The Tulsa World reports, "Man twice given death penalty in Tulsa clerk's 1994 killing due third sentencing trial," by Bill Braun.
A Tulsa federal judge has ruled that a convicted Tulsa County murderer who has received a death sentence twice is entitled to another new sentencing trial because he received ineffective legal assistance at his previous resentencing.
Because defense counsel for James J. Fitzgerald, 54, decided not to present expert testimony as mitigation for the defense, the jury was "left to conclude that the petitioner (Fitzgerald) was simply a calculating, violent man,'' according to a 101-page order filed recently by Chief U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell.
As U.S. Magistrate Lane Wilson observed in a report, the resentencing jury in 2000 had no understanding of the interplay of Fitzgerald's diabetes diagnosis, his lack of family support from a young age, damage to the frontal lobe of his brain, and the impact his intoxication had on his brain function, according to Frizzell's filing.
The state Attorney General's Office has filed notice of an intent to appeal the resentencing ruling to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Attorneys from the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System represented Fitzgerald at his 2000 resentencing trial.
"Oklahoma lawmaker wants death row organ donations," is the AP report, via the San Francisco Chronicle.
A state lawmaker says he wants to give Oklahoma's death row inmates a chance at redemption by donating their organs before their execution.
Democratic state Rep. Joe Dorman of Rush Springs said Wednesday that he's developing legislation that would give a person who's been convicted of taking a life an opportunity to give someone else a chance to live a longer life.
Dorman says the program would be voluntary and no inmate would be forced to give up an organ. But Ryan Holmes, assistant director of health care ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University in California, says the idea raises ethical concerns and would be "very problematic" for surgeons.
Earlier coverage from Oklahoma begins at the link.