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'Express lane to death': Texas seeks approval to speed up death penalty appeals, execute more quickly

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Texas is seeking to speed up executions with a renewed request to opt-in to a federal law that would shorten the legal process and limit appeals options for death-sentenced prisoners.
Defense attorneys worry it would lead to the execution of innocent people and - if it's applied retroactively, as Texas is requesting - it could potentially end ongoing appeals for a number of death row prisoners and make them eligible for execution dates.
"Opt-in would speed up the death penalty treadmill exponentially," said Kathryn Kase, an longtime defense attorney and former executive director of Texas Defender Services.
But a state attorney general spokeswoman framed the request to the Justice Department as a necessary way to avoid "stressful delays" and cut down on the "excessive costs" of lengthy federal court proceedings.
Robbie Kaplan, co-founder of the #TimesUp movement, says sweeping changes to laws in recent years have dissuaded attorneys from taking on har…

Pablo Ibar seeks release on bond before retrial

Pablo Ibar, left, and defense lawyer Fred Haddad
Pablo Ibar, left, and defense lawyer Fred Haddad.
A man who spent 16 years on Death Row for three murders he insists he did not commit went before a Broward judge Friday to ask for a bond so he can leave jail as he and his lawyers prepare for a retrial.

Broward Circuit Judge Raag Singhal said he will need time to review volumes of material provided by both sides and will make a decision July 14 on whether Pablo Ibar, 44, should go free while he awaits trial.

Ibar was sentenced to death in 2000 for the murders of Casimir "Butch Casey" Sucharski, the flashy former owner of the Casey's Nickelodeon nightclub, and Sharon Anderson and Marie Rogers, two women he brought home with him early on June 26, 1994, the same morning two men chose to rob Sucharski's Miramar house.

The case has proved one of the most expensive and time consuming in Broward history, with prosecutors going after two co-defendants spanning four trials so far, taking up more than 20 months in front of the juries.

Ibar and former co-defendant Seth Penalver first went on trial together in 1997, with the jury deadlocking after eight months of testimony. Penalver's second trial ended in a conviction in 1999 after six months, and Ibar was convicted after a six-week trial the following year.

But Penalver was granted a retrial, which ended with his acquittal in 2012.

Penalver was among more than two dozens supporters and family members who attended Friday's bond hearing before Singhal.

Ibar was granted a retrial earlier this year, with the Florida Supreme Court ruling that Ibar's defense lawyer at trial, Kayo Morgan, failed to retain a facial recognition expert to challenge the prosecution's evidence that Ibar was at the scene of the crime. The brutal beating of Sucharski and all three murders were captured on home surveillance video, and the man believed to be Ibar left his face uncovered for part of the video.

Ibar is legally entitled to bail unless prosecutors can demonstrate that the evidence against him is stronger than what a jury would require for conviction.

Defense lawyers, led by Benjamin Waxman and Fred Haddad, told Singhal Friday that the Supreme Court's decision granting the retrial contained language showing prosecutors cannot meet that burden. In one place, the ruling described the evidence against Ibar as "scant."

But prosecutor William Sinclair said the case remains strong enough to keep Ibar in custody.

Both sides are pushing for the trial to get underway by this fall, and attorneys told Singhal they expect it to last four months.

Source: Sun Sentinel, Rafael Olmeda, July 1, 2016


Juez evalúa la petición de libertad condicional para español Pablo Ibar

MIAMI -- El juez Raaj Singhal evalúa hoy la petición de libertad condicional presentada por la defensa del español Pablo Ibar, cuya pena de muerte fue anulada en febrero pasado por el Tribunal Supremo de Florida.

En una audiencia celebrada en un tribunal del condado de Broward, la defensa de Ibar pidió la libertad condicional al considerar que no “se atiene” a la Constitución que el español siga preso.

Sin embargo, la Fiscalía, que ya notificó su intención de solicitar de nuevo la pena capital en la repetición del juicio contra Ibar por el triple asesinato en 1994 por el que fue condenado, rechazó esta moción de la defensa.

Para reforzar su negativa a esta libertad condicional, la Fiscalía presentó ante el juez cuatro cajas con documentos y transcripciones de testimonios.

Tras recibir este material, el juez pidió un receso para analizar el índice del contenido de las cajas.

Mientras tanto, la defensa, encabezada por el letrado Benjamin Waxman, calificó esta maniobra como táctica dilatoria por parte de la Fiscalía.

Pablo Ibar, con uniforme de preso común, en color gris con rayas gris oscuro, se mostró durante la vista muy comunicativo y relajado.

El reo estuvo acompañado por una docena de familiares, entre ellos su esposa, Tanya, su hermano Michael y su padre, Cándido, así como el cónsul español en Miami, Cándido Creis.

Ibar, de 45 años y origen vasco, fue condenado en 2000 por el asesinato en 1994 del dueño de un local nocturno y dos bailarinas, y lleva encarcelado casi 22 años, 15 de ellos en el corredor de la muerte, del que fue trasladado a una cárcel común a principios de mes.

Fuente: elnuevoherald.com, Julio 1, 2016

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