Wednesday, May 28, 2008

May 22, 2008

Dear Sis~
The execution schedule here has been in a flux. The Commonwealth has issued death warrants for four guys, 1) Eddie Bell; 2) Percy Walton (aka Crazy Horse); 3) Kevin Green; and, 4) Robert Yarbrough. However, two weeks ago the US Supreme Court granted certiorari in Bell's case, and granted him a stay of execution, in order to review his ineffective assistance of counsel claim. This bought Bell at least another 10-12 months of life, at a minimum, but probably a lot more because I believe the US Supreme Court is going to ultimately rule in his favor and vacate his death sentence (ironically, 4 years ago, I had the exact same issue that Bell was just granted certiorari on. The Supreme Court declined to grant me cert when we presented the case to them. Now, belatedly, the Court will review and rectify this issue, although it will be too late to help me). Anyway, almost as soon as Bell got his stay of execution the Commonwealth petitioned for a death warrant for Christopher Emmett, asking for the same date as Bell had, July 24. As it stands now, Kevin Green is scheduled to die this Tuesday, May 27; Percy is scheduled for June 10; Yarbrough's date is June 25, and, as I said, Emmett will be scheduled for July 24. That's 20% of our death row population set to die in the next 60 days. All of these are serious dates (as opposed to "fake dates", which are issued in order to force the prisoner into Federal Court before he's required to file). By "serious dates" I mean that each guy has been through all the courts, state and federal, and has exhausted all of his legal remedies. Thus, unless something unexpected occurs, these executions will probably occur as scheduled. The one most likely to get reprieve is Percy. The Governor already gave him two stays (first, a 6-month stay, then an 18-month stay) based upon his clear and unequivocal insanity. And, it was "understood" that at the end of that 18-month period (i.e. June 10, 2008) Governor Kaine was going to commute Percy's death sentence to life so he could go to a mental hospital and receive the treatment he's not getting here. But, Kaine is reportedly on Barack Obama's "short list" for the Vice Presidential slot, and I'm very skeptical that Kaine will commute a death sentence just months before he might be running for vice-president. (God forbid he might be accused of having a heart and displaying some mercy and compassion for a profoundly insane person). So, Percy might still be in trouble. I still recall how then-governor Clinton left the Presidential campaign trail in 1992 and raced back to Arkansas to oversee the execution of a retarded prisoner whom the Pope had implored Clinton to grant clemency to. Clinton was, at the time, being accused of being "soft on crime" and he was determined to execute that guy to prove to the right-wing, pro-death penalty crowd that he was a "tough guy". I hope history does not repeat itself or else Percy will be sacrificed on the altar of political ambitions.
Love, Bill

NOTE: By the time I received this Blog entry and posted it, Kevin Green had already been executed the day before (Tuesday, May 27th) ~ Lisa Van Poyck

No comments: