FEATURED POST

The Blissful Ignorance of American neo-Nazis

Image
The violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville reflects the dangerous, open-the-floodgates culture that having a Bully-in-Chief in the White House has created in America.
Hundreds of protesters descended upon Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017 for a “Unite the Right” rally. 
The rally was dispersed by police minutes after its scheduled start at noon, after clashes between rallygoers and counter-protesters, and after a torchlit pre-rally march Friday night descended into violence.
But later that day, as rallygoers began a march and counterprotests continued, a reported Nazi sympathizer drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one and injuring 19.
Self-described “pro-white” activist Jason Kessler organized the rally to protest the planned removal of a statue of confederate general Robert E. Lee from a park in Charlottesville. 
Kessler is affiliated with the alt-right movement that uses internet trolling tactics to argue against diversity and “identity po…

Justices to Consider Scope of Habeas Review in Death Penalty Appeals

SCOTUS
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to weigh into the issue of which prior state court rulings a federal court should evaluate when deciding the merits of a condemned inmate's appeal.

The case involves Marion Wilson Jr., a Georgia inmate, who, along with co-defendant Robert Earl Butts, was sentenced to death for the 1996 killing of state prison guard Donovan Parks.

The 2 men had approached Parks in a Milledgeville, Ga. Wal-Mart parking lot and asked him for a ride. Parks invited them into his car, but a short time later, they ordered him to pull over to the side of a residential street, where they killed him with a sawed-off shotgun blast to the head.

After a jury trial, Wilson was convicted of malice murder, felony murder, armed robbery, hijacking a motor vehicle, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

The jury later came back and sentenced him to death for the murder, finding as a statutory aggravating circumstance that Wilson killed Parks while engaged in the commission of an armed robbery.

The sentence was later affirmed by a Georgia superior court judge and the state Supreme Court.

Wilson appealed his sentence to the federal court in Atlanta, and after failing to have it overturned there, asked the 11th Circuit to intervene.

But that's where things got complicated.

The appeals court had to decide which of 2 lower court rulings it would consider when deciding the merits of Wilson's appeal: the short, summary opinion of the Georgia Supreme Court, or the far more detailed ruling handed down by the superior court judge.

Lawyers for Wilson and the state attorney general's office both argued the panel they should give the most weight to the superior court ruling, which they said grew out of hearings and after the judge had reviewed the evidence and heard testimony in the case.

Rather than simply cede the point in the face of a unified defense and prosecution, the 11th Circuit took the unusual step of appointing Adam Mortara, a Chicago attorney who had not previously been involved in the case, to argue in favor of relying on the Supreme Court summary.

In Aug. 2016, a sharply divided 11th Circuit voted 6-5 in Mortara's favor.

Writing for the majority, U.S. Circuit William Pryor Jr., who is also a commissioner on the U.S. Sentencing Commission, said that to contend the Supreme Court's denial of Wilson's appeal was not "an adjudication on the merits is to suggest that the elaborate procedures of the Georgia courts are a sham."

"We refuse to endorse that suggestion," Pryor said.

Wilson's attorneys filed their petition for a writ of certiorari 3 months later.

As is its custom, the U.S. Supreme Court did not explain its rationale for taking up the case. However, the outcome of their decision could make it more difficult for death-row inmates to persuade federal appeals courts to overturn their capital sentences.

The justices also invited Mortara to brief and argue, as amicus curiae, in support of the 11th Circuit's decision.

Source: Courthouse News, February 28, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Iran: Shameful execution of Alireza Tajiki, arrested at age 15

On death row, a whisper saved his life. He still does not know why

Indonesia: The journey from death row

Florida Supreme Court strikes blow to death row inmates

ISIS releases new pictures of gay man being thrown off a roof in Syria

Iran: Call to Save 7 Prisoners on the Verge of Execution

Iran parliament softens drug death penalty laws

Maldivian and international human rights groups urge Maldives President to halt execution plans

Bali nine Renae Lawrence, other Australians recommended for sentence cut

Iran: Execution Sentence Issued for Two Afghan Juvenile Offenders