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August 30, 2005

Clemency for mentally ill killer in Indiana

As detailed in this article and this article, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels yesterday commuted to life without the possibility of parole the death sentence of Arthur Baird, who was scheduled to be executed by the state tomorrow for murdering his parents.  By all accounts, Baird suffered from significant mental illness, although Governor Daniels' commutation decision cited an array of "unusual, probably unique" circumstances for calling off the execution.  Moreover, as one article details, "Daniels acted after a 3-1 vote last week in which the Parole Board recommended against clemency for Baird and after a 3-2 vote by the Indiana Supreme Court to let Baird's execution proceed."

This article provides the most details on Governor Daniels' statement supporting his decision (which I cannot yet find on-line).  Interestingly, the editorial pages of the Indianapolis Star and the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette and the Evansville Courier & Press and the Journal and Courier have all weighed in with support for the Governor's decision.

Michael Ausbrook at INCourts comments on the clemency decision in this post, which reminds me that, as detailed here, in January 2005 out-going Indiana Governor Joe Kernan also commuted a death sentence.  As Michael notes: "That's two in a year. By two different governors. Of two different political parties."

UPDATE: A helpful reader has helped me find Governor Daniels' executive order commuting Arthur Baird's death sentencing at this link.

August 30, 2005 at 08:23 AM | Permalink

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