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February 16, 2006

Ken Starr and the Morales case

As noted in recent posts here and here, the clemency ugliness in the Morales capital case in California has drawn extra attention because of Ken Starr's involvement.  As some may know, Starr is now the Dean of Pepperdine's School of Law, and today I received a copy of (and then permission to reprint) this interesting e-mail that Dean Starr sent around to fellow law deans about the Morales case:

For the last three weeks, I have been serving as co-counsel in clemency proceedings in California. The execution of my client, Michael Morales, is scheduled for February 21 at 12:01 a.m.  The execution should not go forward, and we have urged the Governor of California to grant clemency.  Michael's case for clemency, in my judgment, is compelling.  It is supported by the trial judge who sentenced him to die — based upon what we now know to have been perjured testimony of a self-interested jailhouse informant.

Tragically, allegations of serious wrongdoing on the part of one of the clemency team's investigators have led to a swirl of publicity highly injurious to Michael's cause.  Because the stories have not escaped the attention of the national media, I am taking — with apologies for the burden — the liberty of sharing with you a letter to the Governor of California from my (court-appointed) co-counsel, David Senior.  I hope you will read Dave's cry from the heart, and if you are so moved, share with me any thoughts and advice.  Your guidance — and frankly your eagerly-sought support of Michael's cause — would be most warmly welcome.

You can download below the five-page letter from David Senior to Governor Schwarzenegger referenced in Dean Starr's e-mail.  It is a very interesting read:

Download morales_clemency_letter_from_senior.pdf

UPDATEThis AP story discusses Morales' plea for clemency.  It notes that "the Stockton high school dropout hopes to convince the governor that Terri Winchell's 1981 murder was a drug-fueled aberration for which he has spent his life atoning.  Remorse and the corrective power of time lie at the heart of his last-ditch plea for mercy."

MORE: This morning brings another interesting story in the San Francisco Chronicle focused on Ken Starr's role in the Morales case, as well as this notable article in the Los Angeles Times.

February 16, 2006 at 05:23 PM | Permalink

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In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB