Age 19 + No Prior Record + Sloppy Lawyers = Death Sentence

Anthony Haynes

Anthony Haynes

Anthony Haynes, a 19-year-old at the time of the crime with no prior criminal history, is scheduled to be executed in Texas on October 18.

As noted in this space previously, there were serious issues of racial bias in his case (African American defendant, 11 white jurors, judge cleaning guns during jury selection). There were also bad lawyers and a possibly coerced confession. Despite this, the state of Texas is prepared to put this man to death for a crime he committed as a teenager under the influence of crystal meth.

Two days before Haynes fatally shot Kent Kincaid, an off-duty police officer, a friend of the family had given him crystal meth. It was Haynes’ first experience with the drug. The same friend wrote in a sworn statement that during those two days Haynes began “talking crazy,” saying he had been unable to sleep for days and thought someone was following him. When Sergeant Kincaid approached Haynes’ car, Haynes’ drug-induced paranoia really kicked in – he believed he would be dragged from the car. He shot and killed Officer Kincaid.

A doctor who specializes in psychiatry concluded in 2005 that Haynes’ actions that night were inconsistent with previous behavior and his diminished capacity was due to his first-time use of meth. The jury never heard that Haynes had used crystal meth prior to the shooting.

Sloppy Lawyers

Predicting “future dangerousness” is a prerequisite for Texas death sentences, and Anthony Haynes’ lawyer failed to offer a strong challenge to the state’s weak case for his future dangerousness.  Without the violence inducing effects of meth, there was little to suggest Haynes would be an ongoing threat.

Haynes has no previous criminal record. More than 3 dozen friends and family offered to testify about Haynes’ good character and against the claim that Haynes would be a future threat to society. Yet Haynes’ defense lawyer refused most offers of testimony and failed to even interview many family members.

Haynes’ inadequate representation continued into his habeas corpus appeal. His court appointed habeas lawyer didn’t investigate the failures of his trial lawyer. In a 2006 article in the Austin American-Statesman, the habeas attorney was cited as one of the “sloppy lawyers failing clients on death row”, due to a habit of submitting habeas corpus petitions that were “copied largely verbatim” from the prisoner’s previous appeal.

A Coerced Confession?

For Texas to obtain the death penalty in this case, the prosecution also had to prove that Haynes knew Sergeant Kincaid was a police officer at the time of the shooting. Kincaid was off-duty the day of the shooting and was dressed in plain clothes, driving his personal car. In his initial statement, for which he waived his right to have a lawyer present, Haynes confessed to the shooting and to knowing that Kincaid was a police officer.

Haynes has since maintained that this confession was coerced, and that he did not know Kincaid was an officer. During and before his interrogation, Haynes was not allowed to use the bathroom, eat or rest, and was still feeling the effects of his meth use. As we have all seen recently, it doesn’t always take much to coerce a false confession. Despite Haynes’ allegation that the confession was coerced, the judge allowed it to be used as evidence that led to his being sentenced to death in 1999.

Stop this execution

Anthony Haynes should be granted a new sentencing hearing so that the mountains of unheard mitigating evidence can finally be presented. At the least, he should be granted clemency and have his sentence commuted.  Executing Anthony Haynes after such a dubious legal process would be a fundamental injustice.

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36 thoughts on “Age 19 + No Prior Record + Sloppy Lawyers = Death Sentence

  1. From a friend in Australia to a friend in America … The boy is only 19 ! … I personaly would like to look into the eyes of the person at and when they feel the need to take this kids life … You have yet so far to go !

    • No Mark – the boy is not 19. He is 33 today and was 19 at time of his crime…Did you know he murdered a police officer?

      • People give a thumbs down for pointing out that this "boy" murdered a police officer? Are you so-called "supporters" for real???

      • By no means do i support or condone in any way what he has done…. but to pay with another loss of life for a misstake made by a boy … i wonder if the jury had been made aware of the first attempt at meth and the resulting affects it had at the time of afence … would it be a different punishment .
        For what its worth im against the death penalty obviously … however in heart of hearts I cant help but feel that id be capable of sticking the needle to Latasha Pulliam should America need to make its death quota….

        • Mark, to me your assessment here indicates that perhapsyou understand the reason some "children" are eligible to be sentenced as adults. Cases such the one you brought up of Natasha Pulliam and the one discussed in this post of Anthony Haynes – illustrate that children/young adults are infact capable of understanding murder and its implications.

          Let us not kid ourselves (no pun intended) however that age 19 and Pulliam at age 26 can be considered a childhood stage. In the US one legally becomes an adult at age 18 just like in Europe and most other continents. It is recognized that age 18 is a matriculation into adulthood, period.

          Had Haynes committed this murder prior to age 18, I would not write any words about it. It is unfortunate. May God have mercy on him…

          • you make your argument well. Its the fact he was so very young at the time…the first ( if true ) experiance with drugs… this is not a Micheal Perry type crime. A hesitation or a re think that to take his life might not be the way ….

              • Drugs work on the nervous system just like alcohol: some people go to sleep, some people become the live of the party and some become physical. So being on crystal meth is not the cause of murdering someone; the person's biology and physiological reaction coupled with psychological issues give the propensity a go.

                AIUSA cannot make a causal statement here because ther are plenty of crystal meth users who do not murder. Period…

  2. The judge in this case was not wise, not compassionate, nor intelligent – did he himself not have the facts?

  3. I just think its so sad sum1 so young being put to death. Im so glad iblive in england as we dont belive in the death penalty.

    • The Royals come from a long line of blood-thirsty men and women, so fond of beheading their own – don't you know your own histor? I recommend that you become concerned about the dilemma of what supporting these loafs (read: to pass time at leisure; to be idle) in the Buckingham Palace means for your country. Your taxes are sky-rocketing due to kissing their collective derriere and you are concerned about the American Justice System? I am glad you live in England also… LOL..

  4. Stop the Execution of Anthony Haynes. Texas and their system of state murders will be judged one day but God will not execute them. They will rott in hell for this.

  5. i just pray and pray they will save Anthony 's life … fair trial ………his lawyer was knowing he was having a cancer and dont even have time to prepare his defense !!!!!!! dont forget also that Anthony is black and in Texas means a lot in front a white jury ….i just pray a great God today that this man will be save
    ved . i want again to see Anthony and his smile ……..

  6. When I look into the eyes of Anthony,my heart goes out to him.I pray that God saves his life. By no uncertain terms, I feel much sorrow for the police officer and his family, but taking the life of this boy will not bring him back. I work in a drug rehab and know the effects that drugs have on people. Sure there are lots of people that do drugs that dont react the way Anthony did…but not all drugs are the same nor is any one individual the same. The things that people cut dope with, as well as how prue the substance the boy took has alot to do with it. Than again some pople are chemically inbalanced… and drugs have a much more severe effect on them. Please save the boys life.

    • Read this aloud to yourself and think for at least 10 minutes about the content of your message. Just a suggestion… LOL…

  7. This is terrible. I hate the idea that there are sloppy habeas corpus lawyers. However, Julia, please don't judge all Americans by the actions of this jury and judge. Many of us live in states where the death penalty does not exist and are actively campaigning to change the rest of the country.

  8. While i believe the death penalty should be brought back for repeat offenders who will rot in prison anyways, this boy doesn't deserve to die, he's still a kid for christs sake, a kid who took meth (a very dangerous substance) for the first time. I say he should get extensive drug therapy and firearms probation, but not the death penalty

    • This guy is just amazing ,he is not a criminal , this is the problem of Texas justice to mixed up all the cases , i dont think that he was knowing he has a police officer in front of him and i have seen declarations of the wife ,so i dont even think she wants the death of Anthony …..his lawyer cannot defends Anthony properly just because he was knowing to have a cancer , he died several months later how he can afford to defend his case …….please God this guy help his family ……i am today just praying for them all !!!!!!!

      • i think dear Julia you must be so young to have this kind of reactions !!!!!!!try to understand the feelings and never judge… dear Lady !!!!!!!hope peace for you !!!!!!!

      • Anyone of us can reach sainthood Julia. But, did you catch the proper meaning and yes, fom of delivery, of my ALL CAPS reply? Read it some more. LOL

  9. Millions of Americans oppose the death penalty, and thousands dedicate their lives to abolish it. Please keep this blog courteous and refrain from using generalizations.

    • I am European and i have a lot of Americans friends Mrs Julia , you cannot be here offended all America .i am a fighter against the death penalty and i dont know if you know the story , but we have been fighting too to abolish this Death penalty also for so long in Europe …so its not really fair to use that horrible words ……i just dont like your judgement


    • Just so that you know – I always attach my full name to every single comment I post. How many AIUSA "supporters" do that here?

    • I don't even know where to begin with this one. As an AMERICAN, this sickens me horribly. Hell, Charles Manson isn't going to be put to death(because apparently murdering numerous people would be the perfect reason to commute a sentence). Uh, I am pretty sure that Dahmer would STILL be appealing if he was not killed while appealing. And here we have a kid, not even old enough to drink that we are rushing to execute. That really makes us look great. I can understand why so many other countries have such nice things to say about the great USA and our death penalty procedures. While I DO support the death penalty, our system for it needs a huge overhaul. Now if you were writing this rediculously stupid comment about oh say the nut job that chased down a teenager in FL after being told to not follow him by 911 , I may be able to agree with you a little.

      • Anthony Haynes is 33 now and was 19 at time of his crime. He was matriculated adult when he was sentenced. Please do not perpetrate this misinformation that he was or is a kid!

  11. After failing to find relief in both state and federal courts for more than a decade, including a 456-page federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed in 2005, Haynes petitioned the court to reopen his federal habeas action citing an ineffective trial counsel. U.S. District Judge Sim Lake rejected that petition on October 3, 2012 and denied him a certificate of appealability. Haynes claimed relief under the recent Supreme Court decision Martinez v. Ryan. Lake also said that Haynes failed to show extraordinary circumstances under the law. "The court has already reviewed the merits of Haynes' Strickland claim in the alternative and found it to be without merit."

    Lake also noted that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals observed, on direct appeal, that Haynes confessed "to knowingly murdering a police officer after a violent crime spree." "Haynes admitted that he shot Sergeant Kincaid because he was a police officer and, showing no remorse, bragged to friends that he had killed a police officer. Haynes also told people that he should have killed Nancy Kincaid, so that there would have been no witness to the murder."

    • What age is acceptable to murder a police officer and consider to murder his spouse (read my synopsis above). LAwyers were not sloppy either if you consider the evidence against this murderer.

      What is a shame is that AIUSA "supporters" condone murder and cuddle murderers!!!!

  12. This just in:
    A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 late Monday against an appeal from lawyers for condemned killer Anthony Haynes. Haynes faces lethal injection Thursday evening in Huntsville.

    In other words, he cannot have his appeal re-opened. Will SCOTUS intervene? I think not…

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