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Will the Supreme Court Kill The Death Penalty This Term?

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Will the U.S. Supreme Court add the fate of the death penalty to a term already fraught with hot-button issues like partisan gerrymandering, warrantless surveillance, and a host of contentious First Amendment disputes?
That’s the hope of an ambitious Supreme Court petition seeking to abolish the ultimate punishment. But it runs headlong into the fact that only two justices have squarely called for a reexamination of the death penalty’s constitutionality.
Abel Hidalgo challenges Arizona’s capital punishment system—which sweeps too broadly, he says, because the state’s “aggravating factors” make 99 percent of first-degree murderers death-eligible—as well as the death penalty itself, arguing it’s cruel and unusual punishment.
He’s represented by former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal—among the most successful Supreme Court practitioners last term. Hidalgo also has the support of several outside groups who filed amicus briefs on his behalf, notably one from a group including Ari…

'I never professed to be an angel, but I didn’t kill anybody!' - Clinton Young, scheduled to be executed by Texas Oct. 26, 2017

Clinton Lee Young
‘I never professed to be an angel, but I didn’t kill anybody…’ - Clinton Young, 2013

Clinton Lee Young (born July 19, 1983) was convicted of murder and is currently awaiting execution in the state of Texas.

On June 6, 2017, his execution was assigned to take place on October 26, 2017.

Young, from Ore City in Upshur County, was convicted and condemned for the November 2001 fatal shootings of Doyle Douglas in Longview and then Samuel Petrey a day or two later in a Midland oil field after carjacking him in Eastland, about 53 miles east of Abilene.

The Case


In the early hours of a cold November morning in east Texas, five people piled in a car for a short trip to Longview. Twenty four hours later, two men were dead and three men were in custody for murder. 

Two best friends and one teenager just four months after his 18th birthday, who had only known these people a few short months were the three in custody. The two best friends made deals (unsigned at trial time) to name the teenage acquaintance the ringleader of the murders. 

There are two things that motivate a prosecutor to leave deals unsigned at trial. The most important motivation, disclosure. A deal must be disclosed to the jury. By leaving the deal unsigned the testimony that no deal existed is "truthful", therefore the testimony can be trusted. 

The second and least spoken about is the obvious control the prosecutor has over the testimony. The teenager was Mr. Young, and the compelling evidence that lead to his conviction was the testimony of the best friends, a police chase, and juvenile records from a time when this young man was tossed from parent to parent, facility to facility. 

"Proof beyond a reasonable doubt" is the standard for conviction. The prosecution achieved this by soliciting lies from one of the co defendants. This co defendant failed a lie detector test, in front of his own attorney and the investigator for the prosecution. The prosecution still called him as a witness and incited his less than truthful testimony. This is called prosecutorial misconduct. As an ethical question, it is unethical for an attorney to solicit testimony that is known to be false. 

"Preponderance of evidence" is the standard for the death penalty question of future dangerousness. Somehow, Texas believes it has a crystal ball, and can determine whether or not someone will be dangerous in the future. When a jury believes in the punishment phase of a trial that the convicted will commit more crimes from behind bars, a death sentence is warranted.

Arrested and charged with capital murder


Clinton Young was arrested while fleeing from police. He was later indicted by a grand jury for capital murder. Two co-defendants were held on murder charges and later pled guilty to lesser charges. The fourth involved man, who had by his own volition directed the police to one of the bodies, was never charged.


The prosecution’s case


The State’s case against Clinton Young relied primarily on the testimony of the three other involved men. The State maintained that Clinton was the driving force in the murders and kidnapping, and that the other’s involvement was the result of duress caused by Clinton Young. Clinton’s sole purpose over the course of the two murders, according to the State, was to travel to Midland to see his girlfriend.


The defense case


The defense case focused mainly on three problems with the State’s case:
  • conflicting testimony of the three eyewitnesses;
  • inconsistent ballistic evidence;
  • signs of complicity among the three eyewitnesses who claimed to be threatened or held hostage by Clinton Young.

There are no fingerprints and there is no guilt relevant DNA linking Clinton to the murders.

One of the three involved initially told police Clinton fired all three shots at the first victim and then recanted when he learned the other witness had told police the third shot was fired by one of the other men involved.

Another of the three, re-enacted one of the murders on videotape, then reversed his staging of the scene when he learned the coroner’s report rendered his prior version implausible.

Also, there were numerous occasions on which one of the three, who claimed to be a hostage of Clinton, could have easily parted company. This co-defendant admitted to a detective that he had possession of the gun and keys to the vehicle while Clinton was inside a store. He also admitted to the police that Clinton was at times asleep.


Poor police investigation and lost evidence


The police failed to investigate important crime-scenes in this case. For example, the car that belonged to the first victim was never properly tested. Also the home, close to where the first shooting took place, and the area surrounding it, have not been investigated. No clerks or shoppers at the grocery store, where the second victim was allegedly kidnapped from, were interviewed by the police.

The gloves the co-defendant wore during the murders were never tested for gunshot residue. Clinton, in maintaining he didn’t kill anyone, requested the police to test his DNA and test the gloves of the co-defendant for gunshot residue. The gloves were eventually tested for DNA, but only on the outside.

On top of this, the State lost or destroyed evidence that was exculpatory in nature.

Plea deals, false testimonies and a biased judge


Clinton Young’s conviction for capital murder and his punishment of death were based upon suppressed evidence, that two of the involved were given secret plea deals and upon knowingly presented perjured testimony. Furthermore, the judge who presided over Clinton’s trial, motion for new trial and State post-conviction proceeding, was not impartial.

Ballistic results


The ballistic research that was done on the first shooting, when matched with the autopsy report, shows that Clinton was not and could not have been the shooter. However, these ballistic reports were not admitted into evidence in Clinton’s case.

Ineffective assistance of counsel


The defense investigator, who worked on Clinton’s case until 2005 and was hired by Clinton’s habeas counsel, was emotionally unstable, abusing drugs and obtained false declarations. By appointing incompetent counsel and not adopting proper standards to evaluate counsel’s competency, the court denied Clinton his opportunity to properly challenge his conviction and sentence.


Statements by fellow inmates of co-defendants


There are statements by several people that were held in custody with the co-defendant and who came forward concerning the co-defendant talking (bragging) about being the actual killer in this case and getting away with murder, even admitting that Clinton was asleep during one of the murders.

Failed polygraph by co-defendant


The co-defendant and prosecution’s star witness, who was the actual killer, was asked to take a polygraph examination by the prosecution in Clinton’s case. He failed this polygraph. The examiner that took the polygraph was allowed to testify in court in Clinton’s case, but only outside of the jury’s presence. The prosecutors never offered Clinton an opportunity to take a polygraph examination.


Conclusion


It is clear that the prosecution in Clinton’s case intentionally prevented Clinton from putting forth a proper defense. Also, others that were supposed to work for or represent Clinton, have repeatedly failed him. Clinton did not receive any kind of fair trial or even a fair appeal.

➤ The actual legal material, is available on this page

➤ You can download a PDF with more information about his case here, or read it here.





Deal With Death - Clinton Young , a Jessica Vilerius documentary

Published on Apr 28, 2017 with English subtitles (in the making...)



Source: Save An Innocent Life, June 2017. Visit Clinton's Facebook page.

⚑ | 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.


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