Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Paul Gregory House

I know there is other DP news that I've missed this week and I'm sorry. I will try to get to it. However, I just have to share this news!

The Supreme Court has accepted Paul House's petition for certiorari! Paul is trying to get a new trial after DNA evidence (and other evidence) has pointed the finger at the victim's husband. I've written about Paul before. He's been on death row for years, has always claimed his innocence, and is currently suffering from MS. The Sixth Circuit decision in his appeal split the judges 8-7 in favor of the state. It was one of the worst opinions I've read in awhile. In fact, some of the dissenting judges opined that they believed Paul is innocent! Yet, the court refused him a new trial. This is where the system gets quirky.

Paul House is suffering greatly from his MS. If he gets his new trial and the jury finds him not guilty, I just pray that it is in time for him to get back out into the world and enjoy some of his life. If this doesn't happen soon, Paul may die in the infirmary on death row. Whether he is executed or dies of his MS behind bars, the result is the same if he is an innocent man: an innocent man spent his last days on earth (and his last YEARS) behind the bars of Tennessee's death row.

I don't know if Paul is innocent, and I haven't reviewed all the evidence, but the DNA evidence alone is compelling. I have to leave that decision to a jury. However, for now, I'm pleased that Paul will get the chance to fight for his life a little bit longer.

DNA evidence on Supreme Court agenda

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Texas - Life without Parole

Wow. First the Supreme Court and now the State of Texas does something extraordinary (for it anyway). Governor Rick Perry signed a law this week that will allow juries to choose a sentence of life without possibility of parole instead of the death penalty. Prior to this law, Texas only had two options in "capital" crimes: death or life with the possibility of parole after 40 years. Jurors who are afraid that a violent criminal will be released and offend again and choose the death penalty because to them it is the lesser of two bad options (even if they think the defendant does not deserve death), will now be less stuck between a rock and a hard place. (see Kelsey Patterson for a good example of this)

As you all know, I'm a big advocate of the life without parole option. I'm the first one to say that I think most convicted capital murderers (provided there were no other constitutional issues with the conviction and no evidence of actual innocence) should be locked away for the remainder of their natural lives. There are some crimes that capital punishment jurisdictions find worthy of death that I do not think fall into the category of necessitating life without parole (in certain circumstances), but overall, I think life without possibility of parole is the most appropriate option.

Huh...I wonder if I am still on hiatus...

Texas withdraws parole option in murder cases

Monday, June 13, 2005

Thomas Miller-El

The Supreme Court did something extraordinary today. They listened to a man convicted in Texas of a capital crime who claimed his jury was unfairly stacked with white jurors. It not only listened, it agreed. As David Elliot would say, the Supreme Court gave the Fifth Circuit a big ole slap down. Six of the nine Supreme Court Justices found that the Texas prosecutors who prosecuted Thomas Miller-El for the 1985 murder of a Dallas motel clerk had unfairly kept black jurors off the jury by shuffling the jury pool and using illegitimate pretext for excusing potential black jurors. Miller-El was convicted and given a death sentence by a jury of 12 that included 1 black member. Prosecutors dismissed 9 of the 10 potential black jurors they interviewed. Miller-El also presented evidence that from the 1960s into the early 80s, prosecutors in Dallas County were given training manuals that advised them on excluding blacks and Jews from capital juries.

I've not returned from my hiatus yet, gang. I just needed to share this good news with you. Rulings like these help immensely with assuring that the death penalty is applied in a less racist fashion. I'd like to see it go away completely, but until then, its important that EVERY defendant has the same chances of getting a death sentence and that black and Hispanic individuals are not handicapped before even coming out of the shoot.

Supreme Court reverses death penalty conviction

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Hey gang. As you can probably tell, I'm on hiatus. At first it was just delay in posting because I was busy. Now, I'm choosing to take a little break. I will come back, I promise. I just need some time because my for-pay job is absorbing all of me for the time being. Don't go away ok? Keep coming back. If you want, you can email me at Hotmail and I'll email you when I start posting again. Hopefully, I'll be back to normal speed within the month. See you then!