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September 4, 2013

Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro gives himself death penalty (finding way to use hanging as execution protocol)

As reported in this ABC News piece, a final chapter of the summer saga concerning Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro was written by the offender himself: "Ariel Castro, who was convicted of kidnapping, torturing and imprisoning three young women for over a decade, has died after being found hanged in his prison cell, the Ohio Department of Corrections said."  Here is more:

Castro, 53, was found hanging in his cell at Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio, Tuesday night at 9:20 p.m. local time, corrections spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said.

Facility staff tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate the prisoner, according to Smith. Castro was taken to Ohio State University Medical Center and was pronounced dead at 10:52 p.m. Officials didn't provide further details on the apparent suicide.

"Inmate Ariel Castro was found hanging in his cell this evening at 9:20 p.m. at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient. He was housed in protective custody which means he was in a cell by himself and rounds are required every 30 minutes at staggered intervals," Smith said in a statement. Castro was not on a suicide watch, which would have required constant observation. "A thorough review of this incident is underway and more information can be provided as it becomes available pending the status of the investigation," the statement concluded.

Castro was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 1,000 years by an Ohio judge Aug. 1. Castro, a former school bus driver, kidnapped Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus between 2002 and 2004 and imprisoned them, sometimes restrained by chains, in his Cleveland home.

Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts, including kidnapping, rape, assault and aggravated murder. The plea deal spared Castro the death penalty because he was accused of the aggravated murder of a fetus after forcibly causing an abortion in one of his victims that he is accused of impregnating....

Castro was also watched closely in the Cuyahoga County Jail in the weeks after his arrest. He was taken off county jail suicide watch in early June after authorities determined he was not a suicide risk.

September 4, 2013 at 09:26 AM | Permalink

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Comments

This case is a learning opportunity in so many ways.

Doug and his criminal coddler ilk here ;-) always talk about the possibility of errors within the criminal justice system in regards to, say, the DP but never acknowledge the same capacity for human error while incarcerated.

Castro had a psychological evaluation (probably multiple evaluations by multiple psychologists) which determined him not a suicide threat. Yet, he did it.

Just as the system deems some inmates not a significant threat to others (with MUCH less scrutiny than Castro likely got) in genpop and they kill their bunkmate. Just as Doug et al. want to put so many members of "incarceration nation" back onto the streets (again, with much less scrutiny) and they will kill, maim, rape, and rob.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Sep 4, 2013 10:58:31 AM

RIP:
The dead babies murdered by Castro.

Posted by: Adamakis | Sep 4, 2013 11:07:39 AM

And how should we deal, TarlsQtr1, with the capacity for human error when it involves the (too often unreflective) assertion --- often made by you and many others --- that any/everyone ever released from prison is likely to go on yo "kill, maim, rape, and rob" after their release?

It is largely because I fully recognize the "capacity for human error" that I am so very disinclined to let human prosecutors and judges decide to lock up people for decades for nonviolent crimes just based on a supposition that such offenders are sure to "kill, maim, rape, and rob" in the future.

Because humans are very far from perfect, how we structure responses to our imperfection showcases what human values we prioritize in imperfect human endeavors. In a country "conceived in liberty," whose sports fans proudly sing each day about being the "home of the free, land of the brave," and among a populace whose school-children pledge "liberty and justice for all," I am eager to see the values of freedom and liberty championed within our imperfect system of criminal justice.

And since you are a regular reader, TarlsQtr1, you should realize I do not use human imperfection as an argument against the death penalty (though surely lots of others do).

Posted by: Doug B. | Sep 4, 2013 11:11:55 AM

TarIsQtr1:
I'm curious, why was Castro not yet given a glamour shot on Rolling Stone? Will he now?
Che is so much bigger now than he was whilst alive!

What do you think?

["At the instant of triumph, Guevara was appointed...under the title of Supreme Prosecutor,
he oversaw a bloody purge of Cuba's regular army and police. About 50 men were shot on Che's
personal orders at La Cabaña...
"Castro ordered [the informant's] execution, but none of the Cubans would step forward
to carry it out. Only Che volunteered, blowing the man's brains out with a .32-caliber pistol."
-- Chasing Che, 2000]

Posted by: Adamakis | Sep 4, 2013 11:22:55 AM

Hard for me to get too upset about this. Honestly, I wouldn't have had any problem with the DP for three 10-year kidnappings. That has now happened, minus the obligatory 20 years of appeals.

Posted by: William Jockusch | Sep 4, 2013 12:25:14 PM

TarlsQtr1, you write: "Just as Doug et al. want to put so many members of "incarceration nation" back onto the streets (again, with much less scrutiny) and they will kill, maim, rape, and rob. " I think you worked in that prison too long. Lighten up a little. Smile. I have news for you: lots of incarcerated folks are just like me and you.

Posted by: onlooker | Sep 4, 2013 12:39:11 PM

Doug B. stated: "And how should we deal, TarlsQtr1, with the capacity for human error when it involves the (too often unreflective) assertion --- often made by you and many others --- that any/everyone ever released from prison is likely to go on yo "kill, maim, rape, and rob" after their release?"

A) Neither I nor any other poster here has said that "everyone" released will "kill, maim, rape, and rob" after release. I know you qualified the word but I do not see the reason for its inclusion.

B) How we deal with it is simple. Error on the side of caution. We are not discussing "innocent" people who would be immoral to keep in prison under any circumstances. We are discussing felons and I see no reason to shed tears over keeping felon A in prison longer even if it is possible that he would never commit another crime.

Doug stated: "It is largely because I fully recognize the "capacity for human error" that I am so very disinclined to let human prosecutors and judges decide to lock up people for decades for nonviolent crimes just based on a supposition that such offenders are sure to "kill, maim, rape, and rob" in the future."

The problem with your position seems to be that this "capacity for human error" is an issue for you(at least publicly on this blog) only when it results in more felons in prison longer.

Doug stated: "Because humans are very far from perfect, how we structure responses to our imperfection showcases what human values we prioritize in imperfect human endeavors. In a country "conceived in liberty," whose sports fans proudly sing each day about being the "home of the free, land of the brave," and among a populace whose school-children pledge "liberty and justice for all," I am eager to see the values of freedom and liberty championed within our imperfect system of criminal justice."

Unfortunately and predictably, your above statement regarding "liberty and justice for all" takes only the view of the criminals in mind and ignores their past and prospective future victims who are equally, no, more deserving of freedom and liberty.

Doug, you are an intelligent, polite, and generally a principled man. However, you are no libertarian (like you indicate above)nor an economic conservative (like you came across in your FS debate with Bill). These are positions out of convenience. A means to an end.

One final point. The biggest error in your position, IMO, is that you want to "fix" a problem using the least democratic branch of government because you cannot win in the more democratic branches. I believe your position is heartfelt and sincere but is tinged with the typical leftist authoritarian tendency to go "over the people" and "fix" a problem (keeping criminals in prison) that the people do not necessarily see as needing a fix.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Sep 4, 2013 12:43:59 PM

@adamakis,

A photo shoot is the best they can do now that an Ivy League teaching position is not in the cards. Maybe a nice posthumous "Humanitarian Award." Those groups that give out such awards always do like those abortionists regardless of their technique.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Sep 4, 2013 12:49:17 PM

onlooker stated: " I think you worked in that prison too long. Lighten up a little. Smile. I have news for you: lots of incarcerated folks are just like me and you."

And I believe that you could use some time working in a prison...

I just wish you had defined "lots" and "just like."

My question is, how will you determine which of the "lots" are just like "me and you?" Whose neighborhoods do they get to live in? Mine? Yours? Or will it be much more likely somewhere that you would not be caught dead in?

It sure is easy to let a guy out when you are 99.99999% certain that you will never have to deal with him. It is a little more difficult when he will be living next door and thinks your daughter is "purdy."

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Sep 4, 2013 12:56:25 PM

Tarls, To a carpenter everything looks like a nail. To someone who worked in prison for ten years, everyone looks like a rapist, a robber, or a killer.

Posted by: onlooker | Sep 4, 2013 12:59:46 PM

Query, given past comments, how long Prof. Berman would wait before providing Ariel Castro the right to end his life with the state's grace since prison would be too cruel for him to handle.

Posted by: Joe | Sep 4, 2013 2:30:23 PM

onlooker --

"To a carpenter everything looks like a nail. To someone who worked in prison for ten years, everyone looks like a rapist, a robber, or a killer."

And to someone who's been a defense lawyer for ten years, every thug looks like Jean Valjean.

Of course that's not true. Many defense lawyers know full well the kind of people they're dealing with. Similarly untrue is your toss-off to TarlsQtr1. So if you'd like to actually answer his comment, rather than glide by it with a slogan, I'll be all ears.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 4, 2013 5:33:53 PM

TarlsQtr1, you assert I am "no libertarian ... nor an economic conservative." What is the foundation for these assertions? Do tell, as I am quite genuinely interested in your perspectives and beliefs about my real beliefs.

I sincerely think I am a libertarian and economic conservative/moderate -- e.g., I view market/private "solutions" as generally preferable to government ones (ergo my views on drug use/abuse/prohibition) and that governments should spend within their means and tax as little as possible (ergo my eagerness to bring down the fiscal costs of our criminal justice system, especially at the federal level). But you claim to know me better than I do; consequently, I am truly eager to better understand what you think I "really" believe and how you have come to "know" that what I say here and elsewhere is just cover for my "real" beliefs.

In addition, though you apparently are eager to believe that scaling back the modern drug war and mass incarceration "cannot win in the more democratic branches," evidence from recent elections and criminal justice reforms coming from the elected branches at federal and state levels suggest otherwise: the passage of the FSA and its broad (though incomplete) retroactive impact, the initiative vote in California to reform 3-strikes, the modern marijuana reforms voted in (or enacted by legislatures) in so many states, recent significant sentencing reforms passed by legislatures and signed by governors in "red" states from Arkansas to Georgia to Ohio to Texas all highlight that "the people" and their representatives are of late on my side of this debate (in part, I think, because most Americans at their core are libertarians and economic conservatives/moderates).

In fact, probably the only prominent elected representative vocally on your side of these debate these days happens to be Cal. Gov. Jerry Brown. Dare I suggest that, in your M.C. Escher-like world, you must think he is among the last of the true "libertarians" and "economic conservatives"?

Finally, I could readily name for you, just off the top of my head, a few hundred persons currently incarcerated in state and federal prison whom I would happily offer to house and feed in my neighborhood (at a discount rate to taxpayers) if/when you would join me in petitioning for their early release and such release was granted. I suspect that list would grow to thousands (if not tens of thousands) if my simple offer was enough to get some of these folks sprung.

I share you view that "caution" could and should inform our approach to prison reform/reduction. But even if such caution entails a conclusion that 99.5% of current prisoners cannot be safely released, that still leaves well over 10,000 persons who could be safety sent home today providing a taxpayer savings of about $1 million per day.

Posted by: Doug B. | Sep 4, 2013 6:38:48 PM

"Castro had a psychological evaluation (probably multiple evaluations by multiple psychologists) which determined him not a suicide threat. Yet, he did it."

The overwhelming majority of suicides are done by people with no prior overt ideation of suicide. Psychologists can't read people's minds, though many detractors like to fain they can.

Posted by: Daniel | Sep 4, 2013 7:41:24 PM

Ohio just saved a lot of money, and asphyxiation hanging hurts a lot more than lethal injection.

Posted by: federalist | Sep 4, 2013 9:22:08 PM

Castro was a coward that abused precious young women that made an innocent mistake, by getting caught in his little traps.

He died to escape what was ahead of him. The boys had some parties scheduled for him I am sure.

Doug, mighty forth right on your comments to help inmates out and have the housed in your local. I will ditto along with you. Most are just like us. Maybe have an alcohol or dabble in drugs and they got into trouble that way. I make mistakes everyday. My day today, was a disaster, due to my short comings. Upon leaving I set my self up to succeed tomorrow.. I could of gotten into trouble if the cards fell different today. But due to my job, which keeps me out of harms way and the good people around me, I never have... You don't have to slip to far to get a vacation to the cross bar hotel.

This is why federal sentencing must be cut way down. There is not much chance of downward variances, but the enhancements are automatically dished out.

Have a good night, hoping for a good tomorrow and may you all have a better tomorrow
Than your yesterday's.

Posted by: MidWestguy | Sep 5, 2013 12:07:38 AM

TarlsQtr1 has now started writing for The Onion


http://www.theonion.com/articles/ariel-castro-failed-by-system,33733/?

Posted by: Daniel | Sep 5, 2013 11:18:10 AM

MidWestguy --

From what I saw in federal court, just about everyone who goes to prison is there because (1) they want to make a quick buck selling drugs, and they don't mind selling to kids; (2) in one way or another, they steal or swindle either money of other people's property; or (3) they're tough guys (or think they are) who never learned that you deal with your problems in life without using violence.

From what I've seen, you're not anything like that, so I don't think it's just a matter of luck that you're not in the pen.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 5, 2013 1:46:07 PM

My guess was that the victims (remember them?) probably were not jumping for joy. Indeed, I suspected this complicated and deepened their wounds. It took a while to find it but sure enough.

Ariel Castro's victims have 'mixed feelings' about Cleveland kidnapper's suicide

5 Sep 2013 08:48

Family members said Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight felt a "mixture of emotions" after their former captor hanged himself in prison

The article also answers Tarls:

"Dr Resnick said while it was possible Castro had been hiding such feelings, it was more likely they were triggered by "stressful events" inside prison."

Posted by: George | Sep 5, 2013 7:35:20 PM

Anyone convicted and in prison should be given a suicide pill to take when they wish.

Posted by: Liberty1st | Sep 5, 2013 10:25:05 PM

I agree with Liberty1st. Suicide should be encouraged with all violent offenders. Given them drugs and alcohol to get high, good meals, and hookers. Let their families keep their assets. Use their organs for transplants so that a debt of gratitude would be owed to them. Immunize the prison from tort liability for the suicides. Increase the stress and pressure on offenders who refuse to commit suicide, with water boarding to solve unsolved crimes by the offender. Reintroduce corporal punishment and apply it frequently.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 6, 2013 12:15:21 AM

Prof. Berman: "Finally, I could readily name for you, just off the top of my head, a few hundred persons currently incarcerated in state and federal prison whom I would happily offer to house and feed in my neighborhood (at a discount rate to taxpayers) if/when you would join me in petitioning for their early release and such release was granted."

Not advisable, with that nice little family.

Your pro-lawyer, pro lawyer client thinking is evident in the selection of the stories you post. It is maddening. The implication of each requires perpetual rebuttals, you need an almost full time truth squad, like a political partisan. You are smarter and have slicker rhetoric than 95% of lawyers I know. When you let loose your advocacy, it makes one dizzy.

Nevertheless, the cumulative implication of these articles is misleading. The implications of 90% of them is that criminals should be loosed, especially if black crack dealers, a group well known to be non-violent, just misunderstood pussy cats. The rare articles promoting the interests of victims involve pointless, useless and lawless impact statements. These inflammatory ex parte "attestations" are Trojan Horses for requiring legal representation of victims to navigate the complex legal system.

You never mention the total number of crimes, even after they dropped 40%, 20 million, a total failure of government to protect the public. Then it is out of the question to contrast that number with the number of prosecutions, 2 million, letting 90% of serious crime go completely unanswered. The criminal law is in utter failure. Fallujah may be safer than many US cities. In the suburbs where lawyers live, there is no crime. The death penalty is at the scene, with masses of police arriving, blasting, never to be sued for excessive force. Then, when the lawyer has a guy, there is probably up to a 20% chance they have the wrong guy. So the false negative rate is 90%, and the false positive rate is likely 20%. No other service is in such shambles. No other service is stuck in the 13th Century. Fiction permeates the entire criminal law system, from arrest to the death penalty.

That pro-criminal selection of articles would strike the ordinary person as dangerous, irresponsible, and self defeating. We know you are none of those things, and neither are the Harvard and Yale grads on the Supreme Court. Only the rent seeking theory explains the anomalous decisions of the intelligent lawyer, liberal and conservative.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 6, 2013 12:58:08 AM

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