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October 12, 2017

Texas carries out 20th execution in US in 2017

With only 20 executions carried out in the United States in 2016, last year saw the fewest total nationwide executions in a quarter century.  The national execution pace in 2017 is not much quicker, but an execution completed tonight in Texas means the US will not in 2017 see a decline in total executions for the first time in a number of years.   The Texas execution is number 20 for the US in 2017, and this AP article reports on its particulars:

A Texas inmate convicted in the death of a prison guard has been put to death after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his lawyer's attempts to halt the execution.

Robert Pruett was given a lethal injection Thursday evening for the December 1999 death of corrections officer Daniel Nagle at a prison southeast of San Antonio. Nagle was repeatedly stabbed with a tape-wrapped metal rod, though an autopsy showed he died from a heart attack that the assault caused. Prosecutors have said the attack stemmed from a dispute over a peanut butter sandwich that Pruett wanted to take into a recreation yard against prison rules.

The 38-year-old Pruett was already serving a 99-year sentence for a neighbor's killing near Houston when he was convicted in Nagle's death. Pruett's execution is the sixth this year in Texas.

This Death Penalty Information Center page indicates that there are nine more serious execution dates in 2017. Even if all these executions are completed (which seems a bit unlikely), there would still be fewer executions in the US in 2017 than in every single year between 1992 and 2014.

October 12, 2017 at 08:15 PM | Permalink

Comments

These are all falsely ritualized death penalties, at high government expense. These are all a lawyer scam to steal tax money.

They should end by federal legislation.

Then start the real death penalty, the Italian Death Penalty. Jeffrey Dahmer repeatedly bullied, intimidated, and frightened guards and prisoners in maximum security prison. He had killed 17 people from age 14 to 33, and eaten many of them.

So, now, this prisoner has a hold of the 20 inch metal bar from a weight set. He kills Dahmer during a time of a clean up assignment out of view of anyone. The prisoner proceeds to smash Dahmer to death, and he dies slowly. His face was repeatedly smashed on the shower wall.

Questions.

1) How did this prisoner get a metal bar?

2) How did it come about that there were 20 minutes of privacy?

3) How was it there was no response to the screams of Jeffrey Dahmer for 20 minutes?

4) How did it come about there was a substantial delay before he was transported to the hospital, like a hour?

5) Dahmer's executioner had a life sentence. Two consecutive life sentences were added to it. Is the lawyer unbelievably stupid, or what?

Answer is easy. Welcome to the Italian Death Penalty, you sporco lawyer stronzos. All, at no additional government expense. All highly effective. All to incapacitate very bad persons.

To maintain proportionality with the population of Italy, there would be 6000 such "deaths" a year, in the United states.

Posted by: David Behar | Oct 12, 2017 9:38:36 PM

"Pruett was already serving a 99-year sentence for a neighbor's killing"

He was convicted at 15 under Texas' "law of parties" for involvement of a murder his father committed. It is a tad insane he got 99 years for this.

[Video here discusses his cases: https://vimeo.com/118837945
.]

One judge who repeatedly argued his appeals had merit was Judge Elsa Alcala, a Republican who repeatedly found fault in death penalty cases. https://www.texastribune.org/2016/12/29/judge-known-criticizing-death-penalty-step-down-te/

There is some reasonable doubt regarding the evidence as spelled out here (links to an extended discussion of case as well as a biography of Pruett):

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/12/opinion/texas-robert-pruett-execution.html

When even someone who is executed for killing a prison guard is this hazy in various aspects, it underlines even 'easy cases' involving might not be.

Posted by: Joe | Oct 12, 2017 10:53:45 PM

The documentary includes coverage of family members of the murdered prison guard. They split on support of the execution.

Posted by: Joe | Oct 12, 2017 11:09:45 PM

the only possible conclusion is that Americans are a bunch of nasty murderers

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Oct 13, 2017 5:36:31 AM

Buffone.

Posted by: David Behar | Oct 13, 2017 7:00:33 AM

Its actually very likely at least nine more will take place given latest round of SCOTUS denies in October at start of session. GA and AR particularly schedule them within 30 days so we could have 10-12 more this year. But regardless the LEFT will spin it as NOT a change in DP culture even though there will be close to a 50% INCREASE over 2016. image if it was a 50% decrease the lefty newspapers and emotionally Anti-DP groups would be all over the airwaves say DP is dead. Just wait until 2018 arrives and CA starts FINALLY executing some of the 800 plus.

Posted by: DeanO | Oct 13, 2017 9:05:14 AM

There were 28 executions in 2015.

https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/documents/FactSheet.pdf

There was a dip since a high in 1998 (98), a 15 person rise in 2009, then a dip until 2016.

When dealing with numbers as low as 20, I'm really not sure how "big" a rise of let's say 10 really amounts to. At some point, as long as the death penalty exists, there probably in a country with thousands on death row some floor (where we are now probably if not above it) it won't go under.

As to CA, the proposition gives them years and their Supreme Court said the deadlines are not fully set in stone. And, not sure if 2018 is long enough for it truly to kick in. If CA managed to execute 13 or whatever since 1976, what will be the big jump? 13 in one year? Anyway, I have repeatedly here doubted the death penalty is dead. Anyone who said that, including the non-left who support, oppose or are mostly indifferent to that result, is probably misguided. I'm not prophet at any rate.

Posted by: Joe | Oct 13, 2017 11:47:51 AM

(see a typo but no one will click the link, so I'm good)

Posted by: Joe | Oct 13, 2017 11:52:20 AM

I think at this point, any discussion of the year-to-year variation is -- to use the phraseology currently floating among some statisticians -- emphasizing the static over the signal.

In any given year, the number of persons that a given state executes (or if it executes any) will depend on three factors: 1) who has completed federal habeas review (i.e. the U.S. Supreme Court has denied cert on the first 2254 petition and no court has granted leave to file a successive petition -- or granted a stay based on such a successive petition) 2) whether the state has a supply of the drugs needed under a protocol that has survived court challenges (or at least no stay of all executions pending the completion of such litigation); and 3) how closely together is the state willing to schedule executions? At least for a state that has found a reliable supplier of the drugs that the state has decided to use, the key factor will be when the federal courts complete their review which is rather case-specific. So even if there were no policy changes in the states or changes in the number of death sentences imposed, one would expect purely random and statistically meaningless variations in the number of executions per year just on the happenstance of when federal review concludes.

Posted by: tmm | Oct 13, 2017 12:14:27 PM

Lamonte McIntyre, wrongly imprisoned for 23 years for double murder, finally set free
BY ERIC ADLER, G
OCTOBER 13, 2017 2:55 PM

The courtroom erupted in simultaneous shock and joy. Lamonte McIntyre, wrongfully convicted in 1994 for a double-murder he never committed, wept at the defense table.

On Friday afternoon, just two days into what was expected to be a week-long hearing to consider McIntyre’s exoneration, Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree Sr. flabbergasted the courtroom when he said the county would no longer contest the facts of McIntyre’s innocence.

McIntyre, arrested at age 17, had spent the past 23 years behind bars as part of two life sentences on two counts of murder.

He is now 41.

When McIntyre stepped from the north side of the Wyandotte County Courthouse and detention center on Friday afternoon, just before 4 p.m., his mother ran and then walked toward her son as he was swarmed by media.

“I’m all right. I’m happy, you know,” McIntyre said to reporters. “I’m here thanking God. I’m thanking everybody who supported me and been here for me. It feels good. I feel good. I’m happy.”

Then he saw his mother.

“This is what I’m waiting on right here,” he said, embracing his mother, Rosie McIntyre, who muttered, “Oh, my Lord.” He hugged his brother and others.

“We’re here. So that means support and love is active,” McIntyre continued. “I’m glad that everyone showed up out here to experience it with me. I appreciate it a great deal.”

Asked what he might want to do in his first few moments of freedom, McIntyre joked: “I thought I wanted to eat something, but my nerves are so shot I can’t even eat right now.

“I think I’m just going to take a bath and just chill for a minute, let it all soak in, I think. But whatever I’m going to do, I’m going to enjoy it. I’m excited. On the inside, I’m bubbling over. I feel emotional. It’s been a long time coming.”

Indeed, McIntyre has spent more time behind bars than free.

Lamonte McIntyre was wrongly convicted in 1994 of a double murder in KCK he never committed. Now, he's being set free. His conviction was built on witness accounts alone.

ved,” Rosie McIntyre said.

Posted by: anon21 | Oct 14, 2017 10:32:20 AM

Anon21 posts a story about the wrongful conviction of Lamone McIntire. He gained his freedom yesterday after 23 years of incarceration. This story and others like it remind us of the imperfection of the criminal justice system. Kudos to the defense attorneys who devote themselves to the zealous representation of the accused.

Posted by: Michael R. Levine | Oct 14, 2017 10:45:31 AM

As Michael Levine points out, the case of Lamonte McIntyre and the long list of others like it (e.g., Michael Morton in Texas) underscore the imperfection of the criminal justice system. All the more reason that prosecutors, judges, and jurors should hesitate before seeking or imposing the death penalty. Statistics suggest that at least jurors are increasingly doing just that.

Posted by: Emily from Iowa | Oct 14, 2017 10:55:15 AM

tmm's comment is well taken but think the trend over time (let's say 1999-2016) is of some note. When dealing with small numbers (10 or whatever), the things listed very well will lead to some ebbs and flows.

Posted by: Joe | Oct 14, 2017 11:43:08 AM

Wrongful convictions are arguments for tort liability, of all parties, subject to professional standards of due care. They are not an abolitionist argument. If they were, than all human activity should be ended until nothing can go wrong with them.

I support McIntyre's suing the prosecutor, the judge, and the defense lawyer for inadequacy of representation. The payout should represent the damage of the intentional tort of false imprisonment. To deter.

Posted by: David Behar | Oct 14, 2017 3:24:51 PM

Behar writes, "Wrongful convictions are arguments for tort liability....They are not an abolitionist argument." Fortunatley, increasing numbers of jurors disagree.

Posted by: Ted | Oct 14, 2017 8:47:05 PM

Ted. Outside of the Comments section of this blog, the public is not getting insider, substantive rebuttals to left wing, mainstream media false propaganda.

Car travel kills thousands of people a year. There is a compelling case to pause all car travel until that problem is solved.

Posted by: David Behar | Oct 15, 2017 1:56:16 AM

Behar, writes, "Car travel kills thousands of people a year. There is a compelling case to pause all car travel until that problem is solved." And car manufacturers (on their own or under compulsion of government regulation) are making cars safer and safer to drive, with innumerabel safety improvements over the year to give us the best possible chance of surviving crashes. Regretfully, the same is not the case with respect to death penalty jurisprudence

Posted by: Ted | Oct 15, 2017 2:48:32 PM

Ted. Advances in evidence are going as fast as those in cars. I have criticized the stupidity and atavism of the lawyer. For example, no eyewitness testimony should be admissible in the absence of physical evidence, such as a video recording.

Although tort liability has had little or no impact on car safety, it should apply to the death penalty. The estate of a falsely executed plaintiff should be able to sue all tort feasors, including, or especially, the judge.

This principle applies to literally all human activity. So, we ban all car travel. You can trip on the sidewalk, fall, hit your head, and die. Ban all walking until that failure is remedied.

Posted by: David Behar | Oct 15, 2017 11:10:48 PM

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