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

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…

Alabama: Capital murder suspect denied youthful offender status; Man's trial set for 2019 in strangling deaths of wife, young son

Harold Wallace, Jr.
A capital murder suspect was looking to make a deal today. 20-year-old Harold Wallace, Jr. accused of shooting and killing innocent bystander Tamara White was in court requesting "youthful offender" status, a scenario where Wallace could have escaped a possible death penalty. 

Cuffed and shackled -- 20-year-old Harold Wallace, Jr. made his way into court Thursday afternoon. He's charged with capital murder in the death of 22-year-old Tamara White in March of 2017. 

By all accounts, the single mother was in the wrong place at the wrong time when she was hit by a bullet while waiting in the parking lot of the Springhill McDonald's. Judge John Lockett heard the case and denied Wallace's request for "youthful offender" status. 

"We are all as Tamara's family pleased with Judge Lockett not to award youthful offender status," said Tammy White, Tamara's mother. 

After the request was denied, Wallace pleaded not guilty to capital murder. While Tamara's family is relieved her suspected killer won't get the easy way out, they're still mourning her loss as they navigate their way through the legal system. 

"Tamara is truly missed. She was a great mom, great sister, daughter. Everything. So she's missed," said White. 

The Mobile County District Attorney's Office is ready to prosecute and is also pleased the request was denied. 

"It was certainly emotional for them and it's always emotional to be in that same courtroom and in the same room with the defendant and person who took their loved one's life. So it was an emotional day for them, but they are pleased with youthful offender status being denied," said Jennifer Wright, Mobile County Assistant District Attorney. 

All parties are set to meet on July 25th and decide on how to move closer to a trial date. 

Man's death penalty trial set for 2019 in Huntsville strangling deaths of wife, young son

Stephen Marc Stone
A death penalty trial is scheduled early next year for a south Huntsville man pursuing an insanity defense in the strangling deaths of his wife and 7-year-old son. 

Stephen Marc Stone is charged with capital murder in the February 2013 killings. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty if he's convicted. 

Stone, 38, was 1 of 5 capital murder suspects who had hearings in Madison County Circuit Judge Donna Pate's courtroom this afternoon. Pate scheduled the trial for Jan. 28. 

Stone was just recently released from treatment at the Alabama Department of Mental Health. Pate in May 2017 ruled Stone was incompetent to stand trial. She ordered he be treated to regain competency. The judge hasn't held a rehearing on his competency since he was released from treatment. 

The bodies of 7-year-old Zachary Stone and 32-year-old Krista Stone were found at the family's Chicamauga Trail home in south Huntsville on Feb. 24, 2013. Stephen Stone has been in custody without bail since that day. 

Stone is represented by appointed attorneys Brian Clark and Larry Marsili. Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard and Chief Trial Attorney Tim Gann are prosecuting. 

3 other capital murder suspects received trial dates in unrelated cases during this afternoon's hearings in Judge Pate's courtroom: 

Jason Loveday is tentatively scheduled for trial Oct. 29, 2018. Prosecutors haven't yet said whether they'll seek the death penalty. Loveday is accused of decapitating his aunt and fatally beating her boyfriend. 

Keon Jackson is tentatively set for trial Oct. 29. Prosecutors aren't planning to seek the death penalty. Jackson is charged in the fatal shooting of his brother-in-law, whose body was found in a burning house. 

Jebree King's trial is set for Nov. 26. He's charged in the 2014 shooting death of Lawrence Alan Williams Jr. 

Source: WALA news, al.com, June 15, 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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