FEATURED POST

No Second Chances: What to Do After a Botched Execution

Image
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…

Florida schedules its first execution in more than 18 months

Mark James Asay
Mark James Asay
TALLAHASSEE -- Florida is planning to execute its next Death Row inmate in August — which will be the first execution in more than a year and a half amid months of legal limbo over the state’s death penalty law.

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday issued a death warrant that reschedules Mark James Asay’s execution for 6 p.m. Aug. 24.

Asay was convicted in 1988 of killing two men in Jacksonville. If his execution happens as scheduled, Asay will become the first white person put to death for murdering a black person in Florida, now-retired Justice James E.C. Perry previously said.

Asay was originally scheduled to be put to death in March 2016, but his execution was halted that month in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling known as Hurst v. Florida that upended Florida’s death penalty law by deeming unconstitutional the state’s procedures for sentencing prisoners to death.

As part of addressing that decision, the Florida Supreme Court last December cemented death sentences for nearly 200 prisoners — including Asay — whose sentences were finalized before a June 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling referenced in the Hurst decision.

State justices in December also lifted a stay on the execution of Asay, in particular, paving the way for executions to resume in the state.

When asked why Scott waited more than six months to issue the new warrant, his spokesman John Tupps said in a statement: “After consideration of the facts, including the Legislature passing and the governor signing SB 280 earlier this year, our office worked with the Attorney General’s office to proceed today.”

SB 280 was the Legislature’s solution to fix the state’s death penalty procedures following the Hurst decision. It requires a unanimous decision by a jury to sentence a defendant to death. The bill was among the first actions lawmakers took in the 2017 session. Scott signed the new procedures into law shortly thereafter in mid-March.

Tupps added: “This is one of the governor’s most solemn duties involving decisions that are made only after a full and thorough review. His foremost concerns are the families of the victims and the finality of judgments.”

Scott wrote in the warrant that he had received formal guidance on Monday from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi that the stay on Asay’s execution had been lifted and could legally proceed. He added that state law “requires I set a new date for execution of the death sentence within 10 days after such certification.”

A spokeswoman for Bondi said her office certifies “upon request from the governor’s office.”

The last inmate executed in Florida — and the only one of 2016 — was Oscar Ray Bolin Jr., who was put to death Jan. 7 of that year.

Despite the absence of executions, the population on Florida’s Death Row has declined as the Florida Supreme Court vacates some death sentences because they were set using procedures deemed illegal by Hurst.

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Hurst five days after Bolin was executed, prompting a need for the Legislature to rewrite the sentencing laws this year.

Last October, the Florida Supreme Court decided that the Hurst ruling required unanimous votes by juries to make a death sentence — which lawmakers codified into state law this spring.

Source: Miami Herald, Kristen M. Clark, July 3, 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!

Comments

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Ohio: Alva Campbell execution delayed indefinitely

Here's as Crazy a Death Penalty Story as You'll Find

Nevada releases detailed manual on how it plans to execute death row inmate

Ohio: Alva Campbell will get wedge-shaped pillow for execution; his death could become a “spectacle”

A Travelling Executioner

Arkansas Justice: Racism, Torture, and a Botched Execution

No Second Chances: What to Do After a Botched Execution

Nevada death row inmate placed on suicide watch

Clemency gone missing from Florida’s death row | Editorial

Texas: Execution chamber warden shares worst memories