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November 19, 2010

Regular executions not stopping complaints about capital justice delayed in Ohio

I was intrigued and somewhat surprised to see this segment, headlined "Death Penalty Cases Stalled In Appeals Court," on my late local news last night.  Complaints about the slow pace of death penalty appeals seem less common when a state is regularly conducting executions, but Ohio's monthly executions of late did not even get mentioned in this local piece spotlighting appellate delays in the review of Ohio capital cases.  Here are excerpts:

They have been convicted of murder and sentenced to death but in many cases their appeals and their death sentences -- are stuck on hold.   Proceedings at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers several states including Ohio, often stall, even after all of the arguments have been made, 10 Investigates' Paul Aker reported on Thursday....

Three men broke into Norman Stout's home 26 years ago.  They attacked him and fired two gunshots at his head, one of them striking Stout between his eyes.... The attackers then went after his wife of 34 years, Mary Jane Norman. "I did hear the last four shots that killed her," Stout said....

The court sentenced two of the attackers to prison, but decided one of them, David Stumpf, should die for the crime.  While Stout was spending his years visiting his wife at the cemetery, Stumpf spent them appealing his death penalty ruling.

Finally, Stumpf got a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court, but it sent the case back to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The case was argued more than three years ago but there is still no decision.

Ohio's Attorney General recently filed a motion asking the court to rule, Aker reported. Stumpf is still alive and Stout still waits for an answer. "I want them to do their job," Stout said. "To earn the money they're drawing monthly."

[I]t is not just one case being delayed.  10 Investigates scoured thousands of court records and isolated cases involving death penalty issues.... The investigation revealed six cases, five from Ohio, that all involved murders committed in the 1980s or early 1990s.  10 Investigates also examined four nearby circuit courts and between all of them, there were only two cases that had waited anywhere near a year, Aker reported....

Officials could not talk about the specifics of the case, but Chief Judge Alice Batchelder said death penalty cases often take a long time because judges need to thoroughly review records and the outcomes are so important.  Batchelder also said the court has to deal with an extremely high caseload.

Until the court finds a way to speed up the process, an 80-year-old man with lead in his brain and a hole in heart has no choice but endure the pain of waiting.  "The system is broken," Stout said.

November 19, 2010 at 06:55 AM | Permalink

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Comments

The panel is composed of Judges Moore, Daughtrey and Boggs. Boggs, who dissented the first time around, almost certainly isn't the problem, which leaves the two Clinton appointees as those who are being appallingly cruel to this poor man.

Given that Judges Moore and Daughtrey joined the ridiculous dissent in the Sixth Circuit's en banc decision, we know that they are stupid. Now that they're willing to drag out this old man's pain, they are evil as well.

There is no excuse for this. The Supreme Court has stated that the victims and the State have an interest in the timely enforcement in the death penalty. These stupid judges dropped the ball the first time around, and now they're just dragging their feet. Stay classy.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 19, 2010 7:16:31 PM

Should say "ridiculous dissent in the Sixth Circuit's en banc Getsy decision".

And yes, I mean to say that these judges are stupid. They are. And that they are willing to inflict pain on a crime victim shows how irresponsible they are.

And, by the way, these dumb judges were unanimously reversed in Stumpf.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 19, 2010 7:21:38 PM

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