Courthouse News Service posts, "Death Penalty for PA Prisoner Thrown Out," by Andrew Thompson.
Blocking the execution of a Pennsylvania prisoner, a federal judge cited lapses by defense counsel with respect to evidence of childhood abuse and medical history.
Darrick Hall was one of three men convicted for the Dec. 18, 1993, armed robbery of a Chester County laundromat, and Hall was convicted for murdering the laundromat attendant. Prosecutors showed that while Hall and his two accomplices were changing clothes after the shooting, they joked about the guns they had used.
Though the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the death penalty for Hall, U.S. District Judge James Gardner found Wednesday that habeas relief is required because of deficiencies by Hall's trial attorney.
Even a basic investigation into Hall's life would have unearthed evidence of extreme childhood abuse and a history of significant head traumas and seizures, according to the 180-page ruling.
"Attorneys for death row inmate argue before Mississippi Supreme Court that key witness lied," is the AP report, via the Mississippi Link.
Lawyers for a Mississippi death row inmate told state Supreme Court justices Monday that he deserves a new trial because evidence that defense lawyers did not obtain the first time shows that a key state witness lied
Willie Jerome Manning is appealing an Oktibbeha County judge’s denial of his post-conviction challenges. Manning came within hours of being put to death last year on separate charges before the state high court halted it.
Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments over the 1993 slayings of 90-year-old Emmoline Jimmerson and her daughter, 60-year-old Alberta Jordan. Police and prosecutors say the women were beaten and had their throats slashed. They were killed during a robbery attempt at their Starkville apartment.
Manning was convicted and sentenced to death in the case in 1996, but lawyers argued Monday that the conviction should be overturned because of questions about a witness who put Manning at the scene. Current lawyers also argued that either the state concealed evidence from Manning’s original lawyers or the defense was too ineffective to find it.
Earlier coverage of Willie Manning's case begins at the link.
"Fed appeals court rejects death penalty exemption," is the Toledo Blade report by Jim Provance.
A federal appeals court Monday rejected the argument from convicted murderer James Frazier that he is mentally retarded and exempt from Ohio’s death penalty.
Frazier, 73, who is on death row at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution, was convicted of robbing and killing Mary Stevenson, a disabled woman at Northgate Apartments where Frazier was attending a crack cocaine party late on March 1, 2004, or early the next morning. Frazier apparently robbed Ms. Stevenson for money when the party was short of drugs.
IQ tests conducted before Frazier’s trial in Lucas County Common Pleas Court found his score to be slightly above 70, the threshold above which the law presumes someone is not mentally retarded. The court noted that the expert hired by the defense found he was not retarded, prompting his attorneys to drop that line of strategy at trial.
Related posts are in the post-conviction review category index.