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Harris Execution

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March 30, 1990 | DANIEL M. WEINTRAUB, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The pending execution of Robert Alton Harris entered into the Democratic campaign for governor Thursday when Dianne Feinstein, in response to a reporter's question, charged that Atty. Gen. John K. Van de Kamp has exploited the case for political gain. Van de Kamp--who says he personally opposes the death penalty but wants the Harris execution carried out under state law--described Feinstein as misinformed.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 11, 1996
Daniel Slocum Hinerfeld errs in suggesting that defense lawyers should refuse to handle death row appeals ("No Appeal Means No Execution," Commentary, July 5). His argument is that without representation the appeals cannot be heard and, therefore, the inmates cannot be executed. Since the defense attorney has a responsibility to act in the best interests of his client, he should refuse to represent the client in appeals. In developing this argument, however, Hinerfeld missed one critical point: There are people on death row who were convicted of crimes they did not commit.
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NEWS
April 11, 1992 | DAN MORAIN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
It's called Procedure 769, a blandly bureaucratic and mundane title that belies its grim content. In precise detail, over 34 pages, the document describes how the people of California will carry out their first execution by lethal gas in a generation. Honed by years of dry runs, Procedure 769 sets out the ritual of death and enumerates everything the execution team could conceivably need. Six spare light bulbs, two heart monitors, three sets of rubber gloves, eight square feet of cheesecloth.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 3, 1996
A Pasadena man convicted of killing two employees of a Burbank Taco Bell in 1983 has been ordered executed at San Quentin State Prison on Jan. 26, prison officials said Tuesday. If the execution is carried out, he would be only the third inmate to be put to death since California reinstated the death penalty in 1977. A court order set the date for William Kirkpatrick Jr., 35, who was sentenced to death in 1984, according to an announcement by the California Department of Corrections.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 3, 1992
I wonder who can answer one question? How many of the 300 people who attended Robert Alton Harris' funeral also attended the victims' funeral? I suspect that Harris wasn't the only one brain dead at the occasion. HENRY SUSSMAN, San Diego
NEWS
February 11, 1994 | From Associated Press
A videotape of the 1992 execution of Robert Alton Harris, prepared for a lawsuit challenging the use of the gas chamber but never shown in court, has been destroyed at a judge's order, court records show. Newly unsealed documents in federal court disclose that the tape was destroyed after state lawyers agreed that they would not offer any new witnesses' testimony about executions if the gas chamber suit is retried.
NEWS
April 27, 1990 | PHILIP HAGER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
State prosecutors on Thursday urged a federal appeals court to clear the way for the execution of Robert Alton Harris, saying his claim that mental disorders drove him to kill is "demonstrably false." In a brief filed in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the prosecutors assailed as "ridiculous" Harris' contention that he suffered from uncontrollable impulses that psychiatrists failed to diagnose and present in his defense at trial.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 26, 1992 | Tony Perry
It was an experience that, immediately afterward, was described as surreal, stressful, eerie and tense. But what about the longterm impact on those who watched Robert Alton Harris die in the San Quentin gas chamber on April 21? Two professors of psychiatry at the Stanford Medical School are now interviewing the 18 media witnesses to determine the psychological impact of watching a man be put to death. So far, no conclusions.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 22, 1992
Not even the most enthusiastic proponent of capital punishment could have found Tuesday's execution of Robert Alton Harris edifying. The truth is that it was a circus. Hour after hour, the ordeal dragged on. At one point the convicted murderer was placed inside the San Quentin gas chamber, strapped to the chair, and then--disappointment? elation?--removed as the latest court order temporarily delayed the inevitable.
NEWS
February 11, 1994 | From Associated Press
A videotape of the 1992 execution of Robert Alton Harris, prepared for a lawsuit challenging the use of the gas chamber but never shown in court, has been destroyed at a judge's order, court records show. Newly unsealed documents in federal court disclose that the tape was destroyed after state lawyers agreed that they would not offer any new witnesses' testimony about executions if the gas chamber suit is retried.
NEWS
October 24, 1992 | PHILIP HAGER, TIMES LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER
Six months after the execution of Robert Alton Harris, debate still rages in legal circles over the remarkable judicial power struggle and last-minute delays that continued even as Harris sat awaiting death in the gas chamber. "We had a disgraceful performance that night," Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said this week to a forum of lawyers. "Some blame the Court of Appeals and some blame the Supreme Court."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 15, 1992 | THOM MROZEK, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
In the first local death penalty verdict rendered since Robert Alton Harris was executed in April, a Superior Court jury recommended Tuesday that a double murderer die in the gas chamber. After deliberating less than four hours, a six-man, six-woman panel decided that Jessie Ray Moffett should die at San Quentin for killing two people eight years apart.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 26, 1992 | Tony Perry
It was an experience that, immediately afterward, was described as surreal, stressful, eerie and tense. But what about the longterm impact on those who watched Robert Alton Harris die in the San Quentin gas chamber on April 21? Two professors of psychiatry at the Stanford Medical School are now interviewing the 18 media witnesses to determine the psychological impact of watching a man be put to death. So far, no conclusions.
NEWS
May 10, 1992 | PHILIP HAGER, TIMES LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER
Locked securely in a federal court safe here is the nation's first authorized filming of an execution: a court-ordered videotape of the death of Robert Alton Harris that news organizations plan to seek for broadcast on television. Although a local TV station failed to win approval to film the execution, attorneys say that with the tape officially made for evidence in another case, the way should be clear for its release to the public.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 3, 1992
For those who are not sure how they feel about the death penalty, one method of arriving at a conclusion might be to take a look at the company you'll be keeping. It was hard not to see the difference between the thoughtful, sad compassion on the faces of those who carried candles, read poems, sang and prayed and the rabid faces of those who yelled epithets and generally carried on as if the death penalty was a football game and not the most serious of statements any government can make about one of it's citizens.
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