This Week in Pointless Executions

On Monday, June 14th, Ronnie Lee Gardner was denied clemency by the Utah Board of Pardons and Paroles.  Much of the attention since, and really before, has been on Gardner’s chosen method of execution – the firing squad. 

Yet there are many other issues that we should not lose sight of in our morbid fascination with old timey methods of state killing.

Following the Utah Board’s decision, Gardner’s attorneys filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court questioning the fairness of the clemency process, because the state Attorney General’s Office was simultaneously pursuing Ronnie Gardner’s execution while serving as legal advisor to the Board.

In addition to the civil rights suit, three jurors from Gardner’s trial in 1985 have come forward and signed statements expressing that they no longer support his execution.  One juror, Pauline Davies, wrote that she “felt coerced into voting for death.”

Another juror, Colleen Cline, in a phone interview said, “I think we all would have gone for life without parole if that had been an option. But in the state of Utah, it was not an option at that time.” Instead the jurors were forced to choose between capital punishment and a life sentence with the possibility of parole.  Gardner, who has the support of friends and family of the victim and who has spent 25 years on death row, faces execution this Friday, though there is still a chance Utah’s Governor could intervene. Amnesty International is urging him to do so

On Tuesday, June 15th David Lee Powell was executed in Texas for the murder of a police officer committed in May 1978. He had been on death row for more than half of his life.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted against clemency, unanimously rejecting Powell’s powerful case of rehabilitation and change. He was in the midst of a methamphetamine addiction when the crime occurred, but Powell cleaned up in prison where a noted psychologist stated, “David Powell ha[d] an exceptional ability to reach out and educate others. He [could] trace his own untoward footsteps and paths with great clarity and wisdom.” Powell’s years in prison changed him and it became clear that he no longer posed a danger to anyone and no longer qualified for execution under terms of “future dangerousness“.  Texas was given a chance to change as well and grant clemency for once, but the execution was carried out as scheduled.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

18 thoughts on “This Week in Pointless Executions

  1. So sad. I truly hope David made his peace with God before he died. May David and Officer Ralph rest in the peace they truly deserve. :(

  2. The loss of any human life, regardless of that person's action, is a tragedy. The world is not any better off because there is one more death. You can protect society from someone found to be dangerous without disposing of him. The death penalty does nothing more than further devalue life as a commodity that people can be legally stripped of.

  3. The fact that rehabilitation when one has spent over 30 years in jail in the most horrific conditions is never considered is a farce in the face of rehabilitative justice. However the biggest concern is that a Supreme Court Judge appears to think allowing an incorrect death penalty to be carried out is not for them to decide as long as the proper proceedures have been followed. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia set off a firestorm last summer when he wrote a dissent — joined by Justice Clarence Thomas — that the highest court in the land is not necessarily concerned with whether a person facing execution had actually committed the crime. The court "has never held," Justice Scalia wrote, "that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a … court that he is 'actually innocent.'" Scalia was taking issue with the court's ruling that a lower court give Georgia death-row inmate Troy Davis a new hearing.

    This idea that the Constitution allows innocent people to be put to death should be abhorrent to anyone who cares about justice. As Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz pointed out, Justice Scalia seemed to be saying that if a man was convicted of murdering his wife and then showed up in court with the wife, who was still alive, seeking a new trial, it should not matter. As long as the man's conviction was procedurally proper, Justice Scalia apparently believes, he should still be executed.

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,19
    I have been communicating with an individual who has been on Florida's death row for over 28 years now. He has uncovered new evidence proving his innocece which the courts refuse to hear. He is writing a book about his experience which we hope to self-publish by September. Please join his facebook page "One Eagle Campaign for Justice" which provides links to his website. Milo Rose (a native American Cherokee name One Eagle) deserves the evidence that will vindicate him to be shown before his course. Please join his campaign and support him. Thanks

  4. The fact that rehabilitation when one has spent over 30 years in jail in the most horrific conditions is never considered is a farce in the face of rehabilitative justice. However the biggest concern is that a Supreme Court Judge appears to think allowing an incorrect death penalty to be carried out is not for them to decide as long as the proper proceedures have been followed. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia set off a firestorm last summer when he wrote a dissent — joined by Justice Clarence Thomas — that the highest court in the land is not necessarily concerned with whether a person facing execution had actually committed the crime. The court "has never held," Justice Scalia wrote, "that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a … court that he is 'actually innocent.'" Scalia was taking issue with the court's ruling that a lower court give Georgia death-row inmate Troy Davis a new hearing.

    This idea that the Constitution allows innocent people to be put to death should be abhorrent to anyone who cares about justice. As Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz pointed out, Justice Scalia seemed to be saying that if a man was convicted of murdering his wife and then showed up in court with the wife, who was still alive, seeking a new trial, it should not matter. As long as the man's conviction was procedurally proper, Justice Scalia apparently believes, he should still be executed.

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,19
    I have been communicating with an individual who has been on Florida's death row for over 28 years now. He has uncovered new evidence proving his innocece which the courts refuse to hear. He is writing a book about his experience which we hope to self-publish by September. Please join his facebook page "One Eagle Campaign for Justice" which provides links to his website. Milo Rose (a native American Cherokee name One Eagle) deserves the evidence that will vindicate him to be shown before his course. Please join his campaign and support him. Thanks

  5. The fact that rehabilitation when one has spent over 30 years in jail in the most horrific conditions is never considered is a farce in the face of rehabilitative justice. However the biggest concern is that a Supreme Court Judge appears to think allowing an incorrect death penalty to be carried out is not for them to decide as long as the proper proceedures have been followed. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia set off a firestorm last summer when he wrote a dissent — joined by Justice Clarence Thomas — that the highest court in the land is not necessarily concerned with whether a person facing execution had actually committed the crime. The court "has never held," Justice Scalia wrote, "that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a … court that he is 'actually innocent.'" Scalia was taking issue with the court's ruling that a lower court give Georgia death-row inmate Troy Davis a new hearing.

    This idea that the Constitution allows innocent people to be put to death should be abhorrent to anyone who cares about justice. As Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz pointed out, Justice Scalia seemed to be saying that if a man was convicted of murdering his wife and then showed up in court with the wife, who was still alive, seeking a new trial, it should not matter. As long as the man's conviction was procedurally proper, Justice Scalia apparently believes, he should still be executed.

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,19
    I have been communicating with an individual who has been on Florida's death row for over 28 years now. He has uncovered new evidence proving his innocece which the courts refuse to hear. He is writing a book about his experience which we hope to self-publish by September. Please join his facebook page "One Eagle Campaign for Justice" which provides links to his website. Milo Rose (a native American Cherokee name One Eagle) deserves the evidence that will vindicate him to be shown before his course. Please join his campaign and support him. Thanks

  6. So sad. I truly hope David made his peace with God before he died. May David and Officer Ralph rest in the peace they truly deserve. :(

  7. The loss of any human life, regardless of that person’s action, is a tragedy. The world is not any better off because there is one more death. You can protect society from someone found to be dangerous without disposing of him. The death penalty does nothing more than further devalue life as a commodity that people can be legally stripped of.

  8. The fact that rehabilitation when one has spent over 30 years in jail in the most horrific conditions is never considered is a farce in the face of rehabilitative justice. However the biggest concern is that a Supreme Court Judge appears to think allowing an incorrect death penalty to be carried out is not for them to decide as long as the proper proceedures have been followed. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia set off a firestorm last summer when he wrote a dissent — joined by Justice Clarence Thomas — that the highest court in the land is not necessarily concerned with whether a person facing execution had actually committed the crime. The court “has never held,” Justice Scalia wrote, “that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a … court that he is ‘actually innocent.’” Scalia was taking issue with the court’s ruling that a lower court give Georgia death-row inmate Troy Davis a new hearing.

    This idea that the Constitution allows innocent people to be put to death should be abhorrent to anyone who cares about justice. As Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz pointed out, Justice Scalia seemed to be saying that if a man was convicted of murdering his wife and then showed up in court with the wife, who was still alive, seeking a new trial, it should not matter. As long as the man’s conviction was procedurally proper, Justice Scalia apparently believes, he should still be executed.

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1991827,00.html#ixzz0r8kP956
    I have been communicating with an individual who has been on Florida’s death row for over 28 years now. He has uncovered new evidence proving his innocece which the courts refuse to hear. He is writing a book about his experience which we hope to self-publish by September. Please join his facebook page “One Eagle Campaign for Justice” which provides links to his website. Milo Rose (a native American Cherokee name One Eagle) deserves the evidence that will vindicate him to be shown before his course. Please join his campaign and support him. Thanks

  9. Dear Bunter 21,

    Thank you truly for activating in the case of One Eagle.

    Please give him my deepest love, respect & complete support, & my prayers for his vindication & freedom.

    i am looking forward to learning more about his long struggle, & the struggle of people like you on his behalf.

    Let us press on.

    All My Relations.

  10. Dear Bunter 21,

    Thank you truly for activating in the case of One Eagle.

    Please give him my deepest love, respect & complete support, & my prayers for his vindication & freedom.

    i am looking forward to learning more about his long struggle, & the struggle of people like you on his behalf.

    Let us press on.

    All My Relations.

  11. It seems that we have now lost Ronnie Gardner to the firing squad. First David and now Ronnie. I truly hope that Ronnie made his peace with God before he died. May Ronnie and his victim rest in the eternal peace they truly deserved. :(

  12. It seems that we have now lost Ronnie Gardner to the firing squad. First David and now Ronnie. I truly hope that Ronnie made his peace with God before he died. May Ronnie and his victim rest in the eternal peace they truly deserved. :(