

"Chuck Stone, a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, broke the story of the beating in a front-page article. Stone had been a strong supporter of Carter's. But he knew Kelley from other civil rights struggles. He was troubled by the beating. In his column, Stone quoted Kelley: 'Rubin used to tell me time and time again, 'You've met Rubin and you know Carter, but you've never met the Hurricane. The Hurricane's bad. The Hurricane's mean.' "

"Juries twice found Carter guilty of a triple murder. The evidence against him was overwhelming. He finally was granted a third trial on a technicality, but no judge ever said or implied that he was framed or that he did not commit the murders."

"There were a lot of lies at the last trial,' testified ex-alibi witness Catherine McGuire, who at the first trial had testified she was with Carter at the time of the killings."

"At Carter's second trial, Hardney testified that Carter had asked him to back up a false alibi that had him drinking at a bar called the Nite Spot at the time of the killings. Three other Carter alibi witnesses also testified that they had lied at the first trial."

"Then there was the matter of the alleged recantation of Alfred Bello, the eyewitness who in the first trial testified that he had seen Carter leaving the murder scene but who later said he had made up that story. At the second trial, he recanted his recantation, saying he had been offered money by people close to Carter. The jury quickly convicted Carter and co-defendant John Artis once again."

Carter's alibi involves Artis in a complicated story of how the two men spent the night of the murders driving from one bar to another. . . .  Artis said he had no idea what Carter was doing during the hours when, according to Carter, the two were together." "I asked Artis whether it is possible Carter could have killed three people in the moments before he offered Artis a ride home." ''Good question," Artis said.

THE PATTERN

"The Carter case fits a familiar pattern, one that might be called the cult of the avenger. There is always one of these cases in the news. There's always some guy who claims he was unjustly convicted of killing someone. And there's always a cult of true believers devoted to proving their hero was denied a fair trial."

"The interesting thing is that the weight of evidence against the hero is irrelevant. In fact, the guiltier the better."

"That is proven by the case of the man who has succeeded Carter as a cult hero, Mumia Abu-Jamal. Unlike Carter, who at least had the good sense not to be stopped at the scene of the crime, Jamal was literally caught with a smoking gun. He was sitting just a few feet away from the Philadelphia cop he had shot to death."

"But Jamal's lack of an alibi put him at no disadvantage. In the years since his conviction in 1982, Jamal has assembled what may be the largest such cult in history. From his cell on death row in Pennsylvania, Jamal inspired a riot in San Francisco. He is idolized in Paris, London and Amsterdam."

"But Jamal has virtually no support in Philadelphia, just as Carter has few supporters in New Jersey. Those who know the reality are not prone to buy the myth."

"Perhaps the only one of these characters who hasn't become the subject of a cult of innocence was a man spawned by Hollywood itself. This guy had it all. An intriguing look, a nonconformist lifestyle, a charismatic message. And there were quite a few holes in the prosecution's case that sent him to prison."

"But this guy made one crucial mistake: Instead of killing a cop, he killed an actress. If not for that minor oversight, we might have been treated to the spectacle of a Sheen or a Baldwin up there on stage tonight with one hand clutching a statue and another wrapped around the waist of Charles Manson."

This pattern is endless (3).

1) http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/04/spare_us_the_lies_about_the_late_hurricane_carter_mulshine.html

also

Hurricane Carter: The Other Side of the Story
http://graphicwitness.com/carter/index.html

3) The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy
READ SECTIONS 3&4 FIRST
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-innocent-frauds-standard-anti-death.html

Saturday, October 14, 2017

All Catholics May Support the Death Penalty

All Catholics May Support The Death Penalty
Dudley Sharp

There is a very robust debate countering both the Church's 20 year old anti death penalty teachings (CCC, amended 1997) and the statements by Pope Francis, both of which are contradicted by fact, reason, the Gospel and 2000 years of Catholic teachings, through today, as detailed.

1) as per Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (2004):

All Catholics may support the death penalty and more executions, today, and remain Catholics in good standing (1).

2) The Catholic Church cannot reverse 2000 years of pro death penalty teachings (2016-2017) (2).


For 2000 years, the Catholic Church has taught that the death penalty is a morally licit, just, appropriate, if not obligatory, sanction.

All of a sudden, since 1997, Bishops are telling us that the death penalty is unjust and cruel. Not only is that not true but, based upon those 2000 years of teachings from Popes, Saints, Doctors and Fathers of the Church, church leadership, biblical scholars and theologians, it cannot be true.


Saint (& Pope) Pius V, "The just use of (executions), far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this (Fifth) Commandment which prohibits murder." "The Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent" (1566).

"Paramount obedience".

Archbishop Charles Chaput (2005): “Both Scripture and long Christian tradition acknowledge the legitimacy of capital punishment . . . " "The Church cannot repudiate (the death penalty) without repudiating her own identity." (3)

3) The factual and rational problems within the Church's newest death penalty teachings have been well known since the Catechism's CCC 2267 was first amended (1997) (4).

4) The Bishops use well known, false anti death penalty claims to support their positions (5).

======
Also review:

Sister Helen Prejean: Does Truth Matter?:
Dead Man Walking & The Death Penalty
======

footnotes:

1) "3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."

"Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles", from then Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith, the top authority of the body responsible for promulgating and defending Catholic doctrine,  in a memorandum to Cardinal McCarrick, made public in the first week of July 2004.
 
2) A thorough rebuttal to any effort to end the death penalty, based upon Catholic teachings.  
By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment (2017),  Edward Feser & Joseph Bessette



Why the Church Cannot Reverse Past Teaching on Capital Punishment, Profs. Edward Feser and Joseph M. Bessette, The Catholic World Report, July 17, 2016, http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/4928/why_the_church_cannot_reverse_past_teaching_on_capital_punishment.aspx

Four Catholic Journals Indulge in (anti death penalty) Doctrinal Solipsism, Steven Long, THOMISTICA, March 5, 2015
http://thomistica.net/commentary/2015/3/5/mutationist-views-of-doctrinal-development-and-the-death-penalty

The Death Penalty: Mercy, Expiation, Redemption & Salvation
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-death-penalty-mercy-expiation.html

New Testament Death Penalty Support Overwhelming
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2014/01/new-testament-death-penalty-support.html
 
3) "Archbishop Chaput clarifies Church’s stance on death penalty", CNA, Catholic News Agency, Oct 18, 2005. Chaput was then archbishop of Denver, now of Philadelphia
 
4) Catholic Church: Problems with Her Newest Death Penalty Position: The Catechism & Section 2267
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2015/03/catechism-death-penalty-problems.html

BISHOPS HIDE TRUTH FROM THEIR FLOCK: DEATH PENALTY
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2016/10/bishops-hide-truth-from-their-flock.html

Catechism & State Protection
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2014/10/catechism-state-protection.html

Why the Death Penalty is Still Necessary, Profs. Edward Feser and Joseph M. Bessette,  The Catholic World Report, July 21, 2016
http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/4939/why_the_death_penalty_is_still_necessary.aspx

5) Rebuttal to all the Church's secular anti death penalty nonsense

Catholic Bishops: So Wrong on Death Penalty
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2016/09/catholic-bishops-so-wrong-on-death.html

The Death Penalty: Fair and Just
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/12/is-death-peanalty-fairjust.html

The Death Penalty: Justice & Saving More Innocents
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-death-penalty-justice-saving-more.html

The Death Penalty: Saving Innocent Lives
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-death-penalty-do-innocents-matter.html


 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Cameron Todd Willingham Guilty

No doubts: Those closest to case shed no tears for Willingham
By Janet Jacobs, Corsicana Daily Sun
published: September 07, 2009 05:08 pm    
expired, original link

The undeniable facts of the Cameron Todd Willingham case are these:

• On Dec. 23, 1991, 2-year-old Amber Louise Kuykendall, and 1-year-old twins Karmon Diane Willingham and Kameron Marie Willingham died in a mid-morning house fire at 1213 W. 11th Ave. in Corsicana.

• Willingham, 23, the children’s father, and the only adult home at the time of the fire, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death on Aug. 21, 1992.

• After five appeals and 12 years on death row, he was put to death by lethal injection on Feb. 17, 2004.

 Everything else is controversial.

 Carrying the torch

To people opposed to the death penalty under any circumstances, the holy grail is an innocent man who was executed, preferably in Texas, home of the nation’s busiest death row. Some argue Todd Willingham is that innocent man.

The latest argument for Willingham’s innocence comes from a report by Craig Beyler, of Hughes Associates in Baltimore, Md., and submitted Aug. 17 to the Texas Forensic Science Commission, a panel formed in 2005 to deal with forensic errors.

Beyler was contracted to review the case following a complaint by the Innocence Project.

The Innocence Project is best known for using DNA analysis to exonerate wrongly convicted men.

The report claims the Texas investigators didn’t understand fire science, and didn’t use modern methods in the Willingham case. Because one of the investigators was with the
Texas fire marshal’s office, the marshal’s office will have a chance to respond to Beyler’s findings, and the commission should deliver a verdict next spring.

This week, the New Yorker published an article by David Grann which condemns the science and the system which sent a seemingly innocent man to his death. Part of the article is based on Willingham’s relationship with a woman who visited him on death row, and became an amateur sleuth on his behalf. Previous articles questioning the Willingham verdict have also appeared in the Dallas Morning News and the Chicago Tribune.

Leaders of the Innocence Project say this is proof of a failed death-penalty system.

“There can no longer be any doubt that an innocent person has been executed,” said Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project, in a release. “The question now turns to how we can stop it from happening again.

“As long as our system of justice makes mistakes — including the ultimate mistake — we cannot continue executing people,” Scheck stated.

======

also read:

The Guilt of Cameron Todd Willingham:
Rebuttal: "Trial by Fire: Did Texas execute an innocent man?", by David Grann, The New Yorker
Dudley Sharp
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2009/10/cameron-todd-willingham-media-meltdown.html
======

In Corsicana, the attempts to make Todd Willingham into a martyr aren’t well-received.

“He’s not a poster child for anybody,” said Sgt. Jimmie Hensley of the Corsicana Police Department.

First impressions

Doug Fogg, a Corsicana firefighter for 31 years, was the first responder to arrive at 1213 W. 11th Ave. in Corsicana that Monday morning. He conducted the local arson investigation.

Fogg calls Beyler an “armchair quarterback” and riles at the accusation that Corsicana and state detectives used nothing more than folklore to come to their conclusions.

“A lot of this stuff (in Beyler’s report) is misspoken or misinterpreted,” Fogg said.

The report accuses state arson investigator Manuel Vasquez, now deceased, of not securing the scene, of missing or mishandling crucial evidence that might have exonerated Willingham, and not using scientific fire analysis.

Willingham had a lot of excuses for the fire, Fogg recalled, including that a stranger entered the house and set the fire, that the 2-year-old started it, that a ceiling fan or squirrels in the attic caused an electrical short, or the gas space heaters in the children’s bedroom sparked it.

The investigators searched for electrical shorts, but found none; the gas-powered space heaters were off because the family’s gas supply had been cut off at the meter; and “we didn’t find a ceiling fan. Willingham said there was one, but we didn’t find any signs of one,” Fogg said.

The other explanations just didn’t add up, Fogg said, adding: “We eliminated all accidental causes.”

Evidence of accelerants was found, but Willingham had an excuse for that, too. Willingham told investigators he poured cologne on the children’s floor “because the babies liked the smell,” he blamed a kerosene lamp for any accelerant in the hallway, and said spilled charcoal-lighter fluid happened while he was grilling, Fogg recalled.

Fogg agreed that there was a damaged bottle of charcoal lighter fluid on the other end of the porch away from the door, but the grill was in the side yard not on the porch when firefighters arrived. Fogg remembered four empty bottles of charcoal lighter were found just outside the front door.

Beyler acknowledges that one sample did have accelerant in it, but said it was unidentified, a claim Fogg disputes.

Local investigators didn’t leave the house until midnight, spending over 12 hours sifting through the debris by hand, taking videotape and more than 80 photographs of the scene, cutting up flooring for the lab, bagging and dating each sample and recording where it came from in the house, Fogg said. Samples were contaminated by melted plastic toys, fire-damaged carpet and floor tiles, but it wasn’t because of investigator’s incompetence, Fogg said.

Beyler theorized it was a flashover, and said investigators didn’t see the difference between the intense heat of a flashover and an accelerant-driven fire. Fogg laughed at the notion.

If it had been a flashover, it would have taken out the thin layer of sheetrock on the walls, he argued.

“That house was box construction,” Fogg said. “The only sheetrock that came down was what was hit with water. The paper backing wasn’t even scorched.”

As well, the fire damage was worse at the floor level than at the ceilings, which is the opposite of typical fire, Fogg said.

“(Beyler) thought we were total idiots,” Fogg said.

Beyond the fire

Sgt. Jimmie Hensley of the Corsicana Police Department was the lead investigator on the Willingham murder case back in 1992.

For Hensley, the most damning evidence came from Willingham, who told officers that 2-year-old Amber woke him up. Firefighters later found her in his bed, with burns on the soles of her feet. Yet, Willingham didn’t take the girl with him when he fled, nor did he receive burns walking down that same hallway, Hensley pointed out.

Willingham was taken to the hospital where doctors did a blood-gas analysis on him, a standard test for someone who’s been inside a burning house.

“He had no more (carbon monoxide) than somebody who had just smoked a cigarette,” Hensley said.

Hensley has since become a certified arson investigator. In hindsight, he insists they took the right steps with the evidence in the Willingham case.

“We did everything we were supposed to do,” he said.

Hensley also dismisses Beyler’s report, pointing out that Beyler didn’t talk to the investigators, and reading the testimony can’t replace first-person observations.

“You can find expert witnesses everywhere, and if you pay them enough they’ll testify to anything,” Hensley said. “They’re to be bought.”

Willingham was tried for murder, not arson, and the guilty verdict was based on the whole picture, not just part of it, he said.

“You can’t just look at a little part. Look at the whole picture, and that’s what the jury did,”

Hensley said. “If a 2-year-old wakes you up and there’s smoke and fire everywhere, aren’t you going to at least get that one out? It couldn’t possibly have happened the way (Willingham) said.”

Willingham’s behavior afterwards did not help his case. Todd Morris was the first police officer on the scene and he found Willingham trying to push his car away from the house to save it from the fire, while his children were inside burning up, Hensley said.

Dr. Grady Shaw and his team spent an hour at the emergency room trying to resuscitate
Amber while next door Willingham complained about his own suffering, Shaw said.

“I remember this case very clearly,” Shaw said. “She was in Trauma Room 1, and her father was placed in Trauma Room 2, and only a curtain separated those. He was whining and complaining and crying out for a nurse to help him because of the pain from his extremely minor burns while we were trying to resuscitate this child.”

Willingham’s first-degree burns on the backs of his hands and on the back of his neck were the kind that might come from accidentally touching an oven rack, or having a small ember pop up from a campfire, Shaw said.

“He was not hurting that bad from these minor burns,” Shaw said. “It was clearly audible what was going on next door, but to hear him doing all that complaining and asking for attention when everybody was trying to save the little girl’s life was grossly inappropriate.”

Friends of the family testified that Willingham had beaten his wife in an attempt to abort the pregnancy of the twins, and many people assumed the murder of the children was more of the same, said John Jackson, former district judge and the lead prosecutor of the Willingham case.

“We really just believed the children inhibited his lifestyle,” Jackson said.

Aftermath

Hensley came away deeply disturbed by the case, and he’s angry that anti-death penalty proponents ignore the children’s deaths in trying to make Willingham into a martyr.

“In my opinion, justice was served,” Hensley said. “And it’s a shame he couldn’t have died three times, one for each of the little girls.”

Alan Bristol, who helped prosecute the case for the district attorney’s office, said Willingham was “one of the most evil people I’ve ever come in contact with in my life.”

“The guy was a sociopath,” he said. Willingham refused a polygraph, tortured and killed animals as a child, abused his wife repeatedly, thought more about losing his car than his children, and clearly lied about what happened in the deadly fire, Bristol said.

“None of the stories he told us panned out,” Bristol said. “He tried to make himself out to be a big hero, that he tried to go in and save the children, but there was no smoke in his lungs and he had only minor injuries.”

Bristol said the science for investigating fires may have changed over the last two decades, but the accelerant was there, and that evidence remains valid.

“I don’t have any doubt he did it, or was guilty,” Bristol said. “I think he would have been convicted whether we had the arson evidence or not.”

Willingham appealed his case, but the verdict was upheld. In the end, he asked for clemency that never materialized.

“The only statement I want to make is that I am an innocent man convicted of a crime I did not commit,” Willingham said in his final moments. “I have been persecuted for 12 years for something I did not do.”

The article in the New Yorker quoted Willingham’s protest of innocence as his final words, but Loyd Cook of the Daily Sun was one of three media witnesses at the execution.

Willingham’s actual final words were a venom-filled curse at his ex-wife as he attempted an obscene gesture, Cook reported.

“I hope you rot in hell, b—,” Willingham said before dying.

Stacy Kuykendall, who still lives in Navarro County, said she doesn’t talk about the case anymore. However, she did talk to Cook shortly before Willingham’s execution.

She refuted her ex-husband’s attempts to blame Amber, and came to her own conclusions that he killed their daughters. Kuykendall divorced Willingham while he was in prison, and married again. She did not have more children.

“Maybe some of the fear of him will leave me, but I’ll never get over what he did to my kids,” she said in 2004.

From his seat at the defense table, attorney David Martin’s job was to fight tooth and nail for Willingham. Once it was over, though, Martin became convinced his client was guilty. He dismisses the Beyler report as propaganda from anti-death penalty supporters. 

“The Innocence Project is an absolute farce,” Martin said. “It’s a bunch of hype, in my opinion.”

The defense team couldn’t locate an arson expert back then willing to say the house fire was accidental.

“We never could find anybody that contradicted Vasquez,” Martin said.

As for motive, Martin agreed with investigators about Willingham’s character.
“He had no conscience,” Martin said. “Why do monsters kill? They like killing.”

Friday, June 23, 2017

Napoleon Beazley: Last Words

Napoleon Beazley: Last Words

To: Letters to the Editor, Fort Worth Star-Telegram (1)

FWST columnist Bob Ray Sanders, with a confusion that can best be described as willful blindness, seeks to enshrine the final words of capital murderer Napoleon Beazley.("Beazley's own words best decry capital punishment", 6/5/02, Fort Worth Star-Telegram).

It is Beazley who is decried, by his own words.

Beazley states "I'm . . . disappointed that a system that is supposed to protect and uphold what is just and right can be so much like me when I made the same shameful mistake."

Sharp: Beazley equates the premeditated, undeserved and brutal capital murder of a totally innocent man, John Luttig, with his own just punishment for committing that crime. Such moral relativism is simply foul, regardless of your feelings about capital punishment.

Beazley humbly offers: "If someone tried to dispose of everyone here (those witnessing the execution) for participating in this killing, I'd scream a resounding, 'No.' I'd tell them to give them all the gift that they would not give me ... and that's to give them all a second chance."

Sharp: How generous. Beazley wouldn't execute those witnessing his just execution. Saint Beazley.

And Beazley didn't have a second chance? Please.

He had infinite chances to choose a life outside of crime. He had a great life, a wonderful family, was president of his school class, a great athlete. He had it all. And what did he do?

He threw it away, just as he so casually pumped two bullets into the head of John Luttig.

Mrs. Luttig survived by playing dead, after Beazley threw some lead in her direction -- he missed.

Beazley continues: "Tonight we tell the world that there are no second chances in the eyes of justice. ... Tonight, we tell our children that in some instances, in some cases, killing is right."

Sharp: Just the opposite. Justice gave Beazley 8 years on death row to make every thing as right as he could. To make amends, to show true remorse and contrition. But, instead, he threw that opportunity away, as well.

Instead, it is all about poor Napoleon. And yes, Napoleon, it is a good lesson for our children. Yes, in some cases killing is right, though never easy. It is right to search out and kill terrorists that pledge to murder innocents. And, it is just and right to execute terrorists like Napoleon Beazley.

Napoleon asks: "But who's wrong if in the end we're all victims?"

Sharp: It is so common for self serving criminals to see themselves as victims. Beazley was no different.

Beazley implores: "Give (death row murderers) a chance to undo their wrongs."

Sharp: It is, of course, impossible to undo a capital murder and the ensuing horror and pain that still remains with those who cared and loved John Luttig. You would think that after 8 years of dealing with his deep remorse that Beazley may have figured that out. But, it seems he figured out very little. More opportunities wasted.

Mr. Sanders, Beazley's final words say little about capital punishment, but a lot about Napoleon Beazley.

Read Michael Luttig's victim impact statement. He is John's son



1) For clarity,  I separated my comments with Sharp: I could not find the original Letter at the FWST site, but found it at another site, undated.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Why Death Sentences Have Dropped in Texas

Why Death Sentences Have Dropped in Texas
Dudley Sharp

Re: Texas is issuing fewer death sentences and executing fewer inmates, report says, Samantha Ketterer, Dallas Morning News, 12/15/16

From: Dudley Sharp

The referenced report, issued by Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP), finds that opinions and practices, against the death penalty, as well as the adoption of life without parole (LWOP) in 2005, expensive death penalty trials and better legal defense are reasons for the drop, as per Kristin Houlé, the coalition's director.

Rob Kepple, executive director of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, finds:

"I don’t know that that (the drop in death sentences) should surprise anybody," "The number of murders alone and the number of death-eligible cases is way lower than it was in the '80s and '90s."

Let's look.

Life Without Parole (LWOP) and Texas Death Penalty Reduction

LWOP law went into effect in Texas on September 1, 2005.

I didn't find any post 9/1/2005 capital murders that pled down to LWOP before 12/31/2005 nor any death penalty option trials that were decided prior to 12/31/2005, with a LWOP sentence.

There was a 69% drop in death sentences, from 48 in 1999 to 15 in 2005, PRIOR to LWOP having any effect on death sentences.

The first year that the LWOP law could have had any effect on death sentences was in 2006, with 11 death sentences.

In 2007, death sentences rose by 36%, to 15.

With almost total consistency, death sentences averaged a little over 10 per year from 2006-2014, which added an  additional 10% drop, to 79%, from the 69% decline of 1999-2005, with that 10%, easily, seen as part of a consistent 15 year (1999-2014)  downward trend, unaffected by LWOP, with the 06-14 drop, massively, smaller than the pre LWOP drop.

In effect, there was no drop from 2006-2014.

Prior to LWOP application, death sentences averaged about a 10% drop per year from 1999-2005, but about a 1% drop per year from 2006-2014, on average, after LWOP application, from 11 in 2006 to an average of 10, from 2007-2014, with 15 in 2007 and 11 in 2008 and 2014.

Death sentences dropped in 2015 and 2016, to 2 and 4, respectively, 10 years after the LWOP law, with no reason to suggest that LWOP was the reason for those numbers, after a 10 year wait, when none of the immediate, previous 15 year, 79% drop can be connected to LWOP.

It is important to note that juries were not allowed to be told that the previous, pre 2005 life sentences, had parole eligibility.

Texas had a 55% drop in murders (71% drop in rate),  37% drop in robberies (60% drop in rate), from 1991-2014.

Robbery/murder is the most common death eligible crime, which may have dropped 70-80%, during that 1991-2014 period, which may account for the entire drop.

When I first heard the claims about Texas' LWOP law causing the death sentence drop (1), I didn't even have to fact check. I already knew about the huge reductions in violent crime rates, inclusive of murder and robbery, prior to the LWOP law, just as all Texas media and Houlé did.

Other Alleged Causes For The Drop In Death Sentences

Nonsense

"Democratic state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., the author of the life-without-parole law, said "It isn't life without parole that has weakened the death penalty," "It is a growing lack of belief that our system is fair."(1)

Lucio appears correct about LWOP and I have seen no evidence that either prosecutors or jurors have reduced death sentences because of unfairness.

The Innocence & Exoneration Problems

All death penalty prosecutors are aware of the massive "innocent" and "exoneration" frauds (2), by anti death penalty folks, so that would have no effect in their seeking the death penalty.

Alan Levy, Tarrant County district attorney's office, credits the Innocence Project groups with "convincing the public that the system is much less reliable than it is." (1).

How is the public subject to the Innocence Project deceptions? Only via the media. I am unaware of any study finding that capital cases or any jurors have been effected by these frauds.

Costs

"Also, in the recession, the higher costs of pursuing the death penalty have become harder to ignore, and life without parole is a far cheaper alternative." (1).

Maybe.

Up front costs have always been higher in death penalty cases, so that gives no reason, now, for that to cause fewer death sentences. It always has. Yes, the up front costs would be more of a challenge during a recession, however . . .

It is the most populous counties which have, by far, the greatest number of death eligible crimes, and, within those counties, the death penalty would have the smallest percentage affect on budgets, likely, under 0.1% of the total budget. About 2% of death penalty jurisdictions have more than half of the death sentenced cases, as expected, because they have the majority of violent crimes.

The only academic review of death penalty vs lifer costs in Texas found that life cases were more expensive (3). So, again, we may be getting the wrong information from the media (1), as they, so often, just follow the anti death penalty lead, which is that the death penalty is, always, millions more expensive than LWOP, which is complete nonsense (3).

"Pursuing life without parole from the onset can avoid millions in legal costs and settle cases quickly."

True. If you plea bargain to LWOP, only possible with the death penalty, the savings are huge.

Popular Opinion

The alleged popular opinion drop, against the death penalty, would have had little to no effect on prosecutors seeking the death penalty, unless we had a noticeably higher percentage of anti death penalty prosecutors elected, which, apparently , may not have occurred until the incoming class of 2017.

If there becomes a high percentage of anti death penalty folks lying to get on capital eligible juries, that would, certainly have an effect, but am unaware how you would measure that.

It has been stated that 2/3 of capital cases result in a sanction less than death. If true, we could measure if that percentage has risen. I am unaware of any such review. (see Just revenge : costs and consequences of the death penalty, Mark Costanzo, St. Martin's Press, 1997)

I say "alleged" popular opinion drop because the media has, for at least, the past 10 years, chosen only those polls with the lowest death penalty support and excluded all others, as detailed (4).

The highest death penalty support, ever, was 86%, in 2013, as recorded by Angus-Reid, the #1 most accurate pollster in the 2012 presidential election (4). You are, likely, unaware. Not one media outlet carried it (4).

That's what we are dealing with.

Other reasons

Both upgraded defense and a series of US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decisions, limiting death penalty application, may have, both, contributed to the Texas drop, with the later much easier to quantify than the former.

There are 6 or 7 factors they may have affected the death sentence drop in Texas, with the reduction in capital murders being the most obvious, as well as the most hopeful and welcome sign. as well as the most, commonly, downplayed or absent.

1) one of many

A. Batheja, "Death sentences have dropped sharply after life without parole became possible," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, November 15, 2009 with active link, found here, as directed by the reporter.
Texas sends fewer to death row, November 28, 2009
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-11-28/news/0911280167_1_death-sentences-death-row-juries

2) The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy
READ SECTIONS 3&4 FIRST
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-innocent-frauds-standard-anti-death.html

3)  See Texas

Saving Costs with The Death Penalty
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/02/death-penalty-cost-saving-money.html

4) 86% Death Penalty Support: Highest Ever - April 2013
World Support Remains High
95% of Murder Victim's Family Members Support Death Penalty
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/11/86-death-penalty-support-highest-ever.html

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Death Penalty & Revenge

The Death Penalty & Revenge
Dudley Sharp

All sanctions are sought for justice, not revenge.

As an accepted fact, the death penalty has greater due process protections for the defendant/convicted murderer than does any other sanctions, removing the death penalty even further from revenge than all other sanctions.

Due process removed revenge from the justice equation.

No one connected to the crime can be a fact finder in any case, nor can they determine the verdict nor the sentence at trial, all of which are the province of the independent fact finders, those being either judge or jury, neither of which have a motive for revenge.

This is, all, very well known.

If an actual innocent is convicted, it is done, solely, based upon neither the judge nor jury being aware of the defendant's actual innocence - to the contrary, the evidence provided proved the defendant guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt. The judge or jury found that justice was served by the verdict.

Unknown to judge or jury, the verdict is unjust.

Thereafter, it is the province of the appellate courts and/or the executive branch and/or post conviction provisions in law, providing for actual innocence claims to be heard, to find and determine legal error and/or actual innocence and/or a level of uncertainty in the verdict so that the unjust verdict is reversed and justice found.

Also very well known.