Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Florida Supreme Court rejects 25 Death Penalty appeals

Comment: I was extremely happy to hear this news that the Florida Supreme Court rejected 25 Death Penalty appeals, it was a little bit of consolation after hearing that Governor Daniel Malloy had signed the bill to abolish capital punishment on Wednesday 25 April 2012. I am grateful that he is not another Pat Quinn who emptied Death Row in Illinois, as Connecticut's repeal of capital punishment is not retroactive, and the 11 inmates currently on the state's Death Row may still be executed, and those convicted of capital crimes committed before the date in which the repeal went into effect may still be subject to capital punishment.
However, I hope the Florida courts do not let these killers spent decades on Death Row. They need to speed up the execution.

            Before reading the link below, I will type out a quote:

Nothing shows the moral bankruptcy of a people or of a generation more than disregard for the sanctity of human life. And it is this same atrophy of moral fiber that appears in the plea for the abolition of the death penalty. It is the sanctity of life that validates the death penalty for the crime of murder. It is the sense of this sanctity that constrains the demand for the infliction of this penalty. The deeper our regard for life the firmer will be our hold upon the penal sanction which the violation of that sanctity merit. (Page 122 of Principles of Conduct) - John Murray (14 October 1898 – 8 May 1975) was a Scottish-born Calvinist theologian who taught at Princeton Seminary and then left to help found Westminster Theological Seminary, where he taught for many years.

            I hope that we will not forget William Petit whose family members were murdered in 2007 in Cheshire.


Florida Supreme Court

Florida Supreme Court rejects 25 Death Penalty appeals

25 men, including five convicted in Miami-Dade, had asked the Florida Supreme Court to toss their sentences.


Posted on Friday, 04.27.12
The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected appeals by 25 men on Death Row, including five from Miami-Dade, who claimed that their lawyers were ineffective in investigating their backgrounds before sentencing.

The rulings were no surprise in the legal community after justices in December issued an opinion rejecting an appeal by a Pinellas County triple murderer who sought to have his death penalty sentence tossed out for the same reason.

Combined, the Miami-Dade men have spent 131 years on Death Row awaiting execution. They are: 

• Guillermo Arbalaez, 54, sentenced to death in 1991.
In 1988, he killed Julio Rivas, the 5-year-old son of his girlfriend. Upset because he saw her with another man, Arbalaez strangled Julio and hurled him from a bridge. 

• Victor Tony Jones, 50, sentenced to death in 1993. Jones stabbed an elderly couple to death inside their Miami-Dade office in December 1990. He is appealing federally.

• Norman Parker Jr., 67, sentenced to death in 1981. After his conviction for murder, Parker escaped custody and killed Julio Chavez in a Miami drug deal turned deadly in July 1978. Parker recently died in prison of natural causes.

• Harry Franklin Phillips, 67, sentenced to death in 1984. The convict shot and killed parole supervisor Bjorn Svenson in August 1982 in a North Miami-Dade parking lot. He is appealing federally.

• William Lee Thompson, 60, sentenced to death in 1978. Thompson and another man raped a woman with a chair leg, burned her with cigarettes and whipped her for hours with a chain-link belt — all because she failed to borrow enough money from her mother to give to them. 

In Florida, juries in death penalty cases preside over a guilt phase and a separate penalty phase, in which lawyers generally present evidence about their client’s past and explain why the defendant should not be executed.

The men had appealed their convictions after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 tossed out the death sentence for George Porter, 80, who was sentenced to execution for the 1986 fatal shootings of his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend.

The court tossed out the death sentencing, ruling that Porter’s defense attorney should have investigated his background to prove “mitigating evidence” why the man should be spared.

Jurors never heard that Porter had been wounded and fought valiantly during the Korean War. He was later resentenced to life in prison.

Another Death Row inmate, Jason Dirk Walton, convicted of killing three people during a 1982 robbery in Pinellas County, asked Florida justices to throw out his sentence in light of Porter’s case.

But the Florida Supreme Court in December ruled that Walton had already asked — and been denied — a claim of “ineffective assistance of counsel” and the Porter decision was not retroactive. 

Justices cited the Walton decision in denying the 25 men in separate rulings on Thursday.

“We believe the Court’s decision in Walton was sound and are pleased that the convictions in these cases will not be disturbed,” Jenn Meale, a spokeswoman for the Florida Attorney General’s office, said Thursday.