No Second Chances: What to Do After a Botched Execution

Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. The state shouldn't get a second chance.
The pathos and problems of America's death penalty were vividly on display yesterday when Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. Immediately after its failure Gov. John Kasich set June 5, 2019, as a new execution date.
This plan for a second execution reveals a glaring inadequacy in the legal standards governing botched executions in the United States.
Campbell was tried and sentenced to die for murdering 18-year-old Charles Dials during a carjacking in 1997. After Campbell exhausted his legal appeals, he was denied clemency by the state parole board and the governor.
By the time the state got around to executing Campbell, he was far from the dangerous criminal of 20 years ago. As is the case with many of America's death-row inmates, the passage of time had inflicted its own punishments.
The inmate Ohio strapped onto the gurney was a 69-year-old man afflicted with serious ailm…

Dylann Roof's attorney OKs request for mental evaluation, pushes back on witness lists

Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof
Defense attorneys for Dylann Roof, the 22-year-old white man accused of killing 9 black parishioners during a Bible study at Emanuel AME Church, say they will allow state prosecutors to conduct their own mental evaluation of Roof.

In a hearing last month, the solicitor's office asked to conduct its own mental evaluation of Roof to rebut or confirm the findings from a pair of evaluations performed by the defense team's experts.

The state trial, originally slated to begin in July, has been pushed back to January 2017 to allow the defense's experts to complete 6 months of further exams and reports on Roof's mental state.

On Wednesday, Roof's attorney Ashley Pennington agreed to the request, with three caveats: the report on Roof's mental state remains sealed from prosecutors until the sentencing phase of the trial; Roof's attorneys will be in the room during the evaluation and can object to questions; and anything Roof says pointing to his guilt in the shooting cannot be included in the report.

However, Pennington pushed back against requests for lists of expert and general witnesses.

Pennington said he "has no objection to providing to the court to further the goal of selecting a fair and unbiased jury." But Pennington says with the trial some 7 months away and the investigation ongoing, he does not have a complete list of witnesses outside those the solicitor's office plans to call to testify.

Further, Pennington says giving a list of experts and general witnesses he plans to call during Roof's defense would give prosecutors an advantage beyond normal trial discovery.

Instead, he asked the court to follow the precedent set in the 1995 Susan Smith trial in which prosecutors and defense attorneys provided witness lists to the judge who then passed them out to potential jurors to make sure there were no conflicts of interest.

"Following the same procedure here would help ensure the seating of a fair and impartial jury without requiring premature disclosure of the defendant's prospective witnesses to the state," Pennington wrote.

Roof is accused of killing nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston. He faces a number of murder and attempted murder charges for the shooting and prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.

Roof also faces nearly 3 dozen federal hate crimes charges, but the Attorney General's office has not yet announced whether it will seek the death penalty also. As a result, that decision has caused a delay in scheduling the federal trial.

Roof's attorneys at the state and federal level have said multiple times that Roof is willing to plead guilty if prosecutors remove the possibility of death as a sentence.

Source: WCIV news, May 13, 2016

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