Martin Luther King, Jr., week edition is now available. From the intro:
Leading off this week are two stays from the United States Supreme Court. In Cleve Foster v. Texas, the Court granted a stay pending the disposition of a cert petition. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied relief on a successive state postconviction petition & subsequently denied rehearing. The question presented in the cert petition involves the effective assistance of counsel and appropriate remedy for deficient state post-conviction counsel where such counsel is guaranteed by state statute. The Court likewise issued a stay, but subsequently lifted it, in Leroy White v. Jones on issues apparently concerning trial counsel’s performance during plea negotiations.
In Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen commuted Edward Jerome Harbison‘s death sentence to life without parole. “It’s obviously a heinous crime, but when I compare it to others I don’t think it rose to the level of a death penalty crime,” Bredesen told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview. “So I knocked it down one notch to life without parole. And that’s enough said, I guess.”
Both houses of the Illinois legislature approved repeal of the state’s death penalty. NYT notes “Democratic governor, Patrick J. Quinn [ ] has not indicated whether he will sign the legislation. If Mr. Quinn agrees to the ban, Illinois will join 15 other states without capital punishment.”
Non-news is also making news on two of the nations largest death rows. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day this year marks the fifth year anniversary since California last carried out an execution. In Pennsylvania, the outgoing governor noted nearly a dozen years has passed since Pennsylvania has last executed anyone and he called on the legislature to either fix the death penalty or scrap it as an expensive failure. Between them the states comprise just under 30% of the nation’s death row population.
Finally, and on a slightly lighter note, Anthony Graves, exonerated from death row last year, is moving in to his first real home in the coming days. He has a house warming list at Target, with suggestions in all price ranges. As he recently noted, “I also just rented my first home to call my own, but need help furnishing it. I am registered at Target where you can select from a list of items to send. Thank you all for your support.”
As always thanks for reading. -k