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2018 Death Penalty report: Saudi Arabia’s False Promise

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With crown prince Mohammed bin Salman at the helm, 2018 was a deeply violent and barbaric year for Saudi Arabia, under his de facto leadership.
PhotoDeera Square is a public space located in front of the Religious Police building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in which public executions (usually by beheading) take place. It is sometimes known as Justice Square and colloquially called Chop Chop Square. After Friday prayers, police and other officials clear the area to make way for the execution to take place. After the beheading of the condemned, the head is stitched to the body which is wrapped up and taken away for the final rites.
This year execution rates of 149 executions, shows an increase from the previous year of three executions, indicating that death penalty trends are soaring and there is no reversal of this trend in sight.
The execution rates between 2015-2018 are amongst the highest recorded in the Kingdom since the 1990s and coincide with the ascension of king Salman to the t…

Alabama has set executions for 2 men, including one who asked for it

Alabama's death row
The Alabama Supreme Court has set execution dates for 2 inmates, 1 for the man convicted in the 1989 pipe bombing that killed a federal appeals judge in Mountain Brook, and the other from an inmate who asked the court to expedite his own death.

The court set April 19 for Walter Lee Moody's execution for the death of U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robert S. Vance. Justices also set March 15 for the execution of Michael Wayne Eggers, the Alabama Attorney General's Office confirmed Friday.

Eggers was convicted of 2 counts of capital murder in connection with the Dec. 30, 2000 murder of Bennie Francis Murray, of Talladega, during the course of a kidnapping and robbery.

While the Alabama Attorney General's Office asked for an execution date for Moody, Eggers had submitted on Jan. 10, 2016 a hand-written motion to the Alabama Supreme Court asking that his execution be "expedited."

In 2016 a federal judge, after listening to mental health experts, declared that Eggers was within his rights to stop appeals in his case. "Eggers has made a rational choice to dismiss his appointed counsel and abandon his appeal. Eggers has the right to make that decision, provided he is competent to do so, and the evidence indicates that he is," the judge stated.

A 3-member panel of the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the judge's decision. The Alabama Supreme Court on Jan. 23 of this year set the execution date.

Eggers' former attorneys had sought a review by the full 11th Circuit appeals court but that court denied a review of the case on Feb. 7, the Attorney General noted in a motion. Eggers' former appellate attorneys with the Federal Public Defenders Office in Montgomery plan to file a request for review with the U.S. Supreme Court from the 11th Circuit's ruling in the next two weeks, according to Assistant Federal Defender John Palombi.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court is also set to consider on March 2 a motion Eggers filed himself regarding competency.

In his 2016 motion asking the state to expedite his execution, he says he has not sought to delay his execution and a few times mentions getting closure for the family of his victim.

"Eggers now moves this court to expedite Eggers execution, sentence of death and the effective administration of justice, for the family members of one Bennie Francis Murray and citizens of the state of Alabama," Eggers wrote. "Eggers does not challenge the method of execution employed, or the drugs used for said execution by the state of Alabama."

Inmates have challenged Alabama's 3-drug protocol in court. On Thursday the state called off the execution of Doyle Lee Hamm after apparently having problems with finding veins.

Doyle Lee Hamm survived his date with the executioner Thursday, as Alabama was unable to begin the procedure before the death warrant expired at midnight.

In his motion, Eggers also states that "Justice should be swift, not a facade." He said that death row inmates should not be exposed to double punishment - 20 to 30 years in prison "punctuated with an execution. One would argue it is cruel and unusual punishment."

Eggers noted the state of Texas where he said it's 6 to 10 years to execution. He wrote that "is on the right track."

"Family members should not be exposed to the procedural roller coaster, allowing for closure, while ensuring due process and equal protection under the state and federal constitution," Eggers wrote.

Moody


Moody, who at 83 is the oldest inmate on Alabama death row, on Jan. 8 had his request for a review of his appeal rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. The next day the Alabama Attorney General sought an execution date from the Alabama Supreme Court.

"Moody has no further available challenges to his conviction and death sentence," the Attorney General wrote in its request.

Alabama's death chamberThe court should fix the date of execution for Moody "so that complete justice may be visited upon the murderer of Judge Robert Vance," the Attorney General states in the motion.

Moody was seeking to appeal an U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in March 2017. That appeal regarded his decision to represent himself at the 1996 capital murder trial. After convicting him, the jury voted 11-1 for a death sentence and the judge followed that recommendation.

Moody had requested that he represent himself at his trial. But once jury selection began, he asked for a 12- to 18-month continuance so he could hire two lawyers. The judge refused to grant a continuance.

"This non-unanimous death verdict resulted from a case in which the defendant represented himself, despite numerous requests for counsel. Our court system should be concerned about the obvious unfairness of such a situation," Spencer Hahn, an assistant federal public defender who represents Moody, said in a statement to AL.com after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled.

The U.S. Supreme Court also previously refused to deny another appeal by Moody.

Judge Vance was killed Dec. 16, 1989, and his wife, Helen, was seriously injured after the judge opened a package that had been sent to his home, detonating the pipe bomb. A similar pipe bomb killed a lawyer in Atlanta 2 days later.

Moody was linked to the crimes through a similar bomb nearly two decades earlier that had injured his wife when it exploded. His prosecution in that case led to his resentment of the courts leading up to the 1989 bombings.

In 1991, a federal jury convicted Moody of 71 charges related to the pipe-bomb murders of Vance and civil rights attorney Robert E. Robinson.

Months later, an Alabama grand jury indicted Moody on 2 counts of capital murder and 1 count of assault in the 1st degree (for injuries suffered by Judge Vance's wife). Moody represented himself at his state trial, which took place in October of 1996.

Vance's son, Robert "Bob" S. Vance Jr., is a Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge who is running this year as a Democrat in the race for Alabama Chief Justice. He narrowly lost to former chief justice Roy Moore in the 2012 race after stepping into the race less than three months before the election.

Vance says murdered father taught him value of public service

Bob Vance's wife, Joyce Vance, is former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.

Source: al.com, February 26, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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