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Robert Alton Criminal Harris

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NEWS
April 5, 1990 | DAN MORAIN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A Death Row prisoner died after a fight with another condemned inmate in what San Quentin officials described as an increase in prison violence in the days before what was to be California's first execution in 23 years this week.
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NEWS
August 22, 1991 | PHILIP HAGER and ALAN ABRAHAMSON, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected a renewed bid for a new trial for Robert Alton Harris, the condemned killer who could become the first person to die in the state's gas chamber in 24 years. A panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that Harris' latest legal claims came too late, and voted 2 to 1 to reaffirm a ruling it made last August upholding Harris' death sentence for the slayings of two teen-age boys in a robbery in San Diego in 1978.
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NEWS
April 15, 1990 | ALAN ABRAHAMSON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Attorney Charles M. Sevilla started smoking again last month, just the way he did in 1982, the last time his client, Robert Alton Harris, faced an execution date. Sevilla hadn't puffed on even one cigarette since Harris was spared--with four days to go--eight years ago. But by the week before April 3, the day the state of California had announced that it would execute Harris for two murders, Sevilla's office turned into what he called a "smoke chamber."
NEWS
December 8, 1990 | PHILIP HAGER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
State prosecutors Friday rejected as a "fanciful fabrication" new defense claims that authorities enticed a former cellmate to lie when he testified against condemned killer Robert Alton Harris in his 1979 trial. Lawyers for the state attorney general's office urged the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to refuse a key bid by Harris to avoid becoming the first to die in the gas chamber in California since 1967.
NEWS
February 15, 1990 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Attorneys for Robert Alton Harris formally asked the state Supreme Court to put off their client's execution, set for April 3, while the court considers a new appeal. In seeking a postponement, the lawyers said they wanted the court to be able to consider the appeal without feeling time pressure. Without a delay, they said they feared that the court, which set a March 12 deadline for the filing of legal papers, would produce a "rushed decision."
NEWS
April 8, 1990 | From Times staff and Wire reports
Gov. George Deukmejian pressed his criticism of federal courts over the Robert Alton Harris death penalty case, saying the U.S. court system has broken down and is no longer competent. "This is seriously undermining the confidence of the public in the courts," said the Republican governor, who as a legislator wrote California's death penalty statute and has staked much of his political career on the issue.
NEWS
April 4, 1990 | PHILIP HAGER and ALAN ABRAHAMSON, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
A federal appeals court on Tuesday set a hearing for May 14 to review a claim by condemned killer Robert Alton Harris that prosecutors warned could have a far-reaching impact on the judicial system if upheld. A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will decide whether Harris, convicted of the 1978 murders of two teen-age boys in San Diego, was improperly denied a competent psychiatric examination before his trial.
NEWS
April 14, 1990 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Condemned killer Robert Alton Harris is seeking a permanent reprieve from a death sentence imposed for the murder of two teen-agers in 1978. Lawyers for Harris, 37, filed a lengthy brief with the San Francisco-based U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, contending that Harris was denied competent psychiatric help at his 1979 trial. The attorneys argued that Harris deserves a chance to prove he suffers mental disorders that drove him to kill on impulse.
NEWS
April 1, 1990 | ROBERT A. JONES
Maybe it's nostalgia, but they don't seem to make stays of execution like they used to. Back in the days when John Garfield was Hollywood's favorite Death Row prisoner, a last-minute stay was always a matter of some intimacy. The warden got the call, and he delivered the good news personally to Garfield, who gripped the bars of his cell and looked upward. The stay made Garfield's mom happy, it made the wife happy.
NEWS
December 8, 1990 | PHILIP HAGER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
State prosecutors Friday rejected as a "fanciful fabrication" new defense claims that authorities enticed a former cellmate to lie when he testified against condemned killer Robert Alton Harris in his 1979 trial. Lawyers for the state attorney general's office urged the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to refuse a key bid by Harris to avoid becoming the first to die in the gas chamber in California since 1967.
NEWS
August 30, 1990 | PHILIP HAGER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A divided federal appeals court Wednesday reopened the way for California's first execution in 23 years, upholding the death sentence of Robert Alton Harris for the murders of two San Diego youths in 1978. In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Harris' bid for a new hearing to present claims that he was denied competent psychiatric assistance at his trial 11 years ago.
NEWS
May 15, 1990 | PHILIP HAGER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Two federal appeals judges raised doubts in a hearing Monday about key legal claims by Robert Alton Harris, while a third member of the panel who had blocked the condemned killer's execution issued an unusual attack on unnamed state lawyers for their public comments about the case. Harris, 37, was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of two San Diego teen-age boys in 1978.
NEWS
May 1, 1990 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Lawyers for Robert Alton Harris argued in a fat brief filed with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that the condemned murderer is entitled to a full fact-finding hearing on his claim that mental disorders drove him to kill two teen-age San Diego boys. Defense lawyers Charles M. Sevilla and Michael McCabe claim that their 37-year-old client suffers mental disorders that drove him to kill impulsively.
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
April 15, 1990 | ALAN ABRAHAMSON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Last month, San Diego attorney Charles M. Sevilla started smoking again, just the way he did in 1982, the previous time a client of his, Robert Alton Harris, faced an execution date. Sevilla hadn't puffed on even one cigarette since Harris was spared--with four days to go--eight years ago. But by the week before April 3, the day the state of California had announced it wanted to execute Harris, Sevilla's office had turned into what he called a "smoke chamber."
NEWS
April 15, 1990 | ALAN ABRAHAMSON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Attorney Charles M. Sevilla started smoking again last month, just the way he did in 1982, the last time his client, Robert Alton Harris, faced an execution date. Sevilla hadn't puffed on even one cigarette since Harris was spared--with four days to go--eight years ago. But by the week before April 3, the day the state of California had announced that it would execute Harris for two murders, Sevilla's office turned into what he called a "smoke chamber."
NEWS
March 13, 1990 | ALAN ABRAHAMSON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
In a legal brief urging the California Supreme Court to halt Robert Alton Harris' scheduled April 3 execution, the condemned killer's lawyers said Monday he is entitled to a new sentencing hearing because he suffers from mental disorders. Harris' San Diego attorneys also stressed that it would be cruel and unusual punishment to kill him after he had languished on Death Row for 11 years.
NEWS
April 8, 1990 | From Times staff and Wire reports
Gov. George Deukmejian pressed his criticism of federal courts over the Robert Alton Harris death penalty case, saying the U.S. court system has broken down and is no longer competent. "This is seriously undermining the confidence of the public in the courts," said the Republican governor, who as a legislator wrote California's death penalty statute and has staked much of his political career on the issue.
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