Using the Colorado Method of Jury Selection in Tsarnaev Death Penalty Trial

By: Friday January 2, 2015 3:00 pm

As in most death penalty trials, the outcome of the Tsarnaev trial likely will be determined in jury selection before the first witness testifies for the prosecution.


Over Easy: When To Plead Guilty In A Capital Case

By: Wednesday December 31, 2014 5:13 am

An ethical lawyer would never advise an innocent client to plead guilty in order to avoid a potential death sentence and a competent lawyer would never advise a guilty client to plead guilty to a death penalty offense without an agreement by the prosecution to drop the death penalty.

First Do No Harm

By: Friday December 26, 2014 3:00 pm

The defense also filed an extremely unusual motion worth noting and discussing. They titled it, Motion to Protect Defendant from Prejudicial Effects of “Supporters” Demonstrations at Courthouse. I have never seen or heard of a motion like this. Most defendants in death penalty cases don’t have many supporters. They come and go quietly.

Debra Jean Milke is free after spending 22 years on death row

By: Friday December 12, 2014 3:00 pm

Debra Jean Milke is finally free after spending 22 years on death row in Arizona for a murder she did not commit: the murder of her 4-year-old son Christopher. The cause of this wrongful conviction was egregious misconduct by an obsessed police detective who played God and a prosecutor who covered up for him. Judge Kozinsky, the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, lays out the facts:

Over Easy: Texas to Execute ‘Floridly Psychotic’ Scott Panetti Today at 6 PM

By: Wednesday December 3, 2014 5:21 am

Barring a last-minute stay, Texas will execute Scott Panetti today at 6 PM. Scott Panetti is a severely mentally ill,  ”floridly psychotic” individual whose trial was a farce that took place before a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole was an option. A Texas trial court allowed Panetti to decline a [...]

Executing Mentally Ill Scott Panetti Would Cross the Line of Common Decency

By: Wednesday November 12, 2014 7:00 pm

This is the enduring image of Scott Panetti, a severely mentally ill man on death row in Texas: a paranoid schizophrenic wearing a TV-Western cowboy costume; on trial for his life; insisting on defending himself without counsel; attempting to subpoena the Pope, John F. Kennedy, and Jesus Christ; and raising an insanity defense. At one point, he cross-examined his own alter-ego, Sarge, answering his own questions on-stand, in a different voice.

Mr. Panetti’s pro se performance was an abomination and his trial was a mockery of the criminal justice system. But if Texas has its way, Mr. Panetti will be executed on December 3, 2014.

Over Easy: TX Prosecutor Schedules Execution for Scott Panetti but Doesn’t Tell Defense Counsel

By: Wednesday November 12, 2014 7:55 am

Scott Louis Panetti, a severely mentally impaired Texas inmate who once wore a purple bandanna and a cowboy costume to his capital trial, called himself “Sarge,” and subpoenaed JFK, Jesus Christ, Anne Bancroft, and the Pope to testify in his defense, is scheduled to be executed on December 3, 2014. Kerr County District Attorney Bruce Curry asked for and received the date Mr. Panetti is to be killed, without notifying Panetti’s defense attorneys. Had it not been for a newspaper reporter asking questions, the defense would have remained uninformed.

How Crazy Is Too Crazy to Be Executed

By: Wednesday October 15, 2014 3:08 pm

In her latest piece, Stephanie Mencimer of Mother Jones sheds light on the case of Scott Panetti—a death row prisoner who Texas wants to execute despite a decades-long history of severe mental illness and serious questions remaining about his competency to be executed.

Hey ‘murica

By: Monday October 13, 2014 1:30 am

It’s been yet another tough week to not be a Walton or Koch family member.

But hey, there’s still good news out there if you look hard enough (or spend a couple minutes on Google), but it is out there.

Texas Wants to Execute This Mentally Ill Man: Will SCOTUS Step In?

By: Monday September 22, 2014 7:18 pm

Ron Honberg of the National Association of Mental Illness begins his recent op-ed for the National Law Journal describing a situation so strange that one assumes it is fiction:

“A person diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia is accused of murdering his in-laws. He insists on defending himself without counsel and wears a TV-Western cowboy costume while on trial for his life. He attempts to subpoena the Pope, John F. Kennedy and Jesus Christ. He rambles incomprehensibly, scares the jurors by pointing an imaginary rifle at them, and he believes the judge is a devil worshiper.”

Follow Firedoglake
CSM Ads advertisement