This week’s edition marks the first of 2011 including news of a commutation, a possible repeal in Illinois & a couple of defense “wins” in Alabama.
Two cases from the Alabama Supreme Court,Ex parte Kenneth Eugene Billups & Ex parte Jimmy Lamar Killingsworth, Jr., lead off this edition. In both cases the trial judge overrode the jury’s recommendation, 7-5, to death. In Billups the Court holds that the introduction “the trial court erred by failing to limit the jury’s consideration [of certain Rule 404(b) evidence] to only those purposes for which the evidence was purportedly offered by the State.” In Killingsworth a friend of the victim’s family, who indicated in voir dire she could not be impartial, improperly sat on the jury where the parties apparently removed a juror with a similar name under the mistaken believe they were removing the biased juror.
Illinois House has voted to abolish death penalty. The legislation to halt state-sponsored execution gained the necessary 60 votes Thursday after an earlier vote fell short. The landmark action comes nearly 11 years after then-Gov. George Ryan cleared death row and declared a moratorium on capital punishment in Illinois. A vote in the Illinois Senate could comes as early as Tuesday.
DPIC notes that “[o]n January 7, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter granted a full and unconditional posthumous pardon to Joe Arridy, who had been convicted and executed as an accomplice to a murder that occurred in 1936.” In Texas the Office of Capital Writs faces another round of budget cuts including the real possibility of laying off staff.
As always thanks for reading. -k
The rest of this week’s edition.