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Posts tagged ‘Florida Supreme Court’

12
Jun

update: another woman joins death row

June 12, 2011

Ana Maria Cardona / Credit: Miami Herald

Another woman, Ana Maria Cardona, is added to Florida’s death row.

We now have four women on Florida’s Death Row.

This is the second time she has taken up residence there.

Two decades ago, in Miami-Dade County, Ana Maria Cardona was sentenced to death for the murder of her three-year old son, Lazaro “Baby Lollipops” Figuero.

The child was left dead in bushes in an affluent area of Miami Beach.  The child’s identity was unknown, though on his badly beaten body was a T-shirt adorned with lollipops when he was discovered in 1990.  The dead, ransacked child was lovingly called Baby Lollipops.

The crime was brutal.  The child endured unspeakable torture, and Ana Maria Cardona was sentenced to die on Florida’s death row.

Cardona became the first woman to be sentenced to death for the murder of her own child.

However, her sentence was overturned in 2002 by the Florida Supreme Court, and Cardona was set free.  The reversal occurred as a result of the Prosecutor failing to release reports to the defense regarding statements made by Ana Cardona’s lover, Olivia Gonzalez, who Cardona blamed for the death of the child.

This past Friday, June 10, 2011, Ana Cardona was re-sentenced by a jury of twelve to the death penalty.

The jurors voted 7-5 for death.

The Judge Reemberto Diaz had no remorse for Cardona as he read the 15 page sentence he wrote which painstakingly detailed the horrors that this mother inflicted on her child.

The Judge recounted how Cardona beat the child with a sticks, belts, and a baseball bat.  She called the baby “The Devil” and would rub feces in his face, poke his eyes.  She knocked out the child’s teeth, broke his bones, starved him, and duct-taped a diaper to his tiny torso.  The diaper was rarely changed and Baby Lollipops endured extreme pain from the infections that resulted.

Casey Anthony could become the fourth fifth woman in the state of Florida currently sentenced to perish under the malevolent and inhumane specter of the death penalty.

Two More Make Three

I wrote this post, originally titled “women and the death penalty,” in February, of this year.  At the time, one woman was on Florida’s death row: Tiffany Cole.  Now, two more Floridians were added: Emilia Carr, Margaret Allen, and now Ana Maria Cardona.

The second revision included the story about Teresa Lewis, who was killed by lethal injection in Virginia last year, September 23, 2010 and realized I needed to add her to this sad list.  Now, Ana Maria Cardona – the monster.

Teresa Lewis

Of course, I remember the story of Teresa Lewis now.  You may remember it, too.  It was such a maddening, cruel and utterly sad situation, and it gives me goosebumps to think of this mentally handicapped woman being dragged to her death.

Teresa Lewis was convicted of Capital Murder for hiring hit-men to kill her husband and step-son.  She allegedly wanted the husband’s insurance money.  I say “allegedly” because one of the hit-men admitted that she was not the mastermind at all, the hit-man wanted a share of the insurance money.

Teresa Lewis - (AP Photo/newsPRos, File)

You see, Teresa Lewis, with an IQ of only 72, which places her near the mark of mental retardation, as defined by the Supreme Court, was sentenced to death. The hit-men were  sentenced to life.  But the hit-men, who each had the motive of that insurance money, and who claimed (long after the fact), to have masterminded the whole affair, were not given death sentences.

With an IQ of 72, Teresa Lewis was not close enough to mental retardation for the Supreme Court because they refused to take the case.  The State Supreme Court, a U.S. District Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals, all ruled that Teresa must die for her crime.

According to a September 2010 Newsweek article, written by Lynn Litchfield, there was a letter from one of the two hit-men that Teresa did not “mastermind” the killing, he did.

See the Litchfield article here: Unfit for Execution

Women on Florida’s Death Row Today

Casey Anthony is faced with the death penalty should she be convicted of killing her daughter, Caylee Anthony.  If sentenced with death, Casey will join three other Florida female inmate death row:

Tiffany Cole, is now the longest serving female inmate on Florida’s death row.  She was sentenced to death in 2008 for her role in the killing a couple from Jacksonville, Florida.  The couple were murdered as a result of being buried alive.  Cole is currently on death row at Lowell Correctional Institution, which is situated in the Central Florida area, north of Orlando.

Emilia Carr was sentenced to Florida’s death row on February 22, 2011, in Marion County for kidnapping and murdering her boyfriend’s ex-wife, Heather Strong. She and her boy friend were co-defendants.  They lured Heather into a storage shed where they bound her with duct tape to a chair.  They then placed a plastic bag over her head and suffocated her. They buried her in a shallow grave, which was discovered a month later.  Carr is also in the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Margaret A. Allen is a very recent resident of Florida’s death row.  She was sentenced to death in Brevard County on May 19, 2011.  Her crime was the torture and killing of her housekeeper, Wenda Wright, whom Allen suspected of stealing from her.  According to the prosecutors, she tortured Wenda Wright for hours before strangling her with a belt.  Margaret Allen received help from her roommate, James Martin, and her nephew, Quinton Allen, to bury the victim in a shallow grave. The two were also convicted for their part.

_Ana Marie Cardona. Sentenced to death for torturing and murdering her three-year-old son. The child was wearing a shirt with lollipops on the front when his beaten body was found by the police in Dade County.  The boy was then nicknamed “Baby Lollipops.”  The sentence was vacated in November of 2002 and she was released from prison.  Will Casey Anthony’s case turn out as this one did?

Florida Executions since 1973

Since 1973, Florida has executed two women, Judias Buenoano, and Aileen Wournos.

Buenoano was sentenced in 1985 for the 1971 crime in which she poisoned her husband with arsenic.  She was also convicted, and sentenced to life, in the 1980 drowning of her paralyzed son. Then prosecutor Belvin Perry, Jr., prosecuted this case.  Buenoano was the first woman to be executed using the electric chair in the state of Florida.  Her execution occurred in 1998.  The now Judge Belvin Perry witnessed her death.

Aileen Wournos was sentenced to die in 1992 for the murder of a Clearwater, Florida businessman.  Wournos is also thought to have been implicated in the death of a number of other men, and is often referred to as Florida’s only female serial killer. You may recall the movie, Monster, based on her criminal history – her prostitution and terrible escapades with men.

History of Women on Florida’s Death Row

Since 1926, a total of 14 women who were sentenced to death, had their sentences commuted or reversed.  The commuting of a few of the sentences were a result of the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1972, determining that capital punishment laws were unconstitutional.  Capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, hence the death sentences of Aileen Wournos and Judias Buenoano.

One could clearly conclude that Florida does not like to impose or carry out the death penalty on women.  The woman on death row since 1976, who were sentenced to die, and were either released, or had their sentences reversed, have terrible but interesting cases.  I have outlined a short history of the women who were originally sentenced to die, below.

Sonia Jacobs.  Convicted for her part in the shooting of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper and his friend.  Her death sentence was overturned in 1981, and she was sentenced to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory sentence.  In 1992 her case was reversed on appeal, and she plead to second degree murder. She was released in 1992 because she her sentence included time served.

Kaysie Dudly.  Sentenced to death in 1987 for the murder of her mother’s employer – a wealthy Florida widow.  She was re-sentenced (possibly after appeal), to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory.  She is currently serving her time at Lowell Correctional Institution.

Carla Caillier.  Was sentenced to death in 1987 to death for the murder of her husband in 1986, in Tampa.  She was re-sentenced in 1988 (possibly after appeal), to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory.

Dee D. Casteel.  Sentenced in Dade County in 1987 for murdering an 84 year old woman who had been inquiring about her missing son.  Casteel and another person had ordered the woman’s son to be murdered the month before.  Casteel paid two auto mechanics to carry out the murder. Her death sentence was vacated in 1990.  She was then re-sentenced to life, but she died in prison in 2002, at the Broward County Correctional Institution.

Deidre Hunt. Sentenced to death in 1990 for the 1989 shooting of two men that she was paid to kill. She was videotaped killing one of the men.  She plead guilty and was re-sentenced to life in 1998.  She is currently at Homestead Correctional Institution.

Andrea Hicks Jackson. Sentenced to death in 1984 for the murder of a police officer, in Jacksonville, Florida. She filed a false report regarding a vandalized car and shot the officer five times when he attempted to arrest her. Her death warrant was signed in March 1989 but then stayed in May of 1989 by the Florida Supreme Court.  She was re-sentenced to life in 2000, and is currently serving her time at the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Ana Marie Cardona. Sentenced to death for torturing and murdering her three-year-old son. The child was wearing a shirt with lollipops on the front when his beaten body was found by the police in Dade County.  The boy was then nicknamed “Baby Lollipops.”  The sentence was vacated in November of 2002 and she was released from prison.  Will Casey Anthony’s case turn out as this one did?

Virginia Larzelere.  Sentenced to death in 1993 for the killing of her husband, a practicing dentist.  She was re sentenced to life in 2008 and is currently serving her time at the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Women on Death Row in the United States

Since 1976, a total of 12 women have been executed in this country.

Some statistics:

  • Since the year 1608, there are 568 documented cases of executions of women.
  • In the past 100 years, over 40 women have been executed in the U.S.
  • As of September 1, 2000 there were approximately 38 women on death row.
  • As of today, there are approximately 64 women on death row (the numbers will change as more cases are tried).

Will Casey Anthony be number 65?

In reality, the numbers do inform us that the actual instance of execution of female offenders, compared to men, is rare.  According to The Death Penalty Information Center, since 1608, confirmed cases of female executions account for only 2.8% of the total executions carried out.

The Supreme Court, in 1972, had it right when they ruled that capital punishment was cruel and unusual, and wholly unconstitutional.

Will Casey Anthony sit on Florida’s death row?  Of course it will depend on twelve men and women who are hearing her case, so it’s impossible to know. Will the jurors find the State v. Casey Anthony case so egregious – given the position taken by her defense – they will vote for death?

The death penalty outcome for Casey Anthony may be due to her incompetent lawyers.  If she is sentenced, the trial will immediately go into another phase called the “Penalty Phase,” where both sides must provide their case as to whether to give her death (State’s position), or Life (Defense position).

The penalty phase will be tried, on the defense side, by Ann Finnel. She is more than competent and Casey’s only hope for life.

Casey has her age and her gender in her favor, because if you read the stories of the women who had their death sentences reversed, chances are, if Casey Anthony is sentenced to death (and I hope she is not), she may escape death row.  In fact, many cases like Casey Anthony’s have resulted in reversals.

Because Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., is a careful Judge, his death cases have never been reversed – to date.  The Judy Buenoano case, tried by Prosecutor Belvin Perry, Jr., resulted in the penalty of death.  The now Judge Belvin Perry witnessed her execution.  It seems fair to say, then, Judge Perry is not opposed to death.

The Honorable Judge Stan Strickland, the original Judge in the Casey Anthony case, from what I have read, is considered be softer on sentencing defendants to death.  The defense in this case, however, campaigned to have  Judge Strickland removed from the case (for reading a blog), I am more than certain they are sorry now.

However, given the statistics, Florida clearly does not like to kill women.

We will see which way the wind blows in a month, or so.

References:

NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc: http://naacpldf.org/files/publications/DRUSA_Spring_2010.pdf

Florida women photos and info: http://www.dc.state.fl.us/oth/deathrow/women.html

Research Article: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/documents/femaledeathrow.pdf

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5
Jun

women and death row

Casey Anthony could become the fourth woman in the state of Florida currently sentenced to perish under the malevolent and inhumane specter of the death penalty.

I wrote this post, originally titled “women and the death penalty,” in February, of this year.  At the time, one woman was on Florida’s death row: Tiffany Cole.  Now, two more Floridians were added: Emilia Carr, and Margaret Allen.

Just recently I read an article about Teresa Lewis, who was killed by lethal injection in Virginia last year, September 23, 2010 and realized I needed to add her to this sad list.

Of course, I remember the story of Teresa Lewis now.  You may remember it, too.  It was such a maddening, cruel and utterly sad situation, and it gives me goosebumps to think of this mentally handicapped woman being dragged to her death.

Teresa Lewis was convicted of Capital Murder for hiring hit-men to kill her husband and step-son.  She allegedly wanted the husband’s insurance money.  I say “allegedly” because one of the hit-men admitted that she was not the mastermind at all, the hit-man wanted a share of the insurance money.

Teresa Lewis - (AP Photo/newsPRos, File)

You see, Teresa Lewis, with an IQ of only 72, which places her near the mark of mental retardation, as defined by the Supreme Court, was sentenced to death. The hit-men were  sentenced to life.  But the hit-men, who each had the motive of that insurance money, and who claimed (long after the fact), to have masterminded the whole affair, were not given death sentences.

With an IQ of 72, Teresa Lewis was not close enough to mental retardation for the Supreme Court because they refused to take the case.  The State Supreme Court, a U.S. District Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals, all ruled that Teresa must die for her crime.

According to a September 2010 Newsweek article, written by Lynn Litchfield, there was a letter from one of the two hit-men that Teresa did not “mastermind” the killing, he did.

See the Litchfield article here: Unfit for Execution

Women on Death Row in Florida Today

Casey Anthony is faced with the death penalty should she be convicted of killing her daughter, Caylee Anthony.  If sentenced with death, Casey will join three other Florida female inmate death row:

Tiffany Cole, is now the longest serving female inmate on Florida’s death row.  She was sentenced to death in 2008 for her role in the killing a couple from Jacksonville, Florida.  The couple were murdered as a result of being buried alive.  Cole is currently on death row at Lowell Correctional Institution, which is situated in the Central Florida area, north of Orlando.

Emilia Carr was sentenced to Florida’s death row on February 22, 2011, in Marion County for kidnapping and murdering her boyfriend’s ex-wife, Heather Strong. She and her boy friend were co-defendants.  They lured Heather into a storage shed where they bound her with duct tape to a chair.  They then placed a plastic bag over her head and suffocated her. They buried her in a shallow grave, which was discovered a month later.  Carr is also in the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Margaret A. Allen is a very recent resident of Florida’s death row.  She was sentenced to death in Brevard County on May 19, 2011.  Her crime was the torture and killing of her housekeeper, Wenda Wright, whom Allen suspected of stealing from her.  According to the prosecutors, she tortured Wenda Wright for hours before strangling her with a belt.  Margaret Allen received help from her roommate, James Martin, and her nephew, Quinton Allen, to bury the victim in a shallow grave. The two were also convicted for their part.

Florida Executions since 1973

Since 1973, Florida has executed two women, Judias Buenoano, and Aileen Wournos.

Buenoano was sentenced in 1985 for the 1971 crime in which she poisoned her husband with arsenic.  She was also convicted, and sentenced to life, in the 1980 drowning of her paralyzed son. Then prosecutor Belvin Perry, Jr., prosecuted this case.  Buenoano was the first woman to be executed using the electric chair in the state of Florida.  Her execution occurred in 1998.  The now Judge Belvin Perry witnessed her death.

Aileen Wournos was sentenced to die in 1992 for the murder of a Clearwater, Florida businessman.  Wournos is also thought to have been implicated in the death of a number of other men, and is often referred to as Florida’s only female serial killer. You may recall the movie, Monster, based on her criminal history – her prostitution and terrible escapades with men.

History of Women on Florida’s Death Row

Since 1926, a total of 14 women who were sentenced to death, had their sentences commuted or reversed.  The commuting of a few of the sentences were a result of the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1972, determining that capital punishment laws were unconstitutional.  Capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, hence the death sentences of Aileen Wournos and Judias Buenoano.

One could clearly conclude that Florida does not like to impose or carry out the death penalty on women.  The woman on death row since 1976, who were sentenced to die, and were either released, or had their sentences reversed, have terrible but interesting cases.  I have outlined a short history of the women who were originally sentenced to die, below.

Sonia Jacobs.  Convicted for her part in the shooting of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper and his friend.  Her death sentence was overturned in 1981, and she was sentenced to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory sentence.  In 1992 her case was reversed on appeal, and she plead to second degree murder. She was released in 1992 because she her sentence included time served.

Kaysie Dudly.  Sentenced to death in 1987 for the murder of her mother’s employer – a wealthy Florida widow.  She was re-sentenced (possibly after appeal), to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory.  She is currently serving her time at Lowell Correctional Institution.

Carla Caillier.  Was sentenced to death in 1987 to death for the murder of her husband in 1986, in Tampa.  She was re-sentenced in 1988 (possibly after appeal), to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory.

Dee D. Casteel.  Sentenced in Dade County in 1987 for murdering an 84 year old woman who had been inquiring about her missing son.  Casteel and another person had ordered the woman’s son to be murdered the month before.  Casteel paid two auto mechanics to carry out the murder. Her death sentence was vacated in 1990.  She was then re-sentenced to life, but she died in prison in 2002, at the Broward County Correctional Institution.

Deidre Hunt. Sentenced to death in 1990 for the 1989 shooting of two men that she was paid to kill. She was videotaped killing one of the men.  She plead guilty and was re-sentenced to life in 1998.  She is currently at Homestead Correctional Institution.

Andrea Hicks Jackson. Sentenced to death in 1984 for the murder of a police officer, in Jacksonville, Florida. She filed a false report regarding a vandalized car and shot the officer five times when he attempted to arrest her. Her death warrant was signed in March 1989 but then stayed in May of 1989 by the Florida Supreme Court.  She was re-sentenced to life in 2000, and is currently serving her time at the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Ana Marie Cardona. Sentenced to death for torturing and murdering her three-year-old son. The child was wearing a shirt with lollipops on the front when his beaten body was found by the police in Dade County.  The boy was then nicknamed “Baby Lollipops.”  The sentence was vacated in November of 2002 and she was released from prison.  Will Casey Anthony’s case turn out as this one did?

Virginia Larzelere.  Sentenced to death in 1993 for the killing of her husband, a practicing dentist.  She was re sentenced to life in 2008 and is currently serving her time at the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Women on Death Row in the United States

Since 1976, a total of 12 women have been executed in this country.

Some statistics:

  • Since the year 1608, there are 568 documented cases of executions of women.
  • In the past 100 years, over 40 women have been executed in the U.S.
  • As of September 1, 2000 there were approximately 38 women on death row.
  • As of today, there are approximately 64 women on death row (the numbers will change as more cases are tried).

Will Casey Anthony be number 65?

In reality, the numbers do inform us that the actual instance of execution of female offenders, compared to men, is rare.  According to The Death Penalty Information Center, since 1608, confirmed cases of female executions account for only 2.8% of the total executions carried out.

The Supreme Court, in 1972, had it right when they ruled that capital punishment was cruel and unusual, and wholly unconstitutional.

Will Casey Anthony sit on Florida’s death row?  Of course it will depend on twelve men and women who are hearing her case, so it’s impossible to know. Will the jurors find the State v. Casey Anthony case so egregious – given the position taken by her defense – they will vote for death?

The death penalty outcome for Casey Anthony may be due to her incompetent lawyers.  If she is sentenced, the trial will immediately go into another phase called the “Penalty Phase,” where both sides must provide their case as to whether to give her death (State’s position), or Life (Defense position).

The penalty phase will be tried, on the defense side, by Ann Finnel. She is more than competent and Casey’s only hope for life.

Casey has her age and her gender in her favor, because if you read the stories of the women who had their death sentences reversed, chances are, if Casey Anthony is sentenced to death (and I hope she is not), she may escape death row.  In fact, many cases like Casey Anthony’s have resulted in reversals.

Because Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., is a careful Judge, his death cases have never been reversed – to date.  The Judy Buenoano case, tried by Prosecutor Belvin Perry, Jr., resulted in the penalty of death.  The now Judge Belvin Perry witnessed her execution.  It seems fair to say, then, Judge Perry is not opposed to death.

The Honorable Judge Stan Strickland, the original Judge in the Casey Anthony case, from what I have read, is considered be softer on sentencing defendants to death.  The defense in this case, however, campaigned to have  Judge Strickland removed from the case (for reading a blog), I am more than certain they are sorry now.

However, given the statistics, Florida clearly does not like to kill women.

We will see which way the wind blows in a month, or so.

References:

NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc: http://naacpldf.org/files/publications/DRUSA_Spring_2010.pdf

Florida women photos and info: http://www.dc.state.fl.us/oth/deathrow/women.html

Research Article: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/documents/femaledeathrow.pdf

8
Mar

amazing case law from 3/7 closing arguments

After yesterday’s closing arguments on two important Defense motions in the case against Casey Anthony, I got to thinking that I’d sure like to read the cases that were cited by the Judge, the Prosecutor, and the Defense.  But then I realized that I have a life and a job and need to give  this case a rest!

And so….being that I am a tad fickle, I said to my self, “well, what the heck – I’ll see if I can find these cases!”  Well, I found all the cases cited in yesterday’s hearing, and now I want to try to figure out how Judge Perry will rule based on the case law cited.

Now, you know that I am not a lawyer, right?  I love the law, however, and love to write about it…..

So, here goes my analysis of how these cases inform on the two motions argued yesterday:

1) State of Florida v. Parks

Judge Perry mentioned the State of Florida v. Parks case to Mr. Cheney Mason during his closing argument and said he would like Mr. Mason to look at that case and advise how it might support the Defense argument.

In this Appellate court decision, the suppression of statements to police was raised in appeal, and is one of the case items at issue. The court found that although the admission of statements (by the defendant and a co-defendant/witness) were a mistake, this mistake by the trial court was found to be harmless to the case itself and therefore not an issue at appeal.

This tells me that Judge Perry may see Casey’s Universal Studios interview to be harmless since a great deal of the information in her interview can be argued and proved elsewhere in the case, but more importantly, perhaps Judge Perry is saying if he allows the interview, it will not be questioned at appeal. Remember, this was a case that Judge Perry told Mr. Mason to review.

2) Rollings v. State

Rollins v. State is the horrible case of Danny Rollings.  Rollings was sentenced to the death penalty for each of the five murders he committed.  Of course, one can only die once, the jury sentenced him to death for each of the five murders.  There were a few appeal issues, one of which involved Rollings statements to police.  What is interesting here is there is also a charge of a jail inmate, Bobby Lewis, acting as “Agents of the State” in the information gathered by that inmate:

On appeal, Rolling challenges the trial court’s findings that (1) his statements to Lewis and law enforcement officers did not violate his right to counsel because Lewis was not acting as a de facto state agent and, (2) that the assistant state attorney’s involvement in the interrogations was not unethical and did not warrant suppression of Rolling’s statements. Specifically, Rolling maintains that law enforcement officers and prison officials knowingly exploited the relationship between himself and fellow inmate Bobby Lewis such that Lewis was acting as a de facto government agent when he elicited inculpatory statements from Rolling.

Bobby Lewis befriended Rollings for the specific purpose of hopefully getting his sentence reduced as a result of offering testimony for the state.  The State of Florida refused to enter into any such agreement with Bobby Lewis.  Regardless, Lewis became Rollings “confessor” and mouthpiece, but not at the behest of any State Official, though the Defense would have liked the court to believe otherwise.

…find that the record and relevant caselaw clearly support the trial court’s conclusion that Rolling’s right to counsel was not violated because Bobby Lewis was not acting as a government agent when he elicited incriminatory statements from Rolling or served as Rolling’s “mouthpiece” during the January 31 and February 4 interviews…

The appeals court did not find flaw with the trial court on this issue.

3) Ross v. State

Ross v. State has to do with a person who was fifteen days shy of his 16th birthday.  He was found guilty of the murder of a 64 year old woman who was stomped to death.  Ross was sentenced to death by the trial court.  The issue on appeal had to do with the question of whether his confession was freely given or coerced by the police.  The defense claimed that the defendant, although given the Miranda Warning numerous times, didn’t understand his rights due to his low IQ.  Ross stated each time that he understood his rights and didn’t want a lawyer.

The appellate court found that low IQ or “mental weakness” did not mean a confession was not voluntary, therefore the appellate court found no issue with the trial courts decision to admit the confession.  What ultimately occurred in this case on appeal was the death penalty was questioned and the case was sent back to the trial court.  The appellate court stated:

The appellant was sixteen years of age and mentally retarded at the time of the crime. His prior criminal activity consists of petty offenses. Under the standards of our capital felony sentencing law, the mitigating factors outweigh the aggravating factors. Death is not an appropriate penalty. The sentence of death should be vacated and a sentence of life imprisonment without eligibility for parole for twenty-five years should be imposed.

4) Ramirez v. State

Ramirez v. State, a death penalty case for a 17 year old who killed a woman, Midred Boroski.  The issue on appeal had to do with the defendant’s confession and the defense claim that Ramirez was not properly Mirandized.

Ramirez argues that the requirements of Miranda were violated because the warnings were not administered before the interrogation began, rendering his confession to the crime inadmissible. “Interrogation takes place … when a person is subjected to express questions, or other words or actions, by a state agent, that a reasonable person would conclude are designed to lead to an incriminating response.”

Linda D. Burdick argued that the situation in the Casey Anthony interview was unlike what occurred in Ramirez.  In Ramirez, the defendant was at the police station, where a reasonable person would conclude that they were in custody.  However, the Casey Anthony case, she was at Universal Studios, and free to go.  In Ramirez, they found that a reasonable person would think they were in custody.

There is no question in this case that Ramirez was subjected to interrogation and was not initially informed of his Miranda rights. However, the State argues that Miranda warnings were not required because Ramirez was not in custody at the time that he was interrogated at the police station. We disagree. Custody for purposes of Miranda encompasses not only formal arrest, but any restraint on freedom of movement of the degree associated with formal arrest.

Ultimately, the appellate court found that to strike the confession would not be in the best interest of justice.  They wrote:

Ramirez, for whatever undisclosed reason he had in his own mind, told the detective the truth of what occurred in the criminal episode. Excluding the instant confession is not in the interests of society or justice. On the other hand, the majority places the interest of society in having this abhorrent crime punished in substantial and unnecessary peril.

In the interest of justice, the appeals court did not reverse this case.

5) Henry v. State

Henry v. State, another death penalty case in which the defendant killed by binding, gagging and cutting the throat of his victim.  A motion to suppress the confession of the defendant was denied and questioned at appeal.  The appeals court upheld the verdict and agreed with the trial court that allowing the confession into the trial was not at issue.

6) Malone v. State

Malone v. State, related to an “Agents of the State” accusation,  This citation, I believe, was raised by Mr. Mason.   The circumstances of this case were the defendant, with a partner, viciously killed two people during the commission of a robbery.  This is an “Agents of the State” issue is encapsulated as follows:

Malone argues that his convictions should be reversed and the cause remanded for a new trial because the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress certain incriminating statements made by him to one of his cellmates who, unknown to Malone, was an informer for the State. He concedes that these statements were not coerced and were voluntary, but argues that they may not be used against him because they were deliberately elicited by a State agent in the absence of his counsel and without his being informed of his Miranda rights by the informant.

The appeals court found that the trial court should have suppressed these statements since Malone’s 6th Amendment Rights (Right to Counsel present), were violated.  Therefore, the case was sent back and retried.

In regards to the Casey Anthony case, it was NOT found that anyone was acting as an Agent of the State (although the defense would like to argue Robyn Adams was an Agent, she was not).

Conclusion

There is sufficient case law, in my humble opinion, that supports denying the Defense motions.  Casey Anthony was not “in custody” while riding in the police cars!  Casey Anthony was directing where the police cars would travel as they drove to check out places where “Zanny” may have lived.

The Anthony’s were not Agents, and the fact that the Detectives ordered the taping of the videos of the jail visits, is perfectly legal – there are signs placed around the jail that video taping is taking place!

I didn’t read the entire cases in the above links, I read the objections and the outcomes – the details were gruesome.  I think I may have some bad dreams tonight!

Oh well, thank goodness, I’ll be Only Dreamin’!

8
Feb

women and the death penalty

Casey Anthony is faced with the death penalty should she be convicted of killing her daughter, Caylee Anthony.  If sentenced with death, Casey will join just one other Florida female inmate death row – Tiffany Cole.

The one Florida woman on death row today, Tiffany Cole, was sentenced to death in 2008 for her role in the killing a couple from Jacksonville, Florida; they were buried alive.  Cole is currently on death row at Lowell Correctional Institution, which is situated in the Central Florida area, north of Orlando.

Florida Executions since 1973

Since 1973, Florida has executed two women, Judias Buenoano, and Aileen Wournos.

Buenoano was sentenced in 1985 for the 1971 crime in which she poisoned her husband with arsenic.  She was also convicted, and sentenced to life, in the 1980 drowning of her paralyzed son. Buenoano was the first woman to be executed using the electric chair in the state of Florida.  Her execution occurred in 1998.

Aileen Wournos was sentenced to die in 1992 for the murder of a Clearwater, Florida businessman.  Wournos is also thought to have been implicated in the death of a number of other men, and is often referred to as Florida’s only female serial killer. You may recall the movie, Monster, based on her criminal history – her prostitution and terrible escapades with men.

History of Women on Florida’s Death Row

Since 1926, a total of 14 women who were sentenced to death, had their sentences commuted or reversed.  The commuting of a few of the sentences were a result of the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1972, determining that capital punishment laws were unconstitutional.  Capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, hence the death sentences of Aileen Wournos and Judias Buenoano.

One could clearly conclude that Florida does not like to impose or carry out the death penalty on women.  The woman on death row since 1976, who were sentenced to die, and were either released, or had their sentences reversed, have terrible but interesting cases.  I have outlined a short history of the women who were originally sentenced to die, below.

Sonia Jacobs.  Convicted for her part in the shooting of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper and his friend.  Her death sentence was overturned in 1981, and she was sentenced to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory sentence.  In 1992 her case was reversed on appeal, and she plead to second degree murder. She was released in 1992 because she her sentence included time served.

Kaysie Dudly.  Sentenced to death in 1987 for the murder of her mother’s employer – a wealthy Florida widow.  She was re-sentenced (possibly after appeal), to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory.  She is currently serving her time at Lowell Correctional Institution.

Carla Caillier.  Was sentenced to death in 1987 to death for the murder of her husband in 1986, in Tampa.  She was re-sentenced in 1988 (possibly after appeal), to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory.

Dee D. Casteel.  Sentenced in Dade County in 1987 for murdering an 84 year old woman who had been inquiring about her missing son.  Casteel and another person had ordered the woman’s son to be murdered the month before.  Casteel paid two auto mechanics to carry out the murder. Her death sentence was vacated in 1990.  She was then re-sentenced to life, but she died in prison in 2002, at the Broward County Correctional Institution.

Deidre Hunt. Sentenced to death in 1990 for the 1989 shooting of two men that she was paid to kill. She was videotaped killing one of the men.  She plead guilty and was re-sentenced to life in 1998.  She is currently at Homestead Correctional Institution.

Andrea Hicks Jackson. Sentenced to death in 1984 for the murder of a police officer, in Jacksonville, Florida. She filed a false report regarding a vandalized car and shot the officer five times when he attempted to arrest her. Her death warrant was signed in March 1989 but then stayed in May of 1989 by the Florida Supreme Court.  She was re-sentenced to life in 2000, and is currently serving her time at the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Ana Marie Cardona. Sentenced to death for torturing and murdering her three-year-old son. The child was wearing a shirt with lollipops on the front when his beaten body was found by the police in Dade County.  The boy was then nicknamed “Baby Lollipops.”  The sentence was vacated in November of 2002 and she was released from prison.  Will Casey Anthony’s case turn out as this one did?

Virginia Larzelere.  Sentenced to death in 1993 for the killing of her husband, a practicing dentist.  She was re sentenced to life in 2008 and is currently serving her time at the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Women on Death Row in the United States

Since 1976, a total of 12 women have been executed in this country since 1976.

Some statistics:

  • Since the year 1608, there are 568 documented cases of executions of women.
  • In the past 100 years, over 40 women have been executed in the U.S.
  • As of January 1, 2010 there were 61women on death row.

Will Casey Anthony be number 62?

In reality, the numbers do inform us that the actual instance of execution of female offenders, compared to men, is rare.  According to The Death Penalty Information Center, since 1608, confirmed cases of female executions account for only 2.8% of the total executions carried out.

The Supreme Court, in 1972, had it right when they ruled that capital punishment was cruel and unusual, and wholly unconstitutional.

Will Casey Anthony sit on Florida’s death row?  Of course it will depend on twelve men and women who will hear her case, so it’s impossible to know.  However, if you read the stories of the women who had their death sentences reversed, chances are, if Casey Anthony is sentenced to death (and I hope she is not), and if she has a competent attorney for her appeal, she may not spend the rest of her life in jail.

Florida clearly does not like to kill women.

References:

Florida women photos and info: http://www.dc.state.fl.us/oth/deathrow/women.html

Research Article: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/documents/femaledeathrow.pdf

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