Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kennedy v. Louisiana

I don't have time to comment (darn meetings!), but the United States Supreme Court ruled today (5-4) that it is unconstitutional to execute someone for a child rape where the child was not murdered. Although no one has been executed in the US for a crime other than murder in many years, there were two men on death row in Louisiana awaiting execution for rape of a child. Additionally, this clears the laws for other states and will prevent future executions.

Here is a link to an article from the NY Times.

2 comments:

Texas Moratorium Network said...

Click here to write Governor Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles


Jeff Wood is waiting to die on Texas Death Row with an execution date of August 21st, 2008. Please contact Governor Perry and the Texas Board of Pardon and Paroles on behalf of Jeff Wood. Jeff was charged under the Law of Parties and was not the shooter in this crime. Jeff could not anticipate that a murder would occur. The actual shooter in this case has already been executed by the state of Texas.

We need everyone to do two things today, 1) write the Governor and the Board of Pardons and Paroles; and 2) Sign the online petition to stop the execution. The petition has about 700 signatures now. There are enough people reading this email to get that number up to 1,000 by Monday. Please do both actions.

It took over 17,000 people contacting Governor Perry and the Board of Pardons and Paroles to make a difference for Kenneth Foster, whose death sentence under the Law of Parties was commuted by Governor Perry last year. Please help save Jeff as Kenneth was saved.

The cousin of Kris Keeran (the murder victim) wants to save the life of Jeff Wood:

"My cousin was the person killed by Danny, not Jeff. I say this as a family member who realized long ago Jeff had no part in my cousin's murder and he shouldn't be executed. It's insane to kill another person who did not kill Kris. The video showed Jeff took no part in it. Jeff was one of my friends growing up and someone I think deserves a chance. If he didn't kill him, why should we kill Jeff? This is ridiculous."
- Amanda Smith, Texas
June 19, 2008

Don't know about Jeff Wood's case? Here is a short case summary:
At approximately 6:00 a.m. on Jan. 2, 1996, while Wood waited outside, Reneau entered the gas station with a gun and pointed it at Kris Keeran, the clerk standing behind the counter. Reneau ordered him to a back room. When he did not move quickly enough, Reneau fired one shot with a 22 caliber handgun that struck Keeran between the eyes. Death was almost instantaneous. Proceeding with the robbery, Reneau went into the back office and took a safe. When hearing the shot, Wood got out of the car to see what was going on. He walked by the door and looked through the glass. Then he went inside, and he looked over the counter and ran to the back, where Reneau was. Wood was then ordered, at gun point by Reneau, to get the surveillance video and to drive the getaway-car.

Additional facts:

* Wood suffers from a bi-polar disorder. He was abused and beat severely and repeatedly as a child. He is submissive to dominant behavior because of such.
* At arrest Wood was forced into interrogation by the police and did not have council present. Wood was kept awake the entire time. He was refused sleep. He eventually confessed saying it was a planned robbery. He later revoked this statement.
Wood was found not mentally fit to stand trial. He was admitted into a mental hospital and a couple of weeks later was found 'trial ready'.
* At trial, Wood was not satisfied with his representation. Wood asked to represent himself, but wasn't allowed to do so. The judge found him not capable of doing this. The judge however, did not argue Wood when Wood said he would then order his attorney's not to do anything. Result: Jeff had no witnesses during the punishment phase of his trial on his behalf.
* The victim's father is against the death penalty and actually campaigned to keep the actual gunman Reneau alive.

Important facts that should be mentioned in your letter to the Governor include:

* Jeff was charged under the Law of Parties and was not the shooter in this crime.
* Jeff could not anticipate that a murder would occur.
* Jeff was not even in the store when the murder took place and had no way of knowing it would happen.
* The actual shooter in this case has already been executed by the state of Texas.
* The murder was actually committed by Daniel Earl Reneau, who was executed in Texas on June 13, 2002 for this crime.
* You can also express your sympathy for the family of the victim, Kris Keeran, while mentioning again that Jeff Wood did not kill Kris.
* You can also mention that Jeff's case is similar to the case of Kenneth Foster, whose death sentence under the Law of Parties was commuted by Gov. Perry in 2007.

Click here to contact Governor Perry and the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Click here to write Governor Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles

irteza said...

This is a real bad activity acted by them. It is good to know that two of the suspects are being punished for the child rape case and I think they should take some good decisions against such people who are abused of child rape. There should be sound laws to meet these cases and so to minimize these.
I have got here a site related to law, check what they say here, Rechtsanwalt