Archive for the ‘death penalty’ Category

John Lewis, Hank Johnson, David Scott, Sanford Bishop seek clemency for Troy Davis

The Georgia members of Congress have asked the state Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant clemency for Troy Davis, who is scheduled to face execution next week the 1989 killing of off-duty Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail.

Hank Johnson of Decatur, John Lewis and David Scott of Atlanta, and Sanford Bishop of Albany, all Democrats, put their signatures to the letter that can be read here. A total of four dozen members of Congress signed.

Among the letter’s points:

“It is clear now that the doubts plaguing Davis’s case can never be adequately addressed; the lack of hard scientific or relevant physical evidence has made it impossible to resolve with any degree of certainty.

“Over the last four years, the inability of our courts to resolve these uncertainties has shaken public confidence in our judicial system, and an execution under such a cloud of doubt would do nothing but further undermine that confidence. Public faith in the integrity of justice in Georgia is at …

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Sam Olens: Pursuing death penalty against Casey Anthony a mistake

Worth noting from Reporter Newspapers:

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens told the Rotary Club of Dunwoody on July 8 that he would not have pursued the death penalty against Casey Anthony, a Florida woman who on Tuesday was acquitted of charges of murdering her two-year old daughter.

Olens said prosecutors need to be careful in seeking the death penalty when the cause of death has not been determined, as it was in the Anthony case. Olens said he felt it would’ve been easier to convict Anthony if the death penalty had not been on the table.

“Jurors expect to have a robust set of evidence,” Olens said.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your morning jolt: Rob Woodall’s lonely GOP vote against bill to block NPR funds

When the House voted Thursday to block federal funding to National Public Radio, U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville, was the only Republican from Georgia to oppose the measure.

U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville

U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville

Actually, it was a lonelier stand than that. Woodall was only one of seven Republicans in the entire House to punch the “no” button, according to this New York Times chart. Woodall explained himself in a Facebook post last night:

Take a close look at my NPR vote today. Every article that I have seen on the vote says the bill “cuts NPR and reduces spending” yet that just isn’t true. The bill today didn’t allow us to cut one penny in spending, and I think that is outrageous. I voted “no” because we need to cut and save those dollars. This bill just shuffled and spent them. You and I expect better from this Congress, and I’m fighting for it.

***
You know that Georgia has been stripped of its supply of a lethal-injection drug, putting state executions on hold – to …

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Your morning jolt: On TV, Karen Handel hits Nathan Deal as ‘a corrupt relic of Washington’

Republican candidate for governor Karen Handel makes use of Sarah Palin’s endorsement in her first TV ad in the Republican runoff for government – which also condemns rival Nathan Deal as “a corrupt relic of Washington D.C.”

“One carries a purse, the other carries baggage,” the 30-second ad begins.

The TV spot follows on the heels of an AJC report of federal grand jury interest in a meeting called by Deal in the hope of preserving his business with the state.

Handel spokesman Dan McLagan says the ad is targeted at metro Atlanta, and describes the airtime buy as “big.”

The script:

Male voiceover: One carries a purse. The other carries baggage.

One whom Sarah Palin says has cut government, and is the true conservative.

Or the other, who added trillions to our national debt.

One a conservative reformer. One a corrupt relic of Washington D.C.

Karen Handel is Georgia’s strong conservative. Impeccable integrity. Our thrilling, vibrant future. Karen Handel. Bring it on.

The ad by …

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Your morning jolt: Four GOP candidates for governor on water, transportation and jobs

A quartet of Republican candidates for governor met with leading members of the Metro Atlanta Chamber on Tuesday.

The affair was private — no press allowed. Which means we didn’t know about it until the campaigns spilled the beans.

Karen Handel, John Oxendine, Eric Johnson and Nathan Deal were given 20-minute, individual grillings on state and local issues. Bill Nigut, the former Atlanta TV reporter, conducted the interrogations.

“Nobody left and there was standing room only,” said chamber President Sam Williams. Since we weren’t invited, it is Williams’ account of the interviews that will have to satisfy.

On the water wars: No one had a clear answer and deferred to Gov. Sonny Perdue’s task force on the issue, which is expected to deliver its recommendations by the end of the year.

“They were all sort of critical of the fact that nothing had been done up to now – that there was no fallback plan if the litigation had failed. That was a universal criticism,” Williams said.

On …

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Your morning jolt: Think about a new interstate through east Atlanta, says Oxendine

While examining the Atlanta mayoral race yesterday, I picked up a call from a friend who was more interested in the Republican contest for governor.

The topics merged when I was told that state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine had figured out a way to neutralize many of the Democratic votes that come out of the city year after year after year.

It’s very simple. You pave over them, by building another interstate through Atlanta’s east side, roughly parallel with the current Downtown Connector.

Manuel’s Tavern, of course, would deserve its own exit.

With a laser pointer, Oxendine explains his thinking in a video on his campaign web site, at about the 4:30-minute mark:

Oxendine’s Transportation Solution from Team Ox TV on Vimeo.

Says the Ox:

”One thing we’ve got to address is the [Downtown] Connector. Everyone agrees the Connector is beyond capacity.

“You cannot widen the Connector. Some people say we should double-stack it. Some people say we should tunnel under it.

“I …

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Your morning jolt: Behind closed doors, talk about the implications of state-owned reservoirs

Late Thursday afternoon, David Poythress e-mailed his supporters an account of the bipartisan meeting he and seven other candidates for governor had with Sonny Perdue to discuss a court ruling that threatens to cut most of metro Atlanta from the water of Lake Lanier.

Wrote Poythress:

The direct message of the meeting was that this crisis will impact the entire state and that our state’s leaders need to present a united front. The meeting had a serious and collaborative tone, and seven of the eight candidates who attended asked polite questions, generally seeking more extensive answers from the staff.

Secretary of State Karen Handel, it seems, kept her counsel to herself. Poythress continued:

The heart of the presentation was the discussion of Perdue’s “Four-Pronged Strategy:” the appeal of the federal court ruling, contingency planning, negotiations and congressional reauthorization.
The indirect message of this briefing was that Perdue knows this crisis won’t be solved on …

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Your morning jolt: Is the execution of an innocent man unconstitutional?

In the four days since the U.S. Supreme Court granted condemned Georgia inmate Troy Davis an extra day in court, the legal community has been buzzing over this dissenting line written by Justice Antonin Scalia and endorsed by colleague Clarence Thomas:

“This court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is ‘actually’ innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged ‘actual innocence’ is constitutionally cognizable.”

Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, a civil liberties lawyer, offers this hypothetical in the Daily Beast:

Let us be clear precisely what this means.

If a defendant were convicted, after a constitutionally unflawed trial, of murdering his wife, and then came to the Supreme Court with his very much alive wife at his side, and …

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Your morning jolt: If no public option, count Johnson out of health care reform

Count U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Decatur) among those who think President Barack Obama would be making a mistake if he dropped a public option insurance program as part of a health care reform package.

Johnson, in fact, says he’ll vote against any measure that doesn’t include government-based competition for health insurance companies.

In an interview with Denis O’Hayer and WABE (90.1 FM), Johnson said:

”I don’t think it would create the same level of competition for the insurance companies as would a public option. The co-op idea certainly would allow groups to negotiate with insurance companies for health care for their members.

“But if you don’t have insurance because you can’t afford it, that concept does nothing for those people.”

O’Hayer asked Johnson if he would oppose a measure that included only non-profit insurance co-ops:

”My position is hardening as we speak. There’s got to be a different way other than to appease the millionaires and the insurance companies. We are …

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Bob Barr: Georgia may be about to execute an innocent man

Bob Barr, the former Libertarian presidential candidate and Georgia congressman, has an op-ed piece in today’s New York Times:

There is no abuse of government power more egregious than executing an innocent man. But that is exactly what may happen if the United States Supreme Court fails to intervene on behalf of Troy Davis.

Mr. Davis is facing execution for the 1989 murder of an off-duty police officer in Savannah, Ga., even though seven of the nine witnesses have recanted their testimony against him. Many of these witnesses now say they were pressured into testifying falsely against him by police officers who were understandably eager to convict someone for killing a comrade. No court has ever heard the evidence of Mr. Davis’s innocence.

After the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit barred Mr. Davis from raising his claims of innocence, his attorneys last month petitioned the Supreme Court for an original writ of habeas corpus. This would be an extraordinary …

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