The Best Way to Help Jodi Arias? Don’t!

The Best way to help Jodi Arias?  Don’t!

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Fact based reporting

by Amanda Chen & Rob Roman

Now, why would a blog in support of Jodi Arias say something like this?

We are saying it for one little, insignificant reason, because it’s true.

Support-JodiThere are many people helping Jodi Arias as we speak. They send her supportive cards and letters, they go to visit her at Estrella Jail, they communicate with each other and share important news about the case. These Jodi-helpers write letters and sign petitions, write blogs and comment on websites, purchase her art and raise money for her appeal, organize gift-packs, and keep in communication with her family members.
Still others may feel that Jodi Arias may be guilty but they do not believe it was a fair trial or they do not believe in the death penalty. All these people support Jodi in some way. They yearn to be able to do something more to help. They might not believe that best way to do this is to join in objectives that are not about Jodi Arias.

Help to End Executions in the USA

Help to End State Executions

in Arizona and the other states that use it.
images (8)There are two basic categories of the death penalty in America. The first category is the death penalty statutes in the individual States. These can be repealed by acts of the individual state legislatures. This can depend on who is in power in the legislature and who the Governor is at the moment. There will be an election in Arizona in 2014, and Jan Brewer cannot be re-elected. Governor Brewer has already tried to get the legislature to change the rules so that she can serve an extra four years. Here is a good place to start.
This is the new abolition movement in America. Most of us will never be accused of murder and most of us will not be imprisoned on death row. But we know that many people on death row have been wrongly convicted and some have been executed. We know that the death penalty creates numerous injustices, even for the victims of violent crimes as well as the free citizens of death penalty states,
Clodagh+Joyce+Death+Penalty+Protesters+Hold+Xlqx4bY6faZlSome states such as Texas, Ohio, and Arizona have the death penalty and use it frequently. It’s a hot political issue and many people in these states think it is the right thing to do and it’s the will of God. These states may one day decide that the amount of money spent on capital cases could be put to better use. The victim’s family and friends are not satisfied with a guilty verdict, but suffer through decades of appeals and wait 20 years to finally “get closure”. Most of the time, the execution is of little solace to the family and friends.

Each State is Different

Some states have repealed the death penalty and no longer execute convicted criminals or sentence them to death. Many states have found that the death penalty violates their individual state constitutions. In these states it’s significantly more difficult to return to executing convicted murderers.
Still other states put moratoriums on the use of executions, but the moratoriums can be lifted. The states that do not use the death penalty but have not found it unconstitutional may bring it back into use. There has been talk of this in several states. Other states still have the death penalty, but use it rarely. These states are the most likely to one day create a moratorium or repeal the death penalty statutes.
0350a5f0-19c4-4813-9847-059cebcacc13People living in the states that have a moratorium can argue against bringing the death penalty back. They can get involved in efforts to end the death penalty in states that still use it. People in other states and outside the U.S. can also write letters and articles supporting the abolition of the death penalty in the states that use it regularly.
If you want to help Jodi Arias, or even if you don’t, you can make an effort to end the death penalty in the state of Arizona. You will have done everyone residing in Arizona and humanity a favor, and indirectly, you will be helping Jodi Arias. Then, we would not have to see similar spectacles from Arizona, such as more exonerations of death row prisoners like Debra Milke, and the Jodi Arias trial, embarrassing Arizona and the U.S. in the eyes of the world.

Help end federal executions by the United States Government

The second category is executions practiced by the U.S. Federal Government. The federal government reinstituted the death penalty in 1998. There are 59 people currently on Federal death row.  Fifty people have been sentenced to death from 2000 to 2012.
137458348592614114000701197_104_mcveigh_pastSince 1998, three people have been executed by the United States government. Timothy McVeigh was executed in 2001 for the bombing of a U.S. Federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1995. This act was primarily why the Federal government brought back the death penalty in 1998.
Also in 2001, the U.S. executed luis jones jrJuan Raul Garza, a drug dealer and murderer from Texas. In 2003, Luis Jones Jr. was executed for the 1995 kidnapping, rape and murder of a young Army recruit in Texas. Both McVeigh and Jones were military veterans who fought in foreign wars.
Should mass murderers and terrorists such as Timothy McVeigh and the Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, be executed? Timothy McVeigh is long gone. Wouldn’t it be better if he was still in prison having to face the consequences of his act?
dpcountiesIf you want to talk about injustice, how just is it to make the innocent children, siblings, and parents of Condemned prisoners face the death of their loved ones by the government? How just is it that many other countries will refuse to extradite criminals to the U.S. Government or to states that use the death penalty?
As long as the Federal Government executes people, the states will also want to have that right for themselves. If the Federal Government ends the use of executions, this could set the stage for abolition of the death penalty in individual states. This can also indirectly help Jodi Arias.
 

Help restore the “presumption of innocence”

for suspects and defendants.

bad dogThe power of public opinion is so pervasive it infuses court proceedings and can influence juries, judges, people in high places, and even governments.

hauptmannThere are many reasons to believe that Bruno Richard Hauptman was guilty of the kidnapping and murder of the Linbergh baby (Charles Lindbergh was famous for making the world’s first trans-Atlantic flight in 1927).
imagesThe prosecutor in his trial exhorted the jury to look at Hauptmann’s “predatory eyes” as proof of the certainty of his guilt. We should all be outraged by such tactics, as they are entirely subjective, appeal to the emotions rather than logic, and obscure the facts. Yet, in the case of Jodi Arias, there was much talk on the media about Jodi’s “dead shark eyes”.
Yet even today, emotional persuasion, speculation, and a presumption of guilt have been utilized in the place of or to supplement facts and evidence that should be the sole determinant of guilt or innocence in a trial.
Here are some quotes about the presumption of innocence for suspects and defendants:
hesiod-sm smSo the people will pay the penalty for their King’s presumption, who, by devising evil, turn justice from her path with tortuous speech –Hesiod, 700 BC
images (2) smIt is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer. William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1767
benjamin-franklin-520 smInnocence is its own defense. Benjamin Franklin, 1733
download (2) smTo vice, innocence must always seem only a superior kind of chicanery.-Ouida, Two Little Wooden Shoes, 1874
download (3) sm“Always the innocent are the first victims…. So it has been for ages past, so it is now.” -J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 2001
leonard peltier sm Innocence is the weakest defense. Innocence has a single voice that can only say over and over again, “I didn’t do it.” Guilt has a thousand voices, all of them lies–Leonard F. Peltier, Prison Writings, 1999
 
sc00210 sm“Anybody who understands the justice system knows innocent people are convicted every day.” Florida Supreme Court Justice, Gerald Kogun (Ret.)
078skayfqa6870sa sm“The presumption of innocence only means you don’t go right to jail”. –Ann Coulter, Hannity & Colmes (Fox News), Aug. 24, 2001
download (4) sm“In this country the presumption of innocence is dead, dead, dead.” –John Grisham

Which of these quotes does not seem to go with the others? Which of these quotes just doesn’t belong?

 
22597_002_0036.JPG“What was the quesion…..?” –Vinnie Poitan, Headline News, 2013
The media is a major culprit in the erosion of the presumption of innocence for the accused and defendants in a trial.
“The presumption of innocence, sometimes referred to by the Latin expression Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat (the burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies), is the principle that one is considered innocent until proven guilty.”
“Application of this principle is a legal right of the accused in a criminal trial, recognized in many nations. The burden of proof is thus on the prosecution, which has to collect and present enough compelling evidence to convince the trier of fact, who is restrained and ordered by law to consider only actual evidence and testimony that is legally admissible, and in most cases lawfully obtained, that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubtIf reasonable doubt remains, the accused is to be acquitted.”
“The proof lies upon him who affirms, not upon him who denies; since, by the nature of things, he who denies a fact cannot produce any proof.”
“This right is so important in modern democracies, constitutional monarchies, and republics many have explicitly included it in their legal codes and constitutions.”
http://www.wikipedia.org/
trial by media“Trial by Media” and the huge public interest in murder trials has been an ever-growing factor in the erosion of the presumption of innocence. The public is exposed to speculation and selective facts as well as evidence not allowed in at trial. Murders and murder trials, crime and punishment have a huge entertainment value, which is exploited by media outlets for profit.
Most trials are over 90% boring and there is a constant temptation for the media to spice things up with speculation, unsupported evidence, and outright lies. This creates an assault on the presumption of innocence because once people make up their minds, they will ignore or reject facts which challenge their opinion.
According to Wikipedia, “Trial by media is a phrase used to describe the impact of television and newspaper coverage on a person’s reputation by creating a widespread perception of guilt before, or even after, a verdict in a court of law.”
201002010_lynch“During high-publicity court cases, the media are often accused of provoking an atmosphere of public hysteria akin to a lynch mob which not only makes a fair trial nearly impossible but means that regardless of the result of the trial the accused will not be able to live the rest of their life without intense public scrutiny.
The counter-argument is that the mob mentality exists independently of the media which merely voices the opinions which the public already has.”
http://www.wikipedia.org/
injusticeFor the accused and defendants of less means, who have public defenders, the negative impact of trial-by-media is far greater. They often have no representative or proxy to give their side of the story and to counter untruths. This is why HLN and other media handled the recent Brett Seacat murder trial (A police officer with a private attorney) and the Dr. Martin MacNeil murder trial (An M.D. with a private attorney) with kid gloves compared to the way they absolutely crucified Jodi Arias.
safe_imageThis is especially true of CNN’s HLN, who took a public interest and right to know concept of televising trials, and twisted it to the point where they seem to believe they actually own these trials and can control public opinion.
Yes, HLN was voicing the opinions of the public in the Jodi Arias trial, but they super-charged it and raised the hatred to epic proportions. They told documented untruths, rumors reported as facts, and they told pure lies every week during the Jodi Arias trial. In addition we have instant communication to the masses by means of the social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram which allow facts, rumors and falsities alike to travel at light speed.
trial by social mediaThis has also added the challenging dimension of creating the ability to harass and intimidate participants in the trial as well as people holding unpopular, minority opinions. This phenomenon has outraced common legislation to control such harmful new capabilities.

Help reduce trial by media and restore the presumption of innocence

before and during trials

622539We should call HLN on its lies and incomplete facts and make them prove their allegations. Jodi killed her childhood dog, Jodi wore fake glasses, Jodi attacked another prisoner at the Estrella jail, Jodi has a bad jail record, Jodi flipped the bird at Nancy Grace, Jodi deliberately made “throat slashing” gestures, Jodi lied about wanting the death penalty rather than life in an Arizona jail – all lies told by HLN.
The camera feeds from these high profile trials are available publicly and some websites have offered links to these feeds to shut out players like HLN who try to co-opt and exploit the defendants and their trials for their own ratings and profit purposes. We need to see more of this. Let’s make the feed available to everyone publicly, so that there is less trial by media. It’s too late for Jodi Arias as far as a presumption of innocence and trial by media, but we can help the next person to get a fair trial.
Help reduce wrongful convictions
by advocating for extra funding for forensic testing and more adequate investigations.
exoneratedOf course, there are always limits in manpower and materials to completely investigate each and every factor and lead in a murder investigation.
Still, grossly under-investigated crimes combine with political agendas and this leads to the pressure to indict, arrest, and convict on scant evidence. This is especially true of states like Arizona that are constantly seeking to cut spending to the bare bone. This approach is short sighted and counter productive because it ends up costing more in the long run.
images (3)States should put more money into complete and competent investigations and scientific testing in order to save money from wrongful convictions, reversals, appeals, re-trials, and lawsuits.
Incomplete and incompetent investigations and inadequate testing are two huge factors in wrongful convictions. More thorough investigation and more testing of evidence may change the tide of the Jodi Arias case in appeal and will help to prevent countless wrongful prosecutions.
Help to promote humane prison conditions.
mqh6kxw33e_amnesty_international_logo smInhumane prison conditions cause embarrassment to us all as a nation and reduce our ability to promote improvements in other countries. Arizona is a proven culprit in creating inhumane prison conditions. There should be strict standards for the treatment and conditions of people in custody in the U.S.
images (11)This would help Jodi Arias in the short run and would benefit every citizen in the long run.
Help end the “Incarceration Nation”
and reduce extremely long prison terms for non-violent offenders
 
Fareed Zakaria wrote in Time magazine that the number of jailed prisoners in the United States is one of the great scandals of American life. “Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today,” writes the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik.”
images (10)Over all, there are now more people under ‘correctional supervision’ in America – more than 6 million – than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height.”
Is this hyperbole? Here are the facts. The U.S. has 760 prisoners per 100,000 citizens. That’s not just many more than in most other developed countries but seven to 10 times as many. Japan has 63 per 100,000, Germany has 90, France has 96, South Korea has 97, and Britain – with a rate among the highest – has 153.
 
170342714_640Even developing countries that are well known for their crime problems have a third of U.S. numbers. Mexico has 208 prisoners per 100,000 citizens, and Brazil has 242. We here in America make up 5% of the world’s population but we make up 25% of the world’s jailed prisoners.
http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2109777,00.html#ixzz2kRNJQip1
The prison system has become a major for-profit industry in the United Sates.
This is mostly due to the “war on drugs”, but has expanded to include other non-violent crimes.
download (8)download (9) marissa
In two recent cases in Florida, a 19 year-old was sentenced to 162 years in prison with no possibility of parole for a series of unsuccessful armed robberies where no one was hurt. He shot only at a dog, but he missed. A woman who was threatened by her estranged husband in her own home was sentenced to 20 years in prison for discharging a firearm into a wall as a warning to her ex-husband.
These laws are unfairly applied to people of less means and to minorities. There are alternatives to incarceration which include GPS monitoring, rehabilitative counseling, mandatory drug and alcohol treatment, and training and education which can help turn lives around as opposed to throwing lives away.
abc_jodi_arias_jef_130307_wg
Such concepts as mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines should be restricted because they remove the discretion of judges in individual cases and give too much power to District Attorneys.
Shining a spotlight on our embarrassing prison system will help the U.S. to look at the value of rehabilitation as opposed to warehousing people in prisons. We can try to reduce the growth industry of  private prisons and replace this with more constructive and beneficial enterprises.

Help keep local and state governments honest

 
curr-26541When government corruption, especially in law enforcement is observed it should be reported and acted upon. The Jodi Arias trial has helped to shine a spotlight on a variety of highly questionable practices in Arizona. You can get active and speak out on these practices and advocate for investigations and reforms. You do not have to be from a particular state or even from the United States to speak out on these matters.

Help to reduce bullying and domestic violence.

download (7)Domestic violence is not really growing in America, but it’s becoming more deadly, due to the proliferation of firearms and an inability to communicate and deal effectively with conflicts. Bullying in America has increased due to our competitive and aggressive culture.
High-tech has served to make one-time incidents permanent by photo or video. These incidents, accusations, and rumors can spread with lightning speed throughout an entire community. This high-tech dimension makes fleeting incidents into long lasting attacks that few people are equipped to withstand.
images (14)Worse than this, like the current epidemic of the “knockout game”, where young people go out and sneak up on an unsuspecting person and punch them in the head as hard as they can while a friend records it on video, bullying has become a dangerous and potentially deadly “game”. Some young people get a thrill out of using technology to try to destroy the life of another young person, hoping they will cause them emotional distress, or even run them out of a school or the town. They are excited at the idea of using their computers and cell phones to cause a person to take their own life.
images (12)We see this same tactic employed by adults in society at large and especially in the social media, where people can hide behind a computer or cell phone and lash out at opponents protected by anonymity and multiple profiles. Here, we are setting a dangerous and potentially deadly example for children and young adults. This leads to the next item:
Help fight for Jodi by not fighting for Jodi
 
incarceration-nation3There are political courses and classes that teach people to attack the opinions of others by means of personal attacks. These attacks are meant to silence people with an opposing opinion by short circuiting the issues and changing the subject. The usual response to this is to counter-attack with insults and personal attacks.
If we hold an unpopular or minority opinion, fighting with others will not change their opinion or help our cause. It’s better to present factual reasons why we believe the way we do and to respect the holders of opposing opinions. This way we can take the high road and show that our reasoning is based on facts and that we have considered our position carefully.
images (6)We can give our opponents some facts to ponder and some things to think about. This helps our cause by reducing the criticisms that the holder of a minority opinion is ignorant, unreasonable, or crazy. It also makes the attacker look bad when the holder of an unpopular opinion refuses to counterattack or ignores the attack completely.
Another thing we can do is to see if we can find common ground in any of the above issues. People who don’t hold the same opinion you do most likely agree with you on at least one of these other issues.
Helping to put an end to federal and state executions, restoring the presumption of innocence for the accused and defendants, and limiting trial by media is something we can all do to improve the criminal justice system in America.
Pakistan-domestic-violence-via-AFPAdvocating for the Reduction of wrongful convictions through more complete testing and investigations, and improving prison conditions will help to make our system more just and will save money in the long run.
Helping to reduce our prison population, investigating and reporting corruption in government, and helping to reduce bullying and domestic violence incidents and deaths are all things we can work on to improve our society.
images (15)Setting a good example for our kids by not allowing ourselves to be reduced to the level of personal attacks on social media is another positive step we can take. Taking the high road when communicating with “Travis supporters” may get more people to rethink their ideas and opinions about the Jodi Arias trial.  We can show we have a more complete knowledge of the case and we can improve our debating and communicating skills.
Each of these issues directly helps to improve our society and positively impact our culture. They make us a better country in the eyes of the world.
These are not liberal or conservative issues, but are a matter of evolution.
As a bonus, all of these issues indirectly benefit Jodi Arias. That’s one of the reasons why Jodi wants to help domestic violence victims by making sure they seek help and document their abuse. It’s to prevent many others from the same tragic circumstances Jodi is facing now.
We can help improve the system and conditions which may have failed Jodi Arias, and will certainly fail countless others if nothing is done to change the conditions .

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Sometimes, the best way to help Jodi Arias is to not help Jodi Arias. I think even Jodi would agree.

worldFor more insight into why the death penalty is unjust to crime victims and the public please see:

http://americancultureshock.wordpress.com/dp-needs-a-lethal-injection/

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Please let us know your opinion

The Executives and the Executed (part 2)

The Executives and the Executed (part 2)

Meet Arizona’s Recently Executed Death Row Prisoners

Fact Based Reporting

by Amanda Chen and Rob Roman

The Arizona Executive Board of Clemency

can reduce sentences for any prisoner convicted of a felony. For death sentences, it’s almost impossible. For doing such things as reducing a 7 year sentence to a 5 year sentence, here is what a popular Arizona newspaper says:
symington 4“Statistically, if you are convicted of a felony in Arizona, you are more likely to be struck by lightning than granted clemency by the governor. Excluding the cases of inmates nearing the end of a terminal illness, Governor Jan Brewer is on track to grant the fewest clemency cases in more than two decades – even when a judge and unanimous board recommend a shorter sentence.
Recent board members interviewed by The Arizona Republic believe clemency will be granted even less frequently in the future.
Indeed, (Governor Jan) Brewer’s decision to replace three of the five clemency-board members at once last month (April, 2012) has led to legal and political turmoil: Departing board members say they were ousted for voting to grant clemency; and attorneys for an inmate scheduled to be executed Wednesday will be in Maricopa County Sperior Court on Monday, seeking a court order to nullify the appointments, arguing that they violated state laws. If the court agrees, it would invalidate dozens of board decisions from the past three weeks and could stall the clemency process.”
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2012/04/12/20120412arizona-prison-clemency.html#ixzz2i8iEj2RK
Jane hull(web)-150Less than four months later, two of the new members resigned after having controversies with the longstanding board members. This is motly about the shorter term felony sentences. For the prisoners facing an execution: forgetaboutit!
images (1)The other controversy revolves around the drugs used to execute prisoners. More and more companies are refusing to supply the drugs for the purpose of taking as life. States have had to change theit drug protocols and they have even shown a willingness to “improvise” if needed.
jan brewer 5These are the last   7 prisoners executed in Arizona from 2012 – 2013. A quick look at these brief but interesting histories tells us something about how the death penalty works and does not work in Arizona.

So let’s take a look at the Arizona’s most recently executed prisoners:

Robert Henry Moormann

moormann 1Crime: January 13, 1984

Sentenced to Death: May 7, 1985

Executed: February 29, 2012

This man went on a trip from Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada, no problem with that. He stopped at several hotels along the way, no problem with that. He took a female companion with him, no problem there. The female was eight years old and he didn’t know her. That’s a BIG problem.
3 aggravating circumstances:
Prior conviction punishable by life imprisonment
Pecuniary gain
Especially heinous, cruel, or depraved (all three prongs)
 motelMoormann was incarcerated and his mother would make the three hour drive to see him from time to time. He was granted a temporary 3 day humanitarian release to visit his ailing mother. While visiting his mother at a hotel within eyesight of the prison, he smothered her with a pillow and dismembered her body. He tried to hide the body parts at various places around town, including at the prison. There was a BIG problem there, too.
And this was the end of humanitarian releases for violent convicts.
moorman 2There were issues of mental incompetence and he was found to be mentally retarded by an IQ test administered when he was in grade school. There were also reports that his mother had sexually abused him throughout his life.
Just before he was put to death, Robert Henry Moormann used his last words to apologize to his family and to the family of the eight-year-old girl he kidnapped and molested in 1972. He said: “I hope this brings closure and they can start healing now”.
“I just hope that they will forgive me in time.”
Most states use a 3-drug combination for lethal injections:
1)      An Anesthetic (either Pentobarbital or, formerly, Sodium Thiopental),
2)      Pancuronium Bromide (a paralytic agent, also called Pavulon),
3)       Potassium Chloride (stops the heart and causes death).
Moormann became the unintended first recipient of Arizona’s new single drug protocol, a lethal dose of an anesthetic. This occurred because it was discovered on Monday that one of the three drugs had expired. Moormann was given only two days notice of how he would be put to death instead of the usual 7 day notice.
Moorman is considered to be severely mentally handicapped. He was probably not completely sure of what was happening to him. The U.S. Supreme Court refused his request for a stay of execution just 2 hours before he was put to death.

Robert Towery

robert-towery

Crime: September 4, 1991

Sentenced to Death: November 20, 1992

Executed: March 8, 2012

This man robbed a 6 year-old man, injected him with a veterinary syringe filled with an unknown liquid, then strangled him to death with a zip tie.
4 aggravating circumstances:
Prior convictions for offenses involving the threat of violence
Prior convictions for which life imprisonment was impossible
Pecuniary gain
Especially heinous, cruel or depraved (cruelty prong only)
towery 2Also known as “Chewey”, Robert was usually high on meth. He enjoyed mayhem and made use of strong arm robberies to finance his lifestyle.  During one robbery, he targeted a well known philanthropist named Mark Jones who financed the college education of hard-working graduate students. He had even lent Robert Towery some money in the past and gave him advice about starting a business.
With an accomplice, Towery tied up and injected him with a substance before strangling him with a plastic zip tie. This substance was rumored to be battery acid, giving him the name of “the Battery Acid Killer”. However, it was found at trial that neither the syringe nor the victim’s body had any traces of battery acid.
Most of the evidence against Towery, including the idea about battery acid, came from his accomplice who served only 10 years for 2nd degree murder.
towery sisAt his commutation hearing before the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency, a prosecutor again brought up the battery acid rumor. He also explained that Towery’s mitigating claims of severe child abuse were unfounded and a phony plea for mercy. These were lies told by Juan Martinez to secure a death sentence. At this same meeting were Towery’s two sisters, who each explained in vivid detail the horrendous abuse endured by Towery. He often protected his two sisters by taking beatings that were meant for his sisters.
PHP4F5395C5EB2AARobert Towery in his last words, apologized to his family and to the victim’s family and friends. He regretted having made so many mistakes in his life and continuing to go in the wrong direction.
Remeber that Towery had injected his victim with a liquid filled syringe? Curiously, the execution team took an unusually long time finding a vein and stuck him many times, finally arranging injection portals in both his arm and his groin. The one hour delay was not attributed to the struggle to find a vein but to ‘extra time Towery spent with his lawyer and a minister’.
Towery cried before being injected, but this was attributed to his emotions about his family. His final words were “potato, potato, potato”, perhaps a reference to his last visits with his family ot to his childhood with his two sisters. Robert’s final words were “I would like to apologize to Mark’s family and friends for what I did to them. I would like to apologize to my family,” Towery said. “So many times in my life I went left when I should have gone right and I went right when I should have gone left. It was mistake after mistake after mistake.” “I love my family”. “Potato, potato, potato”.

Thomas Arnold Kemp

kemp 1

Crime: July 11, 1992

Sentenced to Death: July 9, 1993

Executed: April 25, 2012

This man with an accomplice killed an illegal immigrant named Hector Juarez and left him naked in the desert.
3 aggravating circumstances:
Prior convictions for offenses involving the threat of violence
Pecuniary gain
Especially heinous, cruel or depraved (cruelty prong only)
Kemp and his accomplice abducted their victim from his community college. They forced him to withdraw $200.00 for his bank account and drove him into the desert. They forced him to remove his clothes and then Kemp shot him twice in the head.
After the murder, the two kidnapped a couple in Durango, Colorado and sexually assaulted the man. They separated and his accomplice was arrested after contacting the Police about the murder.
kemp 2He did admit to having regret and remorse about the incident. He was remorseful that he had become too good of friends with his accomplice to summon up the will to kill him, too. He stated he very much regretted not killing his accomplice, who was the only witness to the murder.
Kemp stated that his victim was not legal to be in the U.S. and so was “beneath my contempt.” He further stated “If more of them wound up dead, the rest of them would soon learn to stay in Mexico, where they belong”.
az_kemp_thomasKemp refused to ask for mercy and refused to appear before the Arizona Board of
Executive Clemency. He told the judge and the court at sentencing that the victim was in the United States illegally and did not deserve to live. He told the judge “I spit on the law and all those who serve it.”
Kemp also had something to say to the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency. In a handwritten note, he said, “I, Thomas Kemp, state that I decline to seek executive clemency due to the futility of that process. In light of the board’s history of consistently denying requests for commutations, my impression is that a hearing in my case would be nothing short of a dog and pony show.”
In that regard, he was exactly right. Perhaps it’s easier to have a death sentence commuted to life than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. More than likely, after anyone meets with this board, the needle is going into you, and in one hell of a hurry, too. His final words were “I regret nothing”.

 

Samuel Lopez

samuel lopez 2

Crime: October 29, 1986

Sentenced to Death: June 25, 1987

Executed: June 27, 2012

This man raped and murdered a 59 year-old woman, a grandmother and poor seamstress who lived alone.

1 aggravating circumstance:
Prior conviction involving violence
(struck on appeal because the past violent conviction was for “resisting arrest”)
Especially heinous, cruel, or depraved (all 3 prongs of the aggravator)
samuel lopezShe was found by the police in her home half-naked, gagged and blindfolded. There were 3 stabs to her head, one to her face, and twenty three stab wounds to her left breast and chest. Her throat had been slit. There was blood all throughout the home, especially in the bedroom, the bathroom, and the kitchen. The victim had been raped and he was caught in a separate rape case less than a week later, matching his DNA and tying him to the murder case.
The Governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, had previously dismissed two members of the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency, and substituted her own members.  Lopez’s attorneys successfully won a delay in execution by arguing that the new members of the board had not received their training at the time of the scheduled hearing. The court ordered a temporary stay of execution, while the new board members received their mandatory 4 week training, like that was going to make any difference.
Lopez then sought a second stay arguing that Republican Governor Jan Brewer had appointed “political cronies” to the board, making a fair hearing impossible, which was rejected by the state Supreme Court.
In earlier executions, witnesses only saw the prisoner after the catheters had been inserted.
Samuel LopezHis execution was the first in which witnesses will watch, via closed-circuit TV, the insertion of the catheters that deliver the fatal drug pentobarbital. Attorneys for inmates in prior executions condemned the practice of inserting catheters into the prisoners’ groins. Officials said the executioners had found it difficult to find suitable veins in the arms and legs.
Prior to Lopez’s execution, witnesses only saw the condemned inmate at the time the of the injection. Lopez’s execution was the first time Arizona set up a closed-circuit TV camera so witnesses could view the insertion of the catheters into the arm, leg, or groin. In light of what happened to Robert Towery, maybe this is for the best.
Daniel Wayne Cook

az_cook_d

Crime: July 19, 1987

Sentenced to Death: August 8, 1988

Executed: August 8, 2012

With an accomplice, this man beat, tortured and killed one of his roommates in an argument over money and then beat, sodomized and killed a second friend because he walked in on the scene.
3 aggravating circumstances:
Especially heinous, cruel, or depraved (all 3 prongs of the aggravator)
Multiple homicides
Pecuniary gain
Carlos Froyan Cruz-Ramos was tortured by Cook and his accomplice, John Matzke. He was tied to a chair and then stabbed and beaten with a metal pipe for a few hours. They also burned his genitals with cigarettes. Finally, they crushed his throat with the metal pipe.
When Kevin Swaney arrived on the scene, he was forced to view the scene and the body. Swaney was tied to the same chair. He was beaten, sodomized, and then strangled to death with a bed sheet.
cookedCook’s accomplice, John Matzke, furnished the prosecution with much of the evidence. The acquaintance served just 20 years for the two brutal murders, and he’s free today.
daniel_cookCook won a stay of execution in April 2011 when the U.S Supreme Court explored claims of ineffective assistance of counsel during both the trial and appeals. There were claims of child sexual abuse by family members and a foster care worker that were never presented for mitigation. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, and the execution was rescheduled.
Cook’s last words were: “I’d like to say sorry to the victim’s family. I know that’s not enough . . .  . . . Where am I? To my lawyers, thank you. Red Robin, yum. I’m done. I love you”.

Richard Dale Stokley

stokley000

Crime: July 8, 1991

Sentenced to Death: July 14, 1992

Executed: December 5, 2012

This man, with an accomplice, abducted two 13 year old girls at a county fair. The two kidnapped, raped and murdered the young girls and threw them down a mine shaft.
3 aggravating circumstances,
Especially heinous, cruel or depraved (all 3 prongs)
Multiple murders
Age of victims (under 15)
richard-stokely-crimetickerAfter the rapes, they decided to kill them for fear of being caught. They each strangled one of the girls to death. According to his accomplice, Stokley made sure the girls were dead by repeatedly stomping on their bodies and stabbing each girl in the right eye.
Stokley turned himself in and confessed to the murders. Even so, Stokley’s accomplice turned State’s evidence against Stokley. The accomplice served just 20 years for the two rapes and murders, and he’s free today.
Stokely did say he was sorry for the victims and their families. He did not meet with the Arizona Executive Board of Clemency, and he declined to ask for mercy of the board which has the power to delay his execution or commute his sentence to life in prison.  A clemency request would be futile because the board hadn’t shown mercy to other death-row inmates, he told the board in a handwritten letter. ‘I don’t want to put anyone through that, especially since I’m convinced that … it’s pointless,’ he wrote. ‘I reckon I know how to die, and if it’s my time, I’ll go without fanfare.’
Stokley has said he thought his life was worth saving, that he knew he had made ‘grave and irreversible errors’ and that he was sorry he ‘was mixed up in these awful events that brought me to this’.
stokely 2On his execution day, Stokley had plenty of time to socialize and joke with the execution team as they spent 52 minutes trying to find veins that could be used to administer the drug pentobarbital. “I grew up a long time ago,” Stokley said. “I do wish I could die doing something meaningful, you know. This seems like such a waste.”
When Stokley was asked if he had any final words, he simply responded, “Nah.” He refused to look at the victims family members and said nothing at his execution.

Next in line for execution in Arizona:

Edward Schad

schad 1

Crime: August 1, 1978

Sentenced to Death: December 27, 1979

Executed: October 9, 2013

 

This man was convicted for the 1978 murder of Lorimer Grove, 74, an Arizonan on his way to WashingtonState.
Grove was driving his Cadillac when Schad allegedly hitched a ride or asked him to stop for help. Grove was strangled to death. Schad was AWOL from the Army and was found in New Yorrk driving Grove’s Cadillac, with the victim’s ID in his wallet, and having made purchases with the victim’s credit card. Schad had served time for second degree murder in the strangling death of a fellow Army member. He claimed it was an accident during rough sex.
3 aggravating circumstances:
Prior conviction punishable by life imprisonment
Prior conviction involving violence
Pecuniary gain
Schad has consistently denied murdering the victim. He admitted that he was a thief and he had stolen cars before, but he claimed he had not hurt anyone he stole from.
Schad, at 71 years-old, was the oldest man on Arizona’s death row. He had spent 35 years behind bars. There was a stay of execution, while the appeals court determined if Schad’s attorney had failed to bring up Schad’s mental illness as a mitigating factor.
Schad’s attorney also brought up the issue of whether it was impossible to get a stay or commutation to life in prison from the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency. He charged that the Governor’s office had improperly influenced the Clemency Board to refuse any requests for postponements or leniency.
schad000The lawyer also demanded to know what drugs were going to be used and for the court to make the state reveal the source of the drugs. The state was very reluctant to comply and only complied in part.
“A U.S. District Court judge in Phoenix ordered the state to reveal the source of the drugs – the state begrudgingly complied in part – but she did not stop the execution.”
Schad’s execution was stayed in March by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow time for appeals. The appeals were denied and Schad was executed October 9th at 10:00 AM.

Robert Jones

robert jones

Crime: May – August, 1996

Sentenced to Death: February 17, 2000

Executed: October 23, 2013

 

This man was served with six death sentences by the court, one for each of his victims.
scan0019fm1Robert Jones is a Texan who was just released from prison when he teamed up with an accomplice to rob a smoke shop in Tuscon. Five people were shot and two of them died of their wounds. Two weeks later, Jones and his accomplice tried to rob the Firefighter’s Union Hall in Tuscon, shooting and killing four people.
5 aggravating circumstances and 42 felony counts:
Convicted of other offenses for which life sentence or death penalty imposable
Convicted of other “serious” offenses
Pecuniary gain
On parole at time of offense
Multiple homicides
The killings were mostly execution-style. Robert Jones seemed to enjoy shooting people in the head even more than the robberies. Jones and his accomplice, Scott Nordstrom were turned in by Nordstrom’s brother, David, the getaway driver in their burglaries.
jones 1Robert Jones was first jailed in 1972. The murders were committed in 1984. He has served 26 years on death row in Arizona. His accomplice, Scoot Nordstrom, remains on death row. It seems that Scott Nordstrom’s execution date will also arrive in 2013.
Jones’ execution date is set for October 23, 2013.

Let’s compare to Jodi Arias

jodi arias jail

Crime: June 4, 2008
Sentenced to Death:
Executed:
This woman committed a domestic homicide. She shot her ex-boyfriend, stabbed him 16 (not 27 and not 29) times and slit his throat during a violent altercation. She has a long term mental illness and had been mentally and emotionally abused by the victim. Arias also was possibly sexually and physically abused by an ordained elder in the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) in a secretive sexual relationship.
1 Aggravating circumstance
Especially heinous, cruel or depraved (cruelty prong only of the aggravator)
No prior convictions. In the four years prior to meeting the victim and over five years after, has shown no signs of violence, instability, or rage.
It’s true that most women who murder do not rob, rape, or torture their victims, and most are domestic violence homicides. It is also true that most women who murder do so in either self-defense, out of fear, or to protect children. Many times in self-defense, the murder is disproportional to the attack (overkill). This is most often because the woman is reacting to prior acts of violence committed against her, or due to the woman’s smaller size and inexperience at committing violence and in processing the inevitable adrenaline rush.

We will continue to update the list of the executed as Arizona cranks up their execution machine in the months to come.  Will Arizona become more like California, which has rarely used it’s execution powers and now faces a proposition on the ballot to eliminate executions? Maybe Arizona will remain like Texas, Alabama and Ohio, where it’s full steam ahead on executions. Only time will tell.

Sources: http://www.azcentral.com  www.murderpedia.org

http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/pending_death_penalty_cases_weigh_against_maricopa_county/

Click to access FinalRpt092007.pdf

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/19/jan-brewer-arizona-execution_n_1610924.html

 

 

The Executives and the Executed (part 1) (Oct 20)

The Executives and the Executed

Meet Arizona’s most recent Governors

and Executed  Death Row Convicts

Fact Based Reporting

By Amanda Chen and Rob Roman

4 governers square

 These are the 4 most recent Governors of Arizona.  Each Governor has a unique way of governing and has different priorities. Their individual agendas affect how executions are carried out.

Besides the higher courts, the Governors are the last chance for a delay in carrying out the death sentence, or a commutation to a life sentence. First, a few days before the sentence is carried out, the prisoner is brought into a special cage in a hearing room for the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency.
Five citizens selected by a Governor will review the prisoner’s case, listen to prosecution and defense attorneys, listen to witnesses and hear the opinion of others who wish to speak for or against the prisoner.
If the five board members agree that the death sentence should not be executed, they make a recommendation to the Governor. Then, it’s the Governor’s decision to accept or reject the recommendation. It seems that on this board, there would be a minister, someone from law enforcement, a former judge, and people of this sort. The Arizona board is stacked with former law enforcement types, and people who have political ambitions or obligations.
 This means you have to get through five people like this guy:head of clemency
To get to this Governor:brewer mean
 Good Luck!

symington 2

Fife Symington

(7 years in office – 8 prisoners executed)

Symington 3“Symington was sworn into office on March 6, 1991. During his first term, the governor was the subject of an investigation over his involvement with Southwest Savings and Loan, a failed Phoenix thrift bank. He was later cleared, and won reelection handily in 1994.”
In November, 1995, Symington’s chest may have been swelling with pride. His own party had shut down the government over a budget battle. He may have been humored and excited at the prospect that the Federal Government was forced to close many of its functions. This self-satisfaction turned to alarm when he realized that the world-famous Grand Canyon, an Arizona tourist hotspot, had been closed. Political pressure mounted and Symington sprang into action.
Symington demanded that the Grand Canyon be opened immediately. He declared he would take the Arizona National Guard to the Park and open it personally by force, if necessary. The Pentagon contacted him and told him they would federalize the Arizona armed forces if he tried it. Symington defiantly marched to the Grand CanyonNational Park, but he only took a few unarmed soldiers. His defiance was downgraded to beating on the locked gates for the news cameras in a staged protest.
Symington was later indicted on charges of extortion and making false financial statements. In 1997, he was convicted of bank fraud. Arizona state law does not allow convicted felons to hold office, so Symington resigned his office in September, 1997.
symingtonThe conviction was overturned in 1999 by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. There was a dispute about whether a dismissed juror who insisted on voting not guilty was refusing to deliberate or simply refusing to change his vote.
“Symington attended the prestigious Gilman School in Baltimore, then attended Harvard University, graduating in 1968 with a degree in Dutch art history. He served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War, stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Maricopa County, Arizona. He remained in Arizona and became involved in real estate development, founding his own company, the Symington Company, in 1976.”

jane hull

Jane D. Hull

(5 years in office – 14 prisoners executed)

Jane_Dee_Hull_2001.jpeg“Jane D. Hull entered politics in 1978 by being elected to the Arizona House of Representatives as a Republican. She served for seven terms, including two as Speaker of the House, the first female Speaker in Arizona history.”
“In 1991, while she was Speaker, the Arizona legislature experienced a major political scandal called AZSCAM, which resulted in the resignation or removal of ten members of the House and Senate. As a result, Speaker Hull instituted a number of ethics reforms to re-establish public confidence in the legislature.”
Hull was elected Arizona Secretary of State in 1994. After Governor Fife Symington was forced to resign due to his felony conviction. Hull became governor on September 5, 1997. U.S. Supreme Court Justice andra Day OConnnor, herself a former Arizona legislator, swore her into office. As Secretary of State, Hull was next in line to be Governor should anything prevent the current Governor from fulfilling hus duties. Since Arizona bars convicted felons from holding office, Jane Hull took over as Governor after Fife Symington was convicted.
“Hull won election in her own right in 1998. This was the first time in the history of the United States that all five of the top elected executive offices in one state were held by women.”
jane hull. 2jpg“While she was governor, Hull’s relations with home state U.S. Senator John McCain were strained. During the 2000 primary season she endorsed his opponent, Texas Governor George W. Bush, in the Arizona primary. After leaving office, she spent three months in New York City, as a public delegate from the United States to the United Nations General Assembly (2004).”
“Hull graduated from theUniversity of Kansas with a degree in education. She taught elementary school in Kansas”

nap 2

Janet Napolitano

(6 years in office – 1 prisoner executed)

“Janet Napolitano narrowly won the Aisona gubernatorial election of 2002 with 46 percent of the vote, succeeding Republican Jane Hull and defeating her Republican opponent. In November 2006, Napolitano won the gubernatorial election of 2006, defeating the Republican challenger, Len Munsil, by a nearly 2–1 ratio and becoming the first woman to be re-elected to that office.”
napolitano 1Napolitano vetoed a bill which authorized the police to detain illegal immigrants in Arizona and arrest them for “trespassing (on American soil)”. Napolitano remarked that the bill didn’t place enough responsibility on businesses which continue to hire and employ illegal immigrants and that the bill’s passage would overwhelm law enforcement.
napolitano obamo 1In December, 2008, Barack Obama made Napolitano his nominee for United States Secretary of Homeland Security. In January, 2009, Napolitano became the first woman appointed Secretary in the relatively new department. Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer became the governor of Arizona, as the state does not have a lieutenant governor.
The single prisoner executed under Janet Napolitano had murdered two people and had waived his appeals.
napolitano“Napolitano graduated from Santa Clara University in California, where she won a Truman Scholarship, and was valedictorian. In 1978, she studied for a term at the London School of Economics. She then received her Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Virginia School of.”

jan brewer

Jan Brewer

(5 years in office – 12 prisoners executed)

Governor Brewer is well on her way to beating former Governor Hull’s record of 14 executions during her terms in office. Things slowed down in 2013, due to Supreme Court and Federal court appeals for the next prisoner in line to be executed. There were also issues with the drugs used in the executions. As 2014 will be her final year as Governor due to term restrictions, look for a series of executions in the coming year.
Politically, executions in Arizona are known as “crowd pleasers”.
“Janice Kay “Jan” Brewer is the 22nd Governor of the U.S. state of Arizona, in office since 2009. A member of the Republican Party, Brewer is the fourth woman, and third consecutive woman, to serve as Governor of Arizona.”
brewer fingerJan Brewer famously stuck her finger in the face of President Obama at the airport when he came for a visit. Ironically, Jan Brewer may never have been Governor of Arizona were it not for President Obama. Brewer was Secretary of State at the time Obama recruited then Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano to become head of Department of Homeland Security. The next person in line is the Secretary of State. So Brewer became Governor by default.
“On April 23, 2010, Brewer signed the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, otherwise known as Arizona SB1070, into law, making it “a state crime for illegal immigrants to not have an alien registration document,” and requiring police “to question people about their immigration status if there is reason.””
jan brewer 2Of course the “reason” to detain people and request documentation from citizens was reasoned to be having a Spanish surname or having a certain skin color, resulting in various class-action and Federal lawsuits.
Illegal immigrants would be encouraged to get out of Arizona by creating incentives for legal citizens to refuse to transport or hire them. No state services would be granted to illegal immigrants. The “Signing of the bill has led to massive demonstrations in Arizona, Washington, D.C. and many other cities across the United States, both for and against the legislation.”
In Arizona, justifying these divisions into first and second class citizens is a political big hit.
brewer 5“In July 2009, Jan Brewer signed SB 1113, which entitles people in Arizona to carry concealed guns in bars or restaurants as long as they do not consume alcohol. Brewer also signed SB 1168, a measure that bans property owners from prohibiting the storage of firearms in locked vehicles parked on their lots.
“She signed SB 1243, which allows a person who is threatened to announce they are armed, or display or place their hand on their firearm before the use of deadly force.In April 2010, Brewer signed SB 1108, which removes the licensure requirement for law-abiding citizens who choose to carry a concealed firearm in the state of Arizona.”
jan brewer 4Governor Jan Brewer vetoed two bills. One set a mandate that anyone running for President must have proof of U.S. citizenship and the other being a bill which allowed guns on college campuses.Federal law already mandates that a candidate for President must be a natural born U.S. citizen. Arizona doesn’t seem quite ready to have its college campuses teaming with armed twenty year-old students.
Better luck next time. Any laws strengthening and expanding gun rights is a win-win in Arizona.
“In the face of a mounting budget crisis in Arizona, Brewer signed the 2011 legislative budget which eliminates the Arizona variant of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as KidsCare, providing health insurance to uninsured children whose families have low income.
Other legislation was passed under Jan Brewer to further limit access of poor families and children to health care, saying “We do not have the money…. We are broke.”
“Brewer attended Glendale Community College in Glendale, Arizona, where she received a radiological technologist certificate”, proving that in this wonderful country, you too can become Secretary of State and even Governor of Arizona.

governors

Please See (part 2)  of The Executives and the Executed

Sources: http://www.azcentral.com/news  http://www.wikipedia.org/