FEATURED POST

America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

Image
With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the national fight to abolish capital punishment will have to go local.
When the Supreme Court revived capital punishment in 1976, just four years after de facto abolishing it, the justices effectively took ownership of the American death penalty and all its outcomes. They have spent the decades since then setting its legal and constitutional parameters, supervising its general implementation, sanctioning its use in specific cases, and brushing aside concerns about its many flaws.
That unusual role in the American legal system is about to change. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the court this summer, the Supreme Court will lose a heterodox jurist whose willingness to cross ideological divides made him the deciding factor in many legal battles. In cases involving the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, his judgment often meant the difference between life and death for hundreds of death-row pr…

State appeals court affirms jailing of Mennonite who won’t testify in death penalty case

Greta Lindecrantz
The Colorado Court of Appeals on Friday affirmed a contempt of court ruling, thereby keeping a Mennonite investigator, who is refusing to testify in a death penalty case, in jail.

The judges listened to arguments for about an hour from attorneys representing Greta Lindecrantz, the 67-year-old who has been in jail since Monday for contempt of court, and Arapahoe County District Judge Michelle Amico, who sent her there.

The three-judge panel did not make an immediate decision, although Presiding Judge Jerry Jones said they would consider the case carefully and quickly.  He opened the hearing by saying, “We are acutely aware this is a very serious matter.”

Later in the day,  the panel affirmed the ruling.

“Ms. Lindecrantz is in a tough spot — caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. We take no pleasure in declining to extricate her. But the state of the law being what it is, decline we must,” Judge Jones said in the ruling. Judges Robert D. Hawthorne and Diana Terry concurred.

“I am obviously disappointed,” said Mari Newman, Lindecrantz’s attorney. “The court had no interest in finding a way for her to testify without abandoning her religious beliefs.”

Lindecrantz was called to testify by the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in an appeals hearing being held for Robert Ray, a man sentenced to death in 2009 for a murder-for-hire plot to kill two witnesses in another murder case. The appeals hearing, which is mandatory, is challenging the work done by his original defense team, and Lindecrantz served as an investigator on that team.

She has said that testifying on behalf of the prosecution would put her at odds with her Mennonite faith, which is opposed to the death penalty.

A lawyer representing Amico told the appeals court that allowing someone to refuse to participate in a criminal proceeding because of religious beliefs would cause disarray in the courts.

“Ms. Lindecrantz’s position has opened a Pandora’s Box,” said Matthew Grove, assistant solicitor general.

Newman had asked the court if her client could take the stand as a court-sponsored witness, rather than one for the prosecution.

Source: The Denver Post, N. Phillips, K. Nicholson, March 2, 2018


⚑ | 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!



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

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Texas: With a man's execution days away, his victims react with fury or forgiveness

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejects clemency for Chris Young

Ohio executes Robert Van Hook

Texas executes Christopher Young

The Aum Shinrikyo Executions: Why Now?

Indonesia: Gay couple publicly whipped after vigilante mob drags them out of beauty salon

Saudi Arabia executes seven people in one day

Execution date pushed back for Texas 7 escapee after paperwork error on death warrant

Fentanyl And The Death Penalty

20 Minutes to Death: Record of the Last Execution in France