MIRANDA WARNINGS AND THE BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING

There are many interesting legal issues surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing. Today I would like to discuss the Miranda Warning issue. Peace officers investigating the Boston Marathon bombing did not read Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda rights prior to interrogating him. As any watcher of crime programs on TV knows the cops are supposed to tell a defendant that she/he has the right to remain silent; the right to have his/her attorney present during there questioning and that anything they say […] Read more »

MARYLAND APPEALS THE DEATH PENALTY

Maryland became the eighteenth state to not have a death penalty. Under the leadership of Governor Martin O’Malley the legislature repealed the death penalty. Legislators gave four primary reasons for repealing the death penalty: It’s too expensive. You may assume that executing prisoners is more cost-effective than housing them for life. However, someone typically remains on death row for many years and will accrue massive legal bills in an effort to save his life. These costs can sometimes exceed the […] Read more »

FIFTH CIRCUIT RULES: NO RIGHT TO COUNSEL IN HABEAS CORPUS MATTER

Sunday we looked at the tremendous hurdle that petitioners have to jump to meet the burden of proof in habeas corpus cases. Today we shall look at some additional hurdles set by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”). In In re: Christopher Sepulvado, Sepulvado who is scheduled to be put to death Wednesday for the 1992 murder of his step child challenges the Federal District Court’s transfer of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus, […] Read more »

VOTE YES ON PROPOSITIONS 34 AND 36

While I do not normally discuss politics on this blog there are two important criminal law propositions on the California Ballot Tuesday. Proposition 34 would abolish the death penalty and replace it with life without parole. Californians should vote for it regardless of how they feel about the death penalty. Since 1978 only thirteen people have been executed in California. Many more have died of natural causes on death row. The current system is is really life without parole while […] Read more »

SHAME SHAME ON TEXAS

Marvin Wilson is scheduled to be executed tomorrow (Tuesday) in Texas. According to his lawyers he has an IQ of 61 which would make him mentally impaired in almost anyone’s book. The State of Texas claims that the score of 61 was obtained on an aberrant test and that his real IQ is over 70. (100 is average) In Atkins v. Virginia the Supreme Court ruled that the retarded do not act with the level of moral culpability that would […] Read more »

MAN EXONERATED AFTER SPENDING 17 YEARS IN PRISON

Robert “Rider” Dewey was released from prison today after spending seventeen years of a life sentence for a murder and rape that he did not commit. Advanced DNA testing proved that the blood found on Dewey’s shirt was his own, not that of the victim. Previous DNA examination had proved that the semen found at the scene was not Dewey’s. DNA testing also lead to a warrant being issued for Douglas Thames who is currently imprisoned in Colorado for a […] Read more »

ELEVENTH CIRCUIT FINDS BATSON ERROR AND REMANDS MURDER CASE TO TRIAL COURT

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the death sentence conviction of Vernon Madison to the Alabama courts for a proper determination of his Batson objection. Madison who is African American has had three trials for the murder of a White police officer. The first trial was reversed for Batson error. In Batson v. Kentucky the Supreme Court set a three step procedure to deal with claims of using race as a determinate in jury selection. First the party making […] Read more »

CALIFORNIA PUTS THE DEATH PENALTY ON THE NOVEMBER BALLOT

California voters submitted over 800,000 signatures placing an initiative on the November ballot which if passed will abolish the death penalty in the state. If the initiative is approved in November California will join five other states which have abolished the death penalty in the last five years. But it will be the first state to abolish the death penalty through an initiative since Oregon voters abolished the death penalty in the 1960′s. Currently 17 states and the District of […] Read more »

DEATH PENALTY REVOKED UNDER NORTH CAROLINA’S RACIAL JUSTICE ACT

A North Carolina Judge revoked the death penalty for Marcus Reymond Robinson and sentenced him to life in prison without parole after finding that “race was a materially, practically and statistically significant factor in the decision to exercise preemptory challenges during jury selection by prosecutors ….” North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act provides for statistical evidence to be used to establish that “race was the basis for seeking or obtaining the death penalty in any case.” Under the law those on […] Read more »

CONNECTICUT JOINS THE TREND TOWARDS THE ABOLITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY

The Connecticut House of Representatives has approved a a bill to abolish the death penalty. The bill was previously approved by the State Senate. Governor Daniel Malloy has promised to sign it. With Governor Malloy’s signature Connecticut will become the fifth state in the last five years to abolish the death penalty. Five states may not seem to be strong evidence that support for the death penalty is declining since the death penalty still exists in 33 states. However the […] Read more »