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January 14, 2011

Alabama completes third execution of 2011 after brief SCOTUS stay

As detailed in this AFP article, "Alabama executed a convicted murderer late Thursday after the US Supreme Court denied a stay of execution for the man accused of killing his wife as she held their young child in her arms."  Here is more of the story:

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas had issued a temporary stay in order to give the court more time to review the case's legal arguments shortly before Leroy White was scheduled to die at 6:00 pm (2300 GMT).

But the high court later denied the request for a stay and White, 51, was put to death by lethal injection at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore. He had spent 22 years on death row. Alabama Governor Bob Riley and the Alabama Supreme Court had earlier denied White's bid for clemency.

White was 29 years old in October 1988, when he murdered his wife with two gunshots because she wanted a separation. He also shot and wounded his sister-in-law. His lawyers said he did not have adequate representation and should have had the opportunity to plead guilty to get life without parole, in order to avoid the death penalty.

"Mr White's execution marks another step back from the commitment to heightened scrutiny and fair review that states and courts promised when the death penalty was reintroduced 35 years ago," White's lawyer Bryan Stevenson said in a statement....

The family of the victim opposed the execution, according to Stevenson. White's daughter, Latonya White, was just 17 months old when her mother was gunned down while holding her in her arms. "For a long time I was very angry with my father for taking my mother away from me," she wrote to the court. "I now have a very close relationship with my father. I am deeply opposed to my father's execution. Executing my father will do nothing to bring my mother back."

Two executions have been carried out in the US since the start of 2011, after 45 last year and 52 in 2009. In Alabama alone, 203 prisoners are on death row.

January 14, 2011 at 10:09 AM | Permalink


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So, the "family of the victim" doesn't decide the issue? Well, we know that, but here it is clear from the other direction. Also, the crime is curious -- a horrible domestic event like this does not seem like the limited number of cases where execution would occur, particularly if the family of the victim is against it. Don't know if any of them testified at the sentencing stage though.

Posted by: Joe | Jan 14, 2011 12:14:40 PM

For some reason, this article left out an important fact widely noted elsewhere, which is that the jury voted 9-3 for an LWOP sentence. (Alabama is one of those override states.)

Also, for what it's worth, some articles noted that the former prosecutor is now a defense atty who has repudiated the Alabama dp system, and thinks it doesn't help. So we're 0 for 3 among victims, jury, and prosecutor on who wanted this execution carried out at this point...

Posted by: Anon | Jan 14, 2011 4:02:53 PM

After watching his client die last night, Mr. Stevenson spoke, this morning, at a seminar in Chicago that I was attending. Nobody in this case wanted the death penalty, except the judge. Then the defendant's habeus attorney's abandoned him without notifying him. He wass not aware that his appeals were dismissed and thus missed deadlines. Mr. Stevenson's career is amazing and his committment to the root causes/reasons of the death penalty is amazing. He was very emotional this morning. Keep up the excellent work. How the Supreme Court failed to grant a permenent stay under these circumstances is troubling.

Posted by: bryan | Jan 14, 2011 7:43:35 PM

" How the Supreme Court failed to grant a permenent stay under these circumstances is troubling."

I don't know--maybe the rule of law?

Posted by: federalist | Jan 14, 2011 9:04:58 PM

The DA, Judge and three of the jurors wanted the death penalty at trial. And the victims' family may not have wanted the death penalty because they were also related to the killer.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Jan 15, 2011 2:56:21 AM

Doesn't matter now, he's dead. And one less mouth to feed in the Alabama prison system.

Posted by: federalist | Jan 15, 2011 1:25:09 PM

Every state needs to have a death penalty for these psycho killers like Loughner. The federal govt should link any DOJ funding to the status od DP laws. If your state does not permit executions then you get 50% less funding. Make these liberal pols pay for going against the electorate. Every polls shows 70-75% approval for death penalty. These killers need a punishment fit for their criime. IL Gov Quinn needs to think about THIS before signing off on a repeal.

Posted by: Dean | Jan 18, 2011 7:30:49 AM

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