November 20, 2013 |
Two Supreme Court justices - Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen G. Breyer - are upset that the court won't hear the appeal of an Alabama killer who was sentenced to death by a judge after a jury declined to impose the death penalty. They have lots of company. But I'm sympathetic to the justices who declined to take the case. A jury voted 8 to 4 against the death sentence for Mario Dion Woodward, who was convicted of killing a police officer. But under Alabama law, a jury's determination on the question of death is only advisory; a judge can disregard it, and the judge decided that Woodward should be executed.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 13, 2013 |
A woman found lifeless in a bedroom of her San Gabriel home appeared to have been "assaulted and asphyxiated," authorities said Wednesday. The 45-year-old woman was found by authorities at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Friends who were concerned because they had not heard from her for several days notified police after they went to check on her, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. When deputies went to her home in the 500 block of East Valley Boulevard, they found her body. The sheriff's department said there was no sign of forced entry and the investigation was ongoing.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 12, 2013 |
A 29-year-old man was sentenced to death Tuesday for raping, torturing and fatally stabbing an 84-year-old widow after breaking into her Anaheim home. Authorities said Anthony Darnell Wade drank champagne and smoked a cigar as he left the crime scene. Wade, a Los Angeles resident, broke into the home of Bessie Whyman through a broken window on January 2010 and attacked her. He raped Whyman and bound her hands and feet before punching and kicking her, according to Orange County prosecutors.
November 11, 2013 |
Larry Flynt wants to stop Missouri from executing the man whose bullet put the publisher of Hustler magazine in a wheelchair for life. Over the weekend, Flynt and the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit to force the state to release documents on how the state determines the process by which it kills prisoners. Joseph Paul Franklin, 63, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Nov. 20. Missouri last month delayed the execution of convicted murderer Allen Nicklasson after the German manufacturer of the drug propofol objected to its use in the deadly mixture of drugs designed to execute inmates.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 24, 2013 |
A mother accused of poisoning her two children in a Santa Ana motel room in September will be arraigned Friday on two felony counts of special circumstances murder, Orange County prosecutors said. Marilyn Kay Edge, 42, of Scottsdale, Ariz., lost custody of her two children days before they were found dead in a Hampton Inn room. A judge in Georgia had ordered her turn Jaelen, 13, and Faith, 10, over to their father, who lives in that state. Instead, prosecutors said, she picked them up in Arizona, where they lived, told them they were going on vacation and drove to California.
October 21, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court said Monday it would consider taking another step toward limiting the use of the death penalty, this time by trying to clarify the legal standard for who is ineligible for the ultimate punishment because of mental disability. At issue is whether states such as Florida may disqualify anyone who scores above 70 on an IQ test. A score below 70 generally indicates mental disability. The justices agreed to hear the case of Freddie Hall, a Florida death row inmate who killed two people in 1978, but who was described as mentally disabled when he was a child and was deemed to be mentally retarded by the judge who sentenced him to die. Three years ago, Florida prosecutors said Hall had scored a 71 on a Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale test and therefore could be executed for his crimes.
October 21, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court agreed Monday to clarify the legal standard for mental disability in the case of a Florida death row inmate who is illiterate and was once judged to be severely mentally disabled. The justices in 2002 struck down imposing the death penalty for murderers who are mentally disabled, ruling this was cruel and unusual punishment. However, the court did not set a clear standard for mental disability and left the states some leeway in the matter. Now, the court will decide whether states may rely entirely on a single IQ test.
October 4, 2013 |
When Californians aren't soaking in their hot tubs, spreading free love or engaging in other sybaritic activities, they're harvesting their macrobiotic sprouts and medical marijuana and getting their auras adjusted. As for politics, the state is blue as the Pacific and so far left it would fall off the edge of the continent if the ocean wasn't there to buoy it up. Or so, at least, much of the rest of the country perceives the Golden State and its kooky, sun-baked citizenry. Like many caricatures, there is, at root, some truth to the cartoonish depiction.
October 1, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Although Texas executes far more prisoners than any other state, Los Angeles and three other Southern California counties lead the nation in sentencing convicts to die, according to a report released Wednesday. Los Angeles County had 228 inmates on death row at the start of the year, more than double that of second-place Harris County, Texas. Riverside, Orange, San Diego and San Bernardino counties also ranked in the top 12, as did Alameda and Sacramento counties. In all, seven of the top 12 were in California.
September 23, 2013 |
Federal prosecutors tangled in court Monday with defense lawyers for Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev over the government's timeline to make a decision on whether to seek the death penalty in the case. Both Tsarnaev's defense attorneys and the U.S. District Attorney for Boston are required to submit information to U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. about whether the government should pursue a capital case against Tsarnaev. Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty to numerous charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction in the twin bombings that killed three and injured 260 at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15. At Monday's status hearing, the defense said it needed more time to submit its argument against the death penalty.